Emergency preparations were under way up and down the Atlantic coast, from Jacksonville in the north to Miami and the Florida Keys, as well as in Orlando and inland areas.
On Friday morning, Dorian was a category 2 hurricane located north-east of the Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds of 110mph. Ominously, the storm had developed a distinct eye and slowed its westward progress, meaning it could spend more time over land – and do more damage.
Meteorologists said Dorian could make landfall in Florida on Tuesday as a category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 140mph.
‘If it makes landfall as a category 3 or 4 hurricane, that’s a big deal,’ University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told the Associated Press. ‘A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims.’