Florida officials confirmed Monday that Hurricane Dorian, which strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane over the weekend, is the strongest storm to ever threaten the state’s eastern coast, according to Fox News.
The storm is currently plowing through the Bahamas with wind gusts up top 220 mph. Fox News reports that Dorian, as of 8 a.m. EST on Monday, is 120 miles of east of West Palm Beach, Florida. Projections show for the storm show for it to turn north, sparing Florida of a direct hit.
The National Hurricane Center forecasts the storm to impact the eastern coast of Florida by 2 a.m. Tuesday, September 3. Dorian currently has maximum sustained wind speeds of 165 mph.
Hurricane Dorian is then expected to continue moving north to the coast of Georgia, the Carolinas and then dissipate into the north Atlantic Ocean by Thursday.
The Washington Post reports that the storm could weaken Monday, but will retain either a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.
“It is anticipated that the system will remain a dangerous major hurricane for the next several days,” the National Hurricane Center stated.
The storm ripped through the Bahamas late Sunday and early Monday, with sustained winds of over 160 mph and storm surges that raised water levels 20 feet above normal.
Florida officials declared a state of emergency on Thursday as the storm barreled through the Atlantic.
Early projections showed for the storm to strike Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastating Hurricane Maria.
The Five Star Institute recently held its Disaster Preparedness Symposium on July 31 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Tim Carpenter, Fannie Mae’s Director, Disaster Response & Rebuild, Housing Access, gave an update on Puerto Rico’s rebuild two years after Hurricane Maria at the event. He said working with the Commonwealth and FEMA was helpful, and there has been progress on homes with mortgages, but there continues to be a struggle in non-traditional housing.
“No clear title, no permits, no code—you combine these issues and it becomes much more difficult to get a mortgage to repair or sell that home,” Carpenter said.