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article imageDorian becomes a potentially catastrophic Category 3 storm

By Karen Graham     Aug 30, 2019 in Environment
Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 3 storm and is still gathering strength as it moves toward Florida, where it could make landfall as soon as late Monday as a Category 4 hurricane.
As of 2:00 p.m. Friday, Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) was located 445 miles (715 kilometers east of the northwestern Bahamas and 625 miles (1005 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Dorian is moving to the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph) and has a minimum central pressure of 970 MB...28.64 inches. The whole state of Florida is now under a state of emergency and authorities are urging residents to stockpile a week's worth of food and supplies before the hurricane's landfall.
"It's going to impact the entirety of Florida, and residents need to be prepared," Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said Friday morning on CNN's "New Day." "So, take the time now ... to understand what your local risk is." Gaynor added,
The clock is ticking right now. Don't waste time. Prepare yourself and your family."
Hurricane Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian.
The slowdown in the hurricane's forward motion was anticipated as the storm continues to strengthen. Dorian is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Additional strengthening is forecast, and Dorian is anticipated to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula into early next week. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 kilometers).
Uncertainty on the track of Dorian
Meteorologists warn that as Dorian continues to plow toward the US mainland Monday evening and into Tuesday morning that forecasts are subject to change.
"There is a wide cone of uncertainty of the storm, especially since it is still days from landfall on Florida," CNN meteorologist Rob Shackelford said. The cone extends from Key West up to around Jacksonville, a distance of 500 miles, he added.
CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said, "That means that regardless of where it makes landfall, much of Florida -- including inland cities like Orlando and west coast cities like Tampa -- could see hurricane-force winds and heavy rain. Storm surge could impact much of the state's east coast."
And storm surge will be a big concern as Dorian moves closer to the Florida coast. A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the northwestern Bahamas - and the storm isn't even close to Florida, yet.
Hospitals and senior care in wake of storm
Florida is home to more than 300 hospitals and has a higher share of older adults than any other state. This makes emergency planning absolutely critical during hurricanes.
All hospitals have an emergency plan, usually approved by the hospital’s accrediting body. The hospital director and an emergency leadership team are responsible for implementing the disaster plan when needed. One of the most difficult decisions facing the emergency leadership team is whether to evacuate or "shelter in place."
One of the big concerns for Florida health officials is air conditioning in the state's hundreds of nursing homes. The regulations were put in place after a Hollywood nursing home lost power and air conditioning after Hurricane Irma hit in 2017. They now require nursing homes to have equipment that can maintain an ambient temperature at 81 degrees for 96 hours after an outage, according to
Florida Senior Care facilities approved and implemented emergency power plans.
Florida Senior Care facilities approved and implemented emergency power plans.
State of Florida Emergency Power Plan
Out of 687 nursing homes in the state, over 400 (58.2 percent) have been given more than an extra year to have backup generators or power sources for air conditioning.
About 90 percent of the state’s 3,000-plus assisted living facilities, which are often smaller and have fewer beds, say they have met the state's required standards.
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