Citizens and local governments around West Volusia are continuing to prepare for Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to impact Florida sometime Monday into Tuesday.
As of the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. advisory, the storm had winds of 85 mph and was moving northwest at 13 mph. The storm was still about 330 miles east of the southeastern Bahamas.
"Strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday, and remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend," the NHC advisory reads.
A "major hurricane" is one that is Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, which ranks storms by sustained wind speeds. Category 3 storms have winds of between 111 and 129 mph.
The NHC's official track showed the storm making landfall along Florida's east coast sometime Monday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, with winds of up to 130 mph.
It is still unclear where exactly the center of the storm will make landfall. Regardless, citizens should take steps to prepare for Dorian's impacts.
"Users are reminded to not focus on the exact forecast track, as typical forecast errors at days four and five are around 155 and 205 miles, respectively," an NHC forecaster wrote in a forecast discussion about the storm.
Reports indicate that stocks of bottled water and other necessities are already being quickly bought at local grocery stores.
Volusia County officials are taking the storm seriously, and warning citizens to do similarly.
"According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Dorian is becoming increasingly dangerous and life-threatening. Volusia and Flagler county residents can expect tropical storm-force winds beginning mid-day Sunday," a news release posted Thursday reads. "Dorian is expected to make landfall in east-central Florida late Sunday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, bringing destructive winds, a life-threatening storm surge, and flooding rains. The most significant impact is expected to occur from Sunday through Tuesday."
DeLand, Deltona, DeBary, Orange City and Volusia County are all providing sandbags to residents while supplies last.
For the latest information on where to get sandbags, find shelters or other storm resources, visit the Volusia County Public Information Network at www.volusia.org/PIN. Residents can also call Volusia County's information hotline, 866-345-0345.
For the latest official forecast information on Dorian, visit the National Hurricane Canter at www.nhc.noaa.gov.