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Meteorologist On Category 5 Dorian


We're going to start this hour by talking about Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall in the Bahamas earlier today. The storm is now a dangerous Category 5, with sustained winds topping out at 185 miles per hour. There has only been one stronger hurricane in the Atlantic. This is still a developing story as it makes its way to South Florida, so we're going to try to give you the latest now. We're joined by Jeff Huffman, meteorologist from the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network in Gainesville, Fla.

Jeff Huffman, thank you so much for joining us.

JEFF HUFFMAN, BYLINE: You're welcome.

MARTIN: Not to belabor this obvious point, but is this as dangerous as it sounds?

HUFFMAN: It is. And because it's becoming precariously dangerous situation for the east coast of Florida - meaning it may officially stay offshore but still spread the core of its severe impacts right along the coastline - I think that's something that we should emphasize, is that - and I think it was mentioned off the top of the hour - we need our listeners from our member stations in Miami, WLRN, all the way to Jacksonville, WJCT, to take this seriously, especially if you live east of that I-95 corridor because there is an increasing chance now the core - and we're talking the eye wall - of major Hurricane Dorian will brush the coastline.

That could mean winds well above hurricane strength. That could bring storm surge, storm surge warnings and hurricane warnings in effect. So I think that's what's the most dangerous part of this storm is actually the fact that it may be not coming ashore directly, and residents may not be taking it seriously at this point.

MARTIN: Has the storm reached full strength, or is there any possibility that it could intensify?

HUFFMAN: It likely has reached close to its full strength. It's approaching or moving over the islands now of the Northern Bahamas. And it's also showing signs of going through a eye wall replacement cycle. That will likely occur in the next 24 hours. So the strength is going to fluctuate.

That's another strong point I wanted to make. Just because it weakens a bit in the next 24 to 36 hours does not mean the overall effects or impacts to the state of Florida's coastline will change. You know, whether it's a 3, 4 or 5, it could produce significant damage along the coast. But it will likely fluctuate in intensity over the next 24 to 48 hours, and it probably has reached its peak in intensity at the time.

MARTIN: Could you talk a little bit more about the path that the storm is taking? You were talking about this earlier. It's expected - am I still right? - it's expected to move into the Florida Peninsula Monday morning.

HUFFMAN: Very close to the peninsula, correct. The steering currents - the winds aloft that steer this hurricane - are collapsing. So it is going to almost wander around a bit or stall just to the northwest of the Bahamas between the Grand Island there and Miami. And any slight deviation - or in our world, we call it a wobble - could significantly increase the impacts along the coastline. And it is expected to turn north and more or less parallel the Atlantic coast of Florida before, of course, then threatening portions of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

MARTIN: That was Jeff Huffman. He is the director and meteorologist of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. He was kind of to join us from Gainesville, Fla.

Jeff, thank you so much.

HUFFMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.