Dorian Heading Toward Puerto Rico, Expected to Become a Hurricane

Tropical Storm Dorian, a “compact” storm that is expected to be upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches Puerto Rico by tonight or early tomorrow, according to CNN. CNN also reported that a team of over 200 people from nearly 30 different fire departments in South Florida were deployed to the Caribbean and Puerto Rico on Monday, according to CNN affiliate WPLG-TV.  And although the details are still a bit uncertain, the Sun-Sentinal reports that it appears the hurricane will make landfall on the east coast of Central Florida on Sunday but its strength at that time is still hard to predict.

Why This Matters:  MSNBC reported yesterday that Administration is moving $271 million in funding from the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, to pay for immigration detention space and temporary hearing locations for asylum-seekers who have been forced to wait in Mexico,  So funds that could be used to help with hurricane relief are being diverted to the border without Congressional approval — which seems to us to be both dumb given the Dorian situation, not to mention illegal.  And the thin justification for the move is the “emergency” at the border — this move will allow those immigrants waiting in Mexico to have their cases heard at the border, rather than being transported to locations within the interior of the country, and will also give ICE the ability to detain nearly 50,000 immigrants at one time.  Democrats argued that the Department provided no substantiation for a claim that this transfer is necessary due to “extraordinary circumstances that imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property.”

The Threat To Florida

The Sun-Sentinel reported that the National Hurricane Center expects the storm to weaken a bit after it passes Puerto Rico, but will likely be a hurricane again by the time the storm starts knocking on Florida’s door.

  • In advance of the storm making landfall, South Florida could see three to five inches of rain, with some places experiencing as much as seven inches.
  • The Center recommended that those living on the central coast should monitor the progress of the storm to ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow all directions of emergency managers.
  • Worse yet, a “king tide” began two days ago and will continue through next Tuesday — King tides occur when the sun and moon are in such a position that the resulting tides are larger than normal.

Puerto Rico Bracing for Impact

Dorian is forecast to batter Puerto Rico with heavy rain and strong winds, and CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said that “it won’t take much of either to cause trouble for the island’s brittle infrastructure.”

  • Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on Monday declared a state of emergency and urged people to prepare for the storm, particularly those who still don’t have permanent roofs on their homes as a result of lingering damage from Hurricane Maria.
  • About 360 shelters are available across the island for a capacity of 48,500 people,

To Go Deeper:  You can track the storm live, by clicking here.

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