Why Hurricane Dorian Could Make History in Florida

Marisa Spyker
Why Hurricane Dorian Could Make History in Florida

In many ways, tracking Hurricane Dorian as it makes its approach toward the Sunshine State might seem like déjà vu for Floridians. The state, unfortunately, has been the landing ground for too many hurricanes to count, with bruises from the last major storm—Hurricane Michael, which devastated the panhandle last fall—still fresh. And the fact that Dorian is spoiling everyone’s Labor Day plans isn’t uncommon either—according to the NOAA, at least 25 hurricanes have hit the Sunshine State over the holiday weekend since 1851.

But there’s one noticeable difference in the forecast that leads some experts to believe Hurricane Dorian might make history in Florida. According to the Weather Channel, unless Dorian makes a sharp left very soon, it’s on track to become the first major hurricane (Category 3,4, or 5) to make landfall north of Fort Pierce. That means that Florida’s central and northern coasts, from Melbourne on up, could be bracing for an unprecedented impact.

Related: The Most Disastrous Hurricane in U.S. History:

While central and northeastern Florida haven’t experienced direct hits from major hurricanes, that certainly doesn’t mean they haven’t felt the effects from destructive storms. In 2004, back-to-back hurricanes (Frances and Jeanne) pummeled central Florida as each made landfall north of Palm Beach. Hurricane Matthew most recently wreaked havoc up and down Florida’s eastern coast in 2016, while it moved slowly and perilously just offshore.

Related: Why King Tides Could Make Hurricane Dorian's Impact on Florida Even Worse

But Dorian—if it were to slam head-first into Florida’s central coast as a Category 4, as the NOAA believes it will as of Thursday—would be a whole different story. Not only would the storm be the first major hurricane to hit the region, it would also be the strongest storm to hit Florida’s Atlantic coast since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The Sunshine State is making preparations for the worst, with a state of emergency declared in all 67 Florida counties. Governor Ron DeSantis also encouraged Florida residents to have at least seven days’ worth of food, water, and supplies on hand. (Learn exactly what to do to prepare for a hurricane here.)

In the meantime, we’ll hope for the best and keep tabs on Dorian’s progress right here.