Update: August 30, 2019 at 7:45 a.m. ET
The National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Dorian has strengthened into a Category 2 storm and is packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour.
According to Weather.com, Dorian was moving in a northwest direction at 12 miles per hour early Friday morning and was located about 260 miles northeast of the Bahamas. Forecasters believe the storm will reach Category 4 strength before making landfall in Florida and other portions of the southeast United States.
Cruise lines continue to change itineraries and alter routes due to the storm. Cruise Critic is reporting Carnival Cruise Line has adjusted nine sailings, with at least five other voyages possibly impacted in the comping days.
Even though uncertainties continue as to exact track & a landfall past 4 days, some notable changes have occurred with the guidance. A slower #Dorian, and a slight southerly shift that puts more of south Florida in play. This has been reflected w/NHC cone. pic.twitter.com/1q7S1mMpub
— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) August 30, 2019
Hurricane #Dorian is predicted to become a Major Hurricane (Cat. 3) by this afternoon and forecasted to reach the US as a Cat. 4. The storm looks to slow down as well when it makes landfall, dumping heavy rain + strong winds for an extended period. pic.twitter.com/RO0DUjs0oq
— Dylan DeBruyn (@18StormDylan) August 30, 2019
Other cruise lines dealing skipping ports of call or changing their routes include the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.
As for the airline industry, all of the major carriers in the U.S. and the Caribbean have issued full travel advisories and are waiving change fees for travelers flying to or from top airports in Florida, including Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Key West, Miami, Orlando and Tampa.
Over the next several days, airports in the region are advising travelers to call their airline before hitting the road to ensure their flights have not been delayed or canceled.
After strengthening from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane, forecasters believe Dorian is heading toward landfall in Florida during the Labor Day weekend as it continues to impact travel.
According to Weather.com, the National Hurricane Center said Dorian is packing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and moving 13 miles per hour as it rolls into the warmer open waters southeast of the Bahamas.
As the storm system continues moving northwest toward the United States, it is expected to strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane due to the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. Some forecasters even believe Dorian could reach Category 4 before hitting the Southeast Sunday into Monday morning.
UPDATE: 5 AM
Hurricane #Dorian now expected to be nearly Category 4 at landfall … late Monday along Florida coast near Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/98YOlnBbSZ
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) August 29, 2019
Fox 35 Orlando meteorologist Glenn Richards said Dorian could be “the strongest hurricane to hit Central Florida in over 30 years.” As a result, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and urged residents on the state’s east coast to “have seven days of supplies, prepare their homes and follow the track closely.”
Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2019
Here are the 5 AM AST/EDT August 29 Key Messages for Hurricane #Dorian. For more information, visit https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/IPNcswUGBt
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 29, 2019
As for the hurricane’s impact on travel, airlines serving airports in the Caribbean and Florida are issuing travel advisories, waiving change fees and offering refunds for canceled flights.
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have expanded their advisories to include airports in the Bahamas, while Southwest is now waiving change fees for customers flying to or from Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach Saturday through Wednesday.
For travelers scheduled to sail through the Caribbean in the coming days, Cruise Critic revealed that Carnival Cruise Line has been forced to alter itineraries for four of its scheduled sailings.
In addition, Royal Caribbean has made modifications to the scheduled stops for seven ships and Disney Cruise Line has rerouted only one vessel, but is monitoring the storm for weekend sailings.
On Wednesday, the storm system brought heavy rain to Puerto Rico and parts of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, but Dorian did not make a direct hit on the islands as many had feared.
This is a developing story. TravelPulse will update throughout the weekend as the Hurricane continues to impact travel.