Trump issues emergency declarations for Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands ahead of Hurricane Dorian

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Hurricane Dorian is currently circulating in the Atlantic Ocean en route to the eastern United States, where it will likely hit between central Florida and South Carolina at some point in the next several days.

In light of the threat posed by the storm to the U.S. and U.S.-owned territories in the Caribbean, President Donald Trump issued declarations of emergency for the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, according to reports.

The move came in an attempt to streamline potential federal disaster relief efforts on the islands, which are still far from fully recovering from the devastation wrought in 2017 by the back-to-back meteorological punches that were Hurricanes Irma and Maria, according to The Hill.

The declarations authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take necessary actions to coordinate recovery efforts with local agencies and officials.

A state of emergency

According to reports from AccuWeather, Puerto Rico was largely spared from a direct hit by Dorian; the hurricane skirted around the northeast corner of the island without making landfall.

The U.S. Virgin Islands — as well as the British Virgin Islands just to the north — were not quite so lucky, however.

Dorian barreled over the islands, pummeling them with heavy rain, high winds, localized flooding, and mass power outages.

Dorian was still categorized as a tropical storm when it passed over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but it still brought significant damage to the territories, which faced winds of up to 111 mph — strong enough to bring down trees and power lines and cause damage to businesses, homes, and other property.

Buckling down

Now that the storm has passed over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, those who live in the Bahamas and in the central Florida region are buckling down for what will likely be direct hit at some point over the holiday weekend from a storm expected to have strengthened to a Category 3 or 4 hurricane by that time.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has already declared a state of emergency in preparation for Dorian’s anticipated landfall, according to The Hill.

And it is likely that President Trump will issue an emergency declaration of his own for the Sunshine State in the coming days.

“Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!”

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