Hurricane Dorian: Florida Woman Wraps Her Home in Plastic to Protect It From Storm

A Florida woman has wrapped her home in heavy-duty plastic in preparation for the impact of Hurricane Dorian, which is currently battering the Bahamas as it moves towards the state's east coast.

Brittany Vidal—who lives in the Davis Shores neighborhood of St. Augustine—used duct tape and around 300 sandbags to secure the plastic to her house in an attempt to keep water from entering the building as the storm passes, CBS47 reported.

"We just started out by doing 6 mil plastic all around the house," Vidal told the news outlet. "If it works, it's totally worth it."

Residents of Davis Shores are well aware of the risks that Dorian—one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded—could pose given that the neighborhood suffered severe flooding as a result of hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Davis Shores lies in an area of the state containing more than 148,000 people for which an evacuation order has been issued. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have all declared a state of emergency in preparation the storm.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for vulnerable coastal areas of Florida, the Associated Press reported. On Sunday, the governors of South Carolina and Georgia issued evacuation orders covering the coastal areas of their respective states, taking effect midday on Monday.

Dorian has brought devastating winds, dangerous storm surges and heavy rainfall to the Bahamas, causing severe damage, after making landfall in the Abaco Islands on Sunday. A 7-year-old boy was confirmed to have been killed during the storm—Dorian's first recorded fatality.

Currently, the storm is pounding Grand Bahama—the nation's northernmost island—with "destructive" and "life-threatening" gusts of wind reaching up to 200 miles per hour and storm surges between 18 and 23 feet above normal tide levels, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC.)

The storm's center is currently located about 30 miles east northeast of Freeport on Grand Bahama, and about 115 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. It is crawling very slowly westwards at just one mile per hour, increasing its ability to do significant damage in Grand Bahama. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the storm's center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend 140 miles.

Meteorologists are not certain exactly where Dorian will head in the coming days due to uncertainties in the forecasts, however, the storm is expected to reach the Florida east coast in roughly 24 hour's time, before tracking northwards while running parallel to the Southeast seaboard.

"A slow westward to west-northwestward motion is forecast during the next day or so, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest and north," an NHC statement read. "On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island through much of today and tonight. The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast tonight through Wednesday evening.

"Maximum sustained winds are near 165 mph with higher gusts. Dorian is a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Although gradual weakening is forecast, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days," the statement read.

Even if the U.S. mainland avoids a direct hit, the storm is still expected to bring life-threatening storm surges, destructive winds and heavy rainfall along parts of the Florida east coast through midweek. There is also an increasing probability that these hazards could affect coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas later in the week.

Dorian is turning out to be one of the strongest-ever Atlantic hurricanes, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour and gusts of up to 220 miles per hours recorded on Sunday.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the number of tropical cyclones over the Atlantic since 1967.

Hurricane Season History Tropical Cyclone Atlantic Statista
History of the number of tropical cyclones over the Atlantic. Statista