Puerto Rico man killed preparing for Dorian, which could hit Florida as Category 3 – NBC News

An 80-year-old man died in Puerto Rico when he fell from a ladder while preparing his home for Hurricane Dorian, authorities said Wednesday. The storm lashed Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday on track for what forecasters said could be landfall as a Category 3 hurricane in Florida over the weekend.

A spokesman for police in Bayamón confirmed to NBC News that one person had died in connection with Dorian. Police told Telemundo PR, the San Juan affiliate of NBC News’ Spanish-language network, that the man was climbing a ladder to clear drains at his home in preparation for the storm when he slipped and fell, sustaining a fatal head injury.

Dorian became a hurricane near the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. There were multiple observations of hurricane-force winds in St. Thomas, according to the hurricane center. An elevated weather station on Buck Island, just south of St. Thomas, reported sustained winds of 82 mph and a gust of 111 mph, the center said.

The storm was expected to continue to move near or over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands during the next several hours Wednesday and then over the Atlantic Ocean east of the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday and Friday, the hurricane center said at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The hurricane center said Dorian was gradually moving away from the northeastern Caribbean Sea and was expected “to become a dangerous hurricane in the western Atlantic.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely,” he said in a statement. “Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster.”

The hurricane center forecast the storm to continue to strengthen, becoming a dangerous Category 3 hurricane within 72 hours and staying at that intensity until landfall.

“All indications are that by this Labor Day weekend,a powerful hurricane will be near or over the Florida peninsula,” the center said.

The southeastern United States was expected to get 4 to 8 inches of rain, with some isolated areas seeing 10 inches.

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