Florida faces fuel shortage as Hurricane Dorian approaches: governor

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(Photo: Agencies)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Governor of the US state of Florida Ron DeSantis acknowledged Friday that there is a fuel shortage in his state as powerful Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall on the state's coast in the days ahead.

After declaring a state of emergency across all of Florida's 67 counties Thursday, DeSantis told a morning news briefing Friday that the declaration "waived service and truck rates for fuel trucks so we can increase capacity for fuel being brought in."

"We're also going to be starting today implementing Florida Highway Patrol escorts for fuel trucks so we can increase fueling in critical parts of the state," the governor said, adding that Dorian could be "potentially a multi-day event."

At least nine colleges and universities in the state are closing their campuses ahead of Dorian, DeSantis said.

According to the latest forecast by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued on Friday, Dorian became a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (175 km) per hour.

The current wind speed indicates that Dorian is 1 mile per hour short of being a Category 3 hurricane, which has maximum sustained winds of 111-129 miles (178-208 km) per hour. Hurricanes are categorized into five levels by scale, and anything above Category 3 is considered a "major" hurricane.

Now near the Bahamas, the hurricane was moving northwestward near 12 miles (19 km) per hour, according to the NHC. It is expected to hit Florida as early as Monday, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.

DeSantis said Thursday that the state also activated 2,500 members of the Florida National Guard to cope with the imminent threat, with an additional 1,500 on standby.

"As Hurricane Dorian continues to grow and intensify, we are preparing all available state resources," he said. "I encourage all Floridians to continue to monitor updates and to heed all warnings from local officials."