After a near miss with Puerto Rico, Hurricane Dorian is now strengthening over the Caribbean with nearly all the projected paths taking this storm over the southeast United States coast as a major hurricane.

Dorian is now officially forecasted to make landfall as a Category 4 storm and could be the largest hurricane to hit central Florida in decades. There are many factors coming into play indicating the potential for rapid intensification, including unusually warm waters, high oceanic heat content values, and very low wind shear. On top of all this, an exceptionally high "king tide" from a new moon this weekend will cause the base water level on the Florida coast to be considerably higher than normal just as the storm hits.

Currently, the forecast models point to the central east coast of Florida. But please note that the prediction "cone" means the storm could hit from south Florida to the Carolinas, and the Gulf Coast could come into play if the storm crosses the Florida peninsula.

+ + Our team is responding

Our Mercy Chefs team has been tracking this storm all week. At this point, I am anticipating a full deployment of our Mercy Chefs team some time this holiday weekend. As I write, we are moving "The Beast" -- our largest mobile kitchen -- to South Carolina to be within a day's drive of the potential landfall. We have a second kitchen in Alabama on alert and ready to deploy.

This pre-deployment phase costs about $5,000 to get our team ready and in position. I'm asking friends to partner with us during this critical time.

With a major hurricane now anticipated to hit the east coast of Florida, will you help Mercy Chefs with a tax-deductible gift in support of the pre-deployment phase of our response? Go here to make your gift:

Finally and perhaps most importantly, PLEASE PRAY for our friends and neighbors who are potentially in the path of this storm. Pray that this storm will turn out to sea. And pray for our team as we prepare to respond.

Thank you so much for your faithful partnership. I will keep you updated as this storm and Mercy Chefs' response develops.

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc, Founder
Mercy Chefs

P.S. All the conditions now point to a major hurricane landfall on Florida's Atlantic coast. This storm has the real potential to build quickly in the next 48 hours before reaching the U.S. coast over the holiday weekend. We could use your help as we get ready to mobilize our kitchens and teams in advance of a storm strike. Go here to make a tax-deductible gift:

(Storm track image from National Hurricane Center.)