President Donald Trump’s Florida getaway Mar-a-Lago has hosted some of the world’s most powerful leaders. Now, it may have to stand up to one of nature’s most forceful visitors.
Hurricane Dorian, excepted to slam the United States’ southeast coast Monday, between Palm Beach and southern Georgia, could bring torrential rain and winds in excess of 150 mph.
The as-of-Friday Category 3 hurricane — which could be upgraded to Category 4 by landfall — is forecast to be so big that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties of the state.
Trump approved that declaration Friday.
While former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell tweeted (and then deleted and apologized) that she hoped Hurricane Dorian would make “a direct hit on Mar a Lago!” expert predictions on the possibility of Dorian crashing into the president’s $160 million summer White House vary.
Dan Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist and lead hurricane forecaster at AccuWeather, said it’s possible Dorian could hit the resort, but if it “really slows down … it may start turning northward [and] if it fails to move to the coast by Tuesday,” then it may “never make landfall even close to West Palm beach.”
Still, Kottlowski stressed Mar-a-Lago is “not out of the woods.” And a direct hit would be costly.
Trump bought the 62,500-square-foot mansion, decked out with 126 extravagant rooms, for about $10 million in 1985, per Forbes. The value has since increased 16-fold, beating out the S&P 500, which has returned just 12 times that amount in the same time frame.
The club’s revenue reached an estimated $29 million in 2016, up a whopping 25% from the year prior. Estimates state it’s worth $10 million more than when before Trump was elected.
But the president has faith in his investment: “It would look like Mar-a-Lago is dead-center,” he told reporters before leaving for Camp David Friday night, “but Mar-a-Lago can handle itself. That’s a very powerful place. The thing I’m worried about is the state of Florida … this could be a record-setting hurricane.”
As of Friday afternoon, the storm was centered about 625 miles east of West Palm Beach, heading northwest at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Major cruise lines Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian have started rerouting ships. Airlines are canceling flights and changing passengers’ reservations. And the U.S. Navy ordered dozens of its warships and aircraft to evacuate two bases in northeast Florida.
Jeff Byard, a FEMA associate administrator, said Dorian could “create a lot of havoc” with infrastructure, power and roads. “This is going to be a big storm,” he told reporters. “We're prepared for a big response.”
Floridians and all those in Dorian’s projected path should be prepared.
“What we're telling people, anywhere from Miami to Cape Canaveral, even up to Jacksonville, is to evacuate,” Kottlowski said. “And everybody should have a hurricane plan. They should have provisions that will enable them to get through several days. People should not let their guard down.”