Hurricane Dorian is grinding closer to the US, with devastating winds due in Florida as soon as tonight
- Hurricane Dorian, a powerful Category 4 storm, is inching closer to the US. The National Hurricane Center said Monday that powerful winds will be felt in Florida starting Monday night or Tuesday morning.
- Dorian tied the record for the strongest hurricane landfall ever recorded in the Atlantic.
- The storm has completely stalled over Grand Bahama island. It has generally moved slowly, bringing „catastrophic” conditions to the Bahamas, where five people have been reported dead.
- Dorian may not make landfall in the US — its path could instead hug the coast, bringing catastrophic storm conditions to Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
- More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate in parts of those states.
- Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in an interview that at least five people have died as a result of the storm, reported the Washington Post.
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Hurricane Dorian is inching closer to the US — the National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts it could bring hurricane conditions to Florida as early as Monday night.As of 5 p.m. Monday, the storm was sitting directly over the Bahamas, where it has already wreaked havoc. Hubert Minnis, the prime minister of the Bahamas, said the hurricane has likely caused „unprecedented devastation.”Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, and storm-surge warnings for Grand Bahama Island suggest water levels could reach 12 to 18 feet above normal tide. The storm has become completely stationary, giving it more time to cause destruction.Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at least five people have died as a result of the storm, reported the Washington Post. Read more: Hurricane Dorian claimed its first victim, an 8-year-old boy who reportedly drowned in the Bahamas„This is a life-threatening situation. Residents on Grand Bahama Island should not leave their shelter when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye,” the NHC said. „Residents in the Abacos should continue to stay in their shelter until conditions subside later today.”Dorian’s slightly slower wind speeds (145 mph as of 5 p.m. ET on Monday) make it a Category 4 hurricane as of Monday evening.The NHC expects the storm to start moving northwest again overnight and into Tuesday morning, bringing hurricane conditions to Florida and potential tornadoes along the state’s east coast. „Dorian is forecast to remain a very powerful hurricane while it moves near the southeastern United States coast,” the NHC warned.hurricane dorian ingrid mcintosh EyeWitness News Warnings and evacuation orders from Florida to the Carolinas More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate along the US East Coast. The city of West Palm Beach released a statement asking residents to shelter in place on Monday afternoon.A hurricane warning is in effect for the portion of the Florida coast from the Jupiter Inlet up to Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, Florida. A storm surge warning is in affect for the Florida coast from Lantana (just south of West Palm Beach) up to Altamaha Sound in Georgia. Water levels there could crest up to 7 feet above normal tides.Read more: Hurricane Dorian is moving slowly moving toward Florida’s coast — but whether it makes landfall may be down to just a few milesForecasts suggest that Dorian’s path will likely shift north, drawing it close to the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas later this week.hurricane dorian cone 5pm mon National Hurricane Center Meteorologists say the trajectory could still change, however.”It cannot be stressed enough that only a small deviation to the left of the NHC forecast could bring the core of the extremely dangerous hurricane onshore of the Florida east coast within the hurricane warning area,” the NHC said on Monday. „In addition, Dorian’s wind field is predicted to expand, which would bring hurricane-force winds closer to the east coast of Florida even if the track does change.” Read more: Eerie photo captures the eye of Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in history The NHC also warned of life-threatening flash flooding and hurricane-force winds in North and South Carolina. It predicted heavy rains that could produce life-threatening flash floods will continue across the northern Bahamas and southeast US coast into Friday.Hurricane Dorian satellite map Associated Press Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina and Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia have announced mandatory evacuation orders that take effect starting at 12 p.m. ET Monday: McMaster ordered evacuations for South Carolina’s entire east coast, affecting about 830,000 people, according to the Associated Press. Kemp’s evacuations cover about 150,000 people in Georgia.”We can’t make everybody happy, but we believe we can keep everyone alive,” McMaster said, according to the AP.South Carolina reversed traffic flow on highway I-26 on Monday morning so that all lanes travel westbound to aid evacuation.Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1168567018833924100?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
UPDATE – No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, known as contraflow, this practice helps evacuating traffic get to their destination much faster during times of peril. This is currently in effect in South Carolina where mandatory evacuations are in place ahead of #Dorianpic.twitter.com/uziNbF4ysK Evacuation orders are also in place across multiple counties in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis called Dorian „one of the strongest storms that’s ever threatened Florida.””If you’re in an evacuation zone and they’re telling you to leave, please do so, and by the way, do it early,” NHC director Ken Graham said in a Facebook live videoon Monday morning. „Sometimes that water’s going to get there before the winds, you’ll lose your roads and you can’t get out.”Three Florida airports, including Orlando International Airport, are closed on Monday, and more than 1,000 flights have been cancelled across the US. The storm has devastated the Bahamas, and it is still pounding the islands Dorian struck the Bahamas with sustained wind speeds of 185 mph, tying the record for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall ever recorded. Its only rival is the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane that battered the Bahamas, Florida, and the US East Coast, the NHC tweeted on Sunday. Some wind gusts in Great Abaco on Sunday afternoon reached up to 220 mph. Hubert Minnis, the prime minister of the Bahamas, said Sunday that in some parts of Abaco „you cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins.”Read more: Photos and videos show Hurricane Dorian pummeling the Bahamas with rain, wind, and massive flooding: ‘Please pray for us’Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1168236648825589761?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
BOATS AND HOMES BLASTED. More video from #HurricaneDorian destruction in the #Bahamas (via LatraeRahming) #Dorian#AbacoIslands#Abaco#Dorian#Hurricane#Dorian2019pic.twitter.com/EUae98rpex He called it „probably the saddest and worst day for me to address the Bahamian people.”Early reports from the Islands as well as photos and videos shared on social media, show extreme flooding. Instagram Embed:
The Bahamas were feeling the full force of Hurricane Dorian on Monday as the storm swept across the archipelago with 185mph winds, leading the prime minister of the islands to report that „devastation is unprecedented”.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said the Abaco Islands, which on Sunday received the full brunt of Dorian, had been seriously damaged. The hurricane came ashore as the most powerful storm ever to hit the archipelago.
„Our focus right now is rescue, recovery and prayer,” said Dr Minnis.
Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, said: “We are working with our partners to make available as swiftly as possible whatever assistance The Bahamas may require at this time of great need and uncertainty.
“It is heartrending to hear of the destruction and disruption this extremely powerful Atlantic hurricane has caused, forcing people out of their homes and wreaking widespread devastation on The Bahamas.”
Three humanitarian experts from Britain were deployed to assist efforts, the Department for International Development (DfID) said, arriving on the islands on Tuesday.
“I have sent an initial team of experts to the Bahamas to help assess the damage and coordinate the UK’s response, including any potential use of military assets if required,” said Alok Sharma, the International Development Secretary.
“The UK is a world leader in providing disaster relief, and it’s right that we support the people of the Bahamas in their time of need.”
The British Royal Navy auxiliary ship RFA Mounts Bay has been pre-positioned to the region to offer her support if required.
The ship is capable of carrying specialist water rescue vehicles and includes a helicopter that can be used to deliver humanitarian aid. RFA Mounts Bay has relief supplies on-board including water carriers, hygiene kits and shelter kits.
The storm’s toll was still untallied nearly 24 hours after it made landfall as a Category Five with sustained winds of 185 mph.
It weakened slightly on Monday to a still-devastating Category Four storm, punishing Grand Bahama Island with „catastrophic winds and storm surge,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
It was grinding its way westward on Monday at a speed of one mile per hour, laying siege for hours to Grand Bahama Island, with sustained winds of 155 mph.
Residents of Grand Bahama were being told to stay inside their hurricane shelters as in Freeport, the main town, winds tore off shutters and water began coming into homes.
„People who thought they were safe are now calling for help,” said Yasmin Rigby, in a text message sent to AP from the island. „My best friend’s husband is stuck in the roof of their house with seven feet of water below.”
Initial Red Cross estimates were that 13,000 buildings may have been damaged or destroyed by Dorian, officials in Geneva said.
Video posted on the website of the Bahamian newspaper Tribune 242 showed water up to the roofs of wooden houses in what appeared to be a coastal town. Capsized boats floated in muddy brown water dotted with wooden boards, tree branches and other debris.
The NHC forecast an 18 to 23 foot storm surge above tide levels in parts of Grand Bahama, accompanied by large and destructive waves.
The storm looked on track to head towards the US coast by Monday evening.
Florida, Georgia and South Carolina ordered hundreds of thousands of coastal residents to evacuate, beginning at noon on Monday.
Airports were closed in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Palm Beach, and almost 1,000 flights were cancelled.
President Donald Trump met with his emergency management chiefs on Sunday and declared „this looks monstrous.”
„We expect that much of the eastern seaboard will be ultimately impacted and some of it very, very severely,” he said.
Florida issued its first evacuation orders in parts of Palm Beach, home of Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and Martin Counties.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster followed suit on Sunday ordering mandatory evacuations of the state’s coast – affecting some 800,000 people – while Georgia gave orders to evacuate six coastal counties, and the entire city of Savannah. Both orders took effect on Monday at noon.
Dorian was tied with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, based on maximum sustained winds.
Hurricane Allen in 1980 was the most powerful, with 190 mph winds, the NHC said.
Although Dorian is expected to weaken gradually, forecasters said it likely would remain a powerful hurricane for the next couple of days.
Minnis said that there are also people in Great Bahama island in serious distress. Rescue crews will respond to calls for help as soon as weather conditions allow.
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” Minnis said.
Historic Hurricane Dorian stalled over the northern Bahamas on Monday, pounding the islands with heavy rains, storm surge and howling winds before the storm directs its rage toward the U.S. coast.
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As of 8 p.m. EDT, Dorian’s advance westward along the archipelago slowed to a crawl while top sustained winds eased slightly to 140 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, causing Dorian to slip from a Category 5 to Category 4 – still a brutal storm.
The hurricane will continue its assault on Grand Bahama Island into the night, the center said. Some areas could see up to 2 feet of rain, and storm surge could reach 23 feet, forecasters warned. Heavy rains capable of creating life-threatening flash floods over the northern part of the Bahamas are expected through Friday.
Everyone there should remain sheltered and not venture into the eye, the center said Monday evening.
Emergency responders were already overwhelmed.An estimated 13,000 homes have been destroyed, according to the Salvation Army, which has volunteers stationed in the group of islands.
Power and communications outages made damage assessment difficult. The few videos that have emerged from the Abaco Islands show destroyed homes, flooded roads and residents pleading for help and prayers.
Florida and the U.S. East Coast remained a target. The storm will move „dangerously close” to the Florida east coast late Monday through Wednesday night, the center said. Dorian is forecast to turn toward the northwest, roaring parallel to Florida about 30 to 40 miles offshore, before continuing north along the East Coast deep into the week.
Dangerous surge and hurricane winds are expected on parts of Florida’s east coast and the coastal South Carolina and Georgia, the center said Monday evening. The risk of life-threatening surge in North Carolina continues to increase.
Heavy rains that could cause flooding are expected in the lower Mid-Atlantic and the coastal Southeast of the United States through Friday as well.
That gap remains right on the edge of delivering the worst of Dorian to the Florida coastline. Center Director Ken Graham stressed that the state’s east coast will be dealing with wind, rain and storm surge as high as 7 feet through Wednesday.
„No matter the track, no matter the characteristics of the storm, the water’s coming, so please just everyone listen to the local officials,” Graham said. „Remember water can rise a lot earlier before the storm gets there. This is life and death.”
Weather concerns brought havoc to air travel on the busy Labor Day holiday as airlines canceled more than 1,100 Monday flights within, into or out of the United States, according to flight tracker FlightAware.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency and was being briefed regularly about what he called a „monstrous” storm.
“I spoke with President Trump. He’s fully engaged in this,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Monday. „He just reiterated that he’s going to provide any resources we need to weather Dorian.”
DeSantis said all coastal counties have issued evacuation orders, and 72 nursing homes have been evacuated. More than 4,000 members of the state National Guard have been called up, and power companies are prepared to dispatch 17,000 personnel to combat outages.
The hurricane center said wind gusts exceeded 220 mph when the storm made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday afternoon. The winds matched the records set by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, which tore through the Florida Keys, killing more than 400 people in the days before hurricanes were given names.
„This is probably the saddest and worst day for me to address the Bahamian people,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Sunday. „We are facing a hurricane that we have never seen in the Bahamas. Please pray for us.”
The only recorded storm that was more powerful was Hurricane Allen in 1980, with 190 mph winds, though it did not make landfall at that strength.
Dorian made landfall in Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas around noon Sunday, then made a second landfall near Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco at 2 p.m. The raging winds wrought destruction and terrified islanders who sought shelter in schools, churches and other facilities.
„It’s devastating,” said Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. „There has been huge damage to property and infrastructure.”
Florida, Georgia, Carolina coasts
The storm was about 110 east of West Palm Beach, Florida. In Jupiter, 20 miles to the north, rain pelted Michael Schrimsher’s bright yellow slicker. Dorian-driven waves crashed into the Jupiter Beach Park jetty under gray skies.
„I think everybody’s a little worried,” Schrimsher said. „We have a concrete house. But this one’s a little scary.”
After rolling up along the Florida coast, the hurricane was forecast to track near the Georgia and Carolina coasts late this week.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuation of his state’s entire coast effective Monday. The order covers about 830,000 people, and state troopers planned to make all lanes on major coastal highways one-way heading inland.
„We can’t make everybody happy, but we believe we can keep everyone alive,” McMaster said.
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A few hours later, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, ordered evacuations for that state’s Atlantic coast, also starting at midday Monday.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned his state that it could see heavy rain, winds and floods later in the week. Mandatory evacuations of visitors to North Carolina’s Outer Banks will begin Tuesday morning, according to government officials from Hyde and Dare counties.
„The time to prepare is now,” Coooper warned. „North Carolina must take this seriously.”
Rodriguez and Bacon reported from McLean, Va.
Contributing: Morgan Hines, Dawn Gilbertson and Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY; Janine Zeitlin, Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press; Amber Roberson, Tallahassee Democrat; Dan DeLuca, Treasure Coast Newspapers; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Dorian update: Bahamas battered by 145 mph winds; 5 dead