Hurricane Dorian strengthens to CATEGORY 5 and shifts back towards Florida: Millions in the Sunshine State, Georgia and the Carolinas brace for monster storm that already has winds of 160mph and is set to ‘park’ over the Bahamas for 24 hours
- Hurricane Dorian has intensified into a Category 5 storm early Sunday morning with 160mph winds
- The storm is expected to make landfall in the northwestern Bahamas sometime on Sunday
- From there it’ll head north to the southeastern U.S. coast, and South Florida is back in the cone of uncertainty
- Forecasters say Dorian likely won’t make landfall in Florida, but could in Georgia or the Carolinas
- Authorities in the Bahamas say the hurricane is likely to impact 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes
- Airports in Abaco, Grand Bahama and Bimini are closed, but the international airport in Nassau will stay open
- States of emergency remain in effect in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas
- Dorian is expected to hit the U.S. coast between Tuesday and Thursday
Hurricane Dorian intensified to a Category 5 on Sunday morning as it bore down on the northern Bahamas with howling winds, surging seas and a threat of torrential rains, forcing some evacuations and hotel closures.
The storm now boasts maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center – the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale – that is capable of inflicting catastrophic damage.
The monster hurricane’s path moved slightly towards Florida on Sunday morning, putting parts of South Florida back in the danger zone for a possible landfall, as the storm barrels towards the southeastern coast of the U.S.
Dorian will hit some of the Bahamian islands today and and the eyewall of the catastrophic storm will hit the Abaco Islands with devastating winds first, according to the NHC.
After parking over the Bahamas, the storm will aim north towards south Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas – where states of emergencies are in effect.
According to forecast models, Dorian will make a turn to the north on Tuesday or Wednesday, hitting the U.S.
Hurricane Dorian intensified to a Category 5 on Sunday morning as it bore down on the northern Bahamas with howling winds, surging seas and a threat of torrential rains, forcing some evacuations and hotel closures. Dorian pictured above in this satellite image as it approaches the Bahamas and Florida early Sunday
In this update from the National Hurricane Center on Sunday, Dorian shifted course and is headed back towards the south of Florida, but may not make direct landfall there. Sunday Dorian will park over the Bahamas before heading north to the southeastern U.S. coast
The Bahamas started to brace for Dorian’s wrath over the weekend. A woman carries a girl in her arms after being evacuated from a nearby Cay due to the danger of floods after arrive on a ship at the port before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Sweeting’s Cay, Grand Bahama, Bahamas on Saturday
A woman carries a girl in her arms after being evacuated from a nearby Cay due to the danger of floods after arrive on a ship at the port before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Sweeting’s Cay on Saturday
A child evacuated from a nearby Cay due to the danger of floods drags his suitcase when he arrives on a ship at the port before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Sweeting’s Cay
As for now the cone of uncertainty only touches South Florida, but that could change as the storms heads north.
‘Although the official track forecast does not show landfall, users should not focus on the exact track since a Florida landfall is still a distinct possibility,’ the NHC said in a 5am update.
First tropical-force winds are expected to reach South Florida as soon as late Sunday night or early Monday morning before dawn.
By 8am, Dorain was located 225 miles west of West Palm Beach moving west at 8 miles an hour.
In the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian has already started to wreak havoc.
Parts of the Bahamas started to feel the wind and rain of the hurricane and tourists were sent to government shelters in schools, churches and other buildings offering protection from the storm while residents were evacuating.
‘My home is all battened up, and I’m preparing right now to leave in a couple of minutes. … We’re not taking no chances,’ said Margaret Bassett, a ferry boat driver for the Deep Water Cay resort.
‘They said evacuate, you have to evacuate. It’s for the best interests of the people.’
Over two or three days, the hurricane could dump as much as 4 feet of rain, unleash devastating winds and whip up a dangerous storm surge, said private meteorologist Ryan Maue and some of the most reliable computer models.
The storm is expected to batter the Great Abaco first then will continue near or over Grand Bahama Island later Sunday evening or Monday.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned that Dorian is a ‘dangerous storm,’ saying that people ‘who do not evacuate are placing themselves in extreme danger and can expect a catastrophic consequence.’
Government spokesman Kevin Harris told The Associated Press that the hurricane was expected to affect some 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes.
He said authorities had closed airports in The Abaco Islands, Grand Bahama and Bimini, but Lynden Pindling International Airport in the capital of Nassau would remain open.
A beachgoer runs under the rain at the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk on Saturday in Hollywood, Florida
A man surfs along Lake Worth beach on Saturday in Lake Worth, Florida. Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on the northwestern Bahamas as a Category 4 storm
People line up to buy water at a store before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, in Freeport, Bahamas, on Friday
Workers board up a shop’s window front as they make preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport on Friday
A boy plays on the beach as a No Swimming flag flies on Saturday in Lake Worth, Florida
Gold Coast Crane workers and Dania Beach lifeguards remove the lifeguard tower in preparation for Hurricane Dorian as the storm approaches the Florida coast on Saturday at Dania Beach, Florida
A large boat is moved to a storage lot on dry land at a marina in Cape Canaveral as boat owners prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian on Saturday
A group of people fish at Dania Beach Pier on Saturday at Dania Beach, Fla. The latest forecast says Hurricane Dorian is expected to stay just off shore of Florida and skirt the coast of Georgia, with the possibility of landfall still a threat on Wednesday, and then continuing up to South Carolina early Thursday
Workers Elmer Ramos (right) and Mariano Arzayus put plywood over the windows of the Yogurt Ur Way Cafe in preparation for Hurricane Dorian as the storm approaches the Florida coast on Saturday in Hollywood
This GOES-16 satellite image taken on Saturday, August 31, 2019 around 4pm by NOAA shows Hurricane Dorian, right, churning over the Atlantic Ocean
Rafiyya Farooq stands on the beach as a storm cloud moves ashore in Vero Beach, Florida on Saturday
Small skiffs rented by authorities ran back and forth between outlying fishing communities and McLean’s Town, a settlement of a few dozen homes on the eastern end of Grand Bahama island, about 150 miles from Florida’s Atlantic coast.
– As of Saturday evening, Dorian became a major hurricane and was classified as Category 4
– Dorian has maximum sustained winds of 150mph, just 7 mph shy of a category 5
– As of 8pm on Saturday, Dorian was moving west at a speed of just 8mph
– Hurricane is located about 155 miles east of Great Abaco Island and the northwestern Bahamas and 335 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida
– It is likely to make catastrophic landfall in the northwestern Bahamas sometime on Sunday
– Bahamian government says hurricane is likely to impact 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes
– Dorian is likely to head up the southeastern coast of the United States, sparing Florida of a direct hit
– States of emergency have been declared in Florida and the Carolinas
– There is a fuel shortage and people are abandoning their cars at gas stations
– About 2,500 members of the National Guard have been activated with 1,500 more on standby
– Florida could see as much as 15 inches of rain in isolated areas from Hurricane Dorian
– Miami city officials have ordered electric scooters off the streets in case they become flying projectiles
Most were coming from Sweeting Cay, a fishing town of a few hundred people that is about 5 feet above sea level and was expected to be left completely underwater.
A few fishermen planned to stay, which could put them in extreme danger.
‘Hoping for the best, that the storm passes and everybody is safe until we return home,’ fisherman Tyrone Mitchell said.
Jeffrey Allen, who lives in Freeport on Grand Bahama, said he has learned after several storms that sometimes predictions don’t materialize, but it’s wise to take precautions.
‘It’s almost as if you wait with anticipation, hoping that it’s never as bad as they say it will be. However, you prepare for the worst nonetheless,’ he said.
The storm-prone Bahamas archipelago on average takes a direct hit from a hurricane every four years, officials say.
Construction codes require homes to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for residents who can afford it.
Poorer communities typically have wooden homes and are generally lower-lying, placing them at tremendous risk.
After walloping the northern Bahamas, Dorian was expected to dance up the U.S. Southeast coast, staying just off the shores of Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday before skirting South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday, mobilizing state resources to prepare for potential storm effects.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced emergency measures, including the lifting of restrictions on transportation.
‘Now is the time to prepare and take Dorian seriously,’ said Cooper.
‘This storm could cause serious damage and bring dangerous conditions to our state. I urge everyone to follow the forecast and listen to their local first responders.’
President Donald Trump already declared a state of emergency.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami stressed that Dorian could still hit Florida, where millions of people have been in the storm’s changing potential path.
But after days of predictions that put the state in the center of expected landfalls, the hurricane’s projected turn northeast was significant.
Carmen Segura said she had installed hurricane shutters at her house in Miami, bought extra gas and secured water and food for at least three days.
She felts well prepared and less worried given the latest forecasts but was still uneasy given the storm’s unpredictability.
‘Part of me still feels like: So, now what?’ Segura said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents along the state’s Atlantic coast, ‘We’re not out of the woods yet.’
He noted some forecast models still bring Dorian close to or even onto the Florida peninsula.
‘That could produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds,’ DeSantis said.
‘That cone of uncertainty still includes a lot of areas on the east coast of Florida and even into central and north Florida, so we are staying prepared and remaining vigilant.’
He said he spoke with Trump, who pledged any help Florida needs.
On Saturday, the shutters were up at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
‘Excellent news for Florida this Saturday morning. The official forecast from NHC and the latest model forecasts are pointing toward an offshore Florida track as dangerous Dorian approaches,’ said WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Jayme King.
Shops in Palm Beach, Florida are shuttered and boarded up as Floridians brace for the possible impact of Dorian
The image above shows boarded up windows in Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday
Locals and tourists enjoy the beach before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in St. Augustine, Florida on Saturday
‘We’re not out of the woods by any stretch, this needs to be watched and all Central Floridians need to be on guard until the storm rides north of our location.’
President Trump tweeted: ‘Looking like our great South Carolina could get hit MUCH harder than first thought. Georgia and North Carolina also. It’s moving around and very hard to predict, except that it is one of the biggest and strongest (and really wide) that we have seen in decades. Be safe!’
On Saturday night, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump was receiving briefings and updates at Camp David.
HURRICANE DORIAN’S PATH
Friday: Dorian becomes a Category 3 as it moves through the Atlantic Ocean
Saturday: Dorian’s eye hits the north and east of Turks and Caicos
Sunday AM: Dorian slows its forward motion and hits the southeastern Bahamas
Monday AM: Dorian hits the northeastern Bahamas
Monday PM – Tuesday AM: Dorian slows and hits Palm Beach County and potentially the entire eastern coast including:
- South Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Delray Beach
- Port St Lucie
- Vero Beach
- Cape Canaveral
Tuesday PM – Wednesday AM: Dorian heads up towards Central Florida affecting areas including Tampa, Orlando and Kissimmee
Wednesday: Rains and winds hit southeastern Georgia
Source: The Weather Channel, NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center
‘It’s an extremely dangerous hurricane, and while some are reporting changes in the track, anyone in the path of Hurricane Dorian should listen to state and local and first responders and public safety personnel and heed their warnings,’ Pence said.
Pence says FEMA officials are reassessing where to deploy assets as they track the hurricane.
Some counties in Florida told residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas to be ready to flee in the coming days.
The storm upended some Labor Day weekend plans: Major airlines allowed travelers to change their reservations without fees, big cruise lines began rerouting their ships and Cumberland Island National Seashore off Georgia closed to visitors.
Disney World and Orlando’s other resorts held off announcing any closings.
Sherry Atkinson, who manages a hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, said the hurricane wasn’t spoiling holiday vacations for guests.
‘So far, there hasn’t even been a snippet of conversation about evacuations,’ she said.
Early Saturday evening, Dorian was centered about 155 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 335 miles east of West Palm Beach as it moved westward at 8 mph.
A portion of Florida’s east coast was placed under a tropical storm watch Saturday, with winds of 39 to 73 mph possible within two days.
DeSantis said Friday the Florida Highway Patrol would soon begin escorting fuel trucks to help resupply gas stations in advance of the hurricane.
Gasbuddy, whose representatives helped state officials track fuel shortages in 2017 during Hurricane Irma, reported on Friday that more than half of the gas stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area were already out of fuel because of drivers stocking up on fuel before the storm hits.
Miami Beach is already experiencing flooding thanks to one of the season’s highest tides of the year, a king tide. Pictured: Weston Rice drives through a flooded parking lot as he prepares to drop his jet ski into the water at the Haulover Marine Center on Friday
As much as 15 inches of rain could fall on the already flooded area. Pictured: People walk to their boat through a flooded parking lot at the Haulover Marine Center
Miami Beach residents Omar, left, and Endre Eles place hurricane shutters over windows ahead of Dorian on Friday
Workers cover stained glass windows with plywood sections at the Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church in Flagler Beach, Florida, in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Friday
Workers at Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida, move a postosuchus statue (left) and an Allosaurus statue (right) in preparation for Dorian, on Friday
The faint hope of dodging Dorian’s fury came Friday, even as the storm ratcheted up from a menacing Category 3 hurricane to an even more dangerous Category 4. That raised fears Dorian could become the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida’s east coast in nearly 30 years.
In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florida where it made landfall, with wind speeds as high as 165mph, killing 65 people and causing $27.3billion in damage.
Some islands in the Bahamas remained under a hurricane warning, with winds of 74 mph or greater expected.
‘We ask for God’s guidance and for God to assist us through this,’ the prime minister said.
Residents across Florida have been rushing to supermarkets to collect food and supplies as several stores reported rapidly dwindling supplies.
Home Depot has sent more than 160 truckloads of products to stores in the state so far, a company spokesperson said.
One Walmart Supercenter in Orlando ran out of plain water on Thursday and now only has flavored waters and sports drinks available. The store’s canned food shelves are also thinning out fast.
Josefine Larrauri, a retired translator, went to a Publix supermarket in Miami only to find empty shelves in the water section.
‘I feel helpless because the whole coast is threatened,’ she said. ‘What’s the use of going all the way to Georgia if it can land there?’
The state government has ordered an additional 200,000 gallons of water for preparing counties on top of the 860,000 gallons already deployed. It is also ready to distribute 1.8 million meals.
On Friday morning, Florida Power and Light activated its emergency response plan, saying in a news release that it has secured some 13,000 employees and additional personnel to help restore power after Dorian hits.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency ahead for 12 counties closest to the state’s 100 miles of coastline on Thursday.
He signed an executive order that will free up state resources for emergency preparations and response and also prohibit price gouging for goods and services such as gasoline.
The 500-mile cone of uncertainty indicates that the hurricane could be affect anywhere from coastal southern Georgia to the Florida keys.
CNN reported that NASA moved a launch platform from the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building, about 3.5 miles away.
The $650million platform is the only one that is reportedly available for Space Launch System, the program to send astronauts back to the moon, and maybe even Mars.
Dorian passed to the west of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, brushing the islands of Culebra and Vieques but otherwise sparing the US territory from another disaster as it still reels from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
Supplies at a Walmart in West Miami run low on Friday as residents prepare for Hurricane Dorian
Long lines form for gas at a Costco in Miami as a shortage of fuel spreads across the state
Food and other supplies are expected to disappear quickly as shoppers wait in a long line for a Sam’s Club store to open before sunrise
A supervised work crew of female jail prisoners fills sandbags for distribution to local residents in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian
Local residents wait in their vehicles to receive a limit of ten sandbags per car at a sandbag distribution location in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian
The Florida Department of Emergency Management tweeted a lengthy checklist of supplies to have on hand on Wednesday
Florida’s most destructive hurricanes
Hurricane Andrew: This powerful Category 5 Atlantic hurricane battered the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana in August 1992.
At the time it was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florida where it made landfall with wind speeds as high as 165mph, killing 65 people and causing $27.3billion in damage.
Homestead Florida residents picking through the debris left in the wake of the deadly Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992
Hurricane Irma: Irma was the strongest observed hurricane in the Atlantic causing at least 134 deaths in September 2017.
This Category 5 hurricane hit the Leeward Islands, the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
Trees pictured bent in Hurricane Irma on Sept 10 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hurricane Michael: This category 5 hurricane was the first to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992.
The October 2018 storm killed 74 – including 59 in the U.S. and 15 in Central America.
It reached peak winds of 160mph before it made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida
A damaged home in Mexico Beach, Florida pictured above in the wake of Hurricane Michael
Several stores have reported rapidly dwindling supplies, including one Orlando Walmart that ran out of all plain water
A resident fills gas cans in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Thursday in Winter Springs, Florida
In Brevard County over 100 vehicles lined up at Thursday morning for free sandbags being filled by trustees from the Brevard County Jail
Stunning footage from outer space shows Hurricane Dorian in all its might, swirling towards Florida, where it’s forecast to make landfall on Labor Day Monday as a monster Category 4 storm. This was shot from the International Space Station Thursday afternoon
Hurricane Dorian is pictured Thursday in this satellite image as it barrels past Puerto Rico, sparing the island, and heads towards the northern Bahamas and Florida’s east coast, leading Florida to declare a state of emergency
‘We’re happy because there are no damages to report,’ Culebra Mayor William Solís told The Associated Press, noting that only one community lost power.
On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted: ‘Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route than anticipated. Thank you to FEMA, first responders, and all, for working so hard & being so well prepared. A great result! The bad news, Florida get ready! Storm is building and will be BIG!
‘Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!’
Trump cancelled his upcoming trip to Poland, meant to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the country, in light of the hurricane and announced he’ll send Vice President Mike Pence in his place.
‘It’s something very important for me to be here,’ he said. ‘The storm looks like it could be a very big one indeed.’
His remarks came one day after he was blasted for transferring disaster-relief funds to border control efforts.
The Trump administration announced in July in a notification to Congress that it will move $155million from FEMA’s disaster-relief fund to pay for border enforcement efforts.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat – berated Trump on Twitter Wednesday, writing: ‘The President must be out of his mind if he thinks it’s a good idea to shift funds out of @FEMA for immigrant detention at the border while a potential Category 3 Hurricane #Dorian bears down on the United States.’
She added: ‘We don’t need those funds diverted to fuel a xenophobic agenda.’
President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday morning: ‘Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route than anticipated. Thank you to FEMA, first responders, and all, for working so hard & being so well prepared. A great result! The bad news, Florida get ready! Storm is building and will be BIG! Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!’
Puerto Rico was hit with just a bit of rain as Dorian approached its northeast region but didn’t make landfall. A flooded road in Canovanas on the island pictured above
A washed up boat lies on the shore after Dorian slammed St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands on Wednesday
Dorian battered the island of St Thomas on Wednesday, causing widespread power outages and leveling trees
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