Published: Sat, August 31, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Hurricane Dorian shifts ‘dramatically,’ heightening concerns in the Carolinas

Hurricane Dorian shifts ‘dramatically,’ heightening concerns in the Carolinas

On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas today, be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday and be near the Florida east coast late Monday.

Still, there's a lot of uncertainty in the forecast, with the storm still days away from the USA coast.

Hurricane Dorian has churned towards Florida with increasingly powerful winds and drenching rains, wreaking havoc on people's Labour Day weekend plans in one of America's biggest holiday destinations.

The latest forecast says 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 SC early Thursday.

Dorian is still a small storm but its wind field has expanded.

Tourists scrambled to leave the Bahamas on Friday as Dorian approached its northwestern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, eager to take off before the global airport shut down at 10 p.m.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest urged everyone to remain indoors once the storm began closing in. It is now moving at a pace of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h), giving it more time to intensify before making landfall.

"So there are a lot of things that will be affected by this even if it does stay off the coast of Florida, " DeSantis said.

President Donald Trump - whose Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach was in the crosshairs - warned it could be an "absolute monster".

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"And when you dump on that about up to 15 feet of storm surge, flooding will certainly be a major factor along the coast of these islands".

The latest forecast track has narrowed the "Cone of Concern", as Miami-Dade County no longer faces the threat of the center of the hurricane.

The NHC advisory released at 5am also warned that the "risk of strong winds and life-threatening storm surge" during the middle of next week is increasing along Georgia and South Carolina's coasts.

Tropical storm force winds are possible.

Early Saturday, Dorian was centered 470 miles east of West Palm Beach. Forecasters said Dorian gained Category 4 strength late Friday, clocking top sustained winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph). Along Florida's east coast, local governments began distributing sandbags, shoppers rushed to stock up on food, plywood and other emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores, and motorists topped off their tanks and filled gasoline cans.

But some counties told residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas to flee beginning Sunday - though those orders in Brevard and Martin counties could change.

Coastal areas could get 15 to 30 centimetres of rain, with 46 centimetres in some places, triggering life-threatening flash floods, the hurricane centre said.

Dorian's approach comes days after the Trump administration announced that it would divert $271 million in funds from FEMA - including $155 million from the agency's disaster relief fund - to other units in the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to support the president's border enforcement priorities.

Also imperiled were the Bahamas, where canned food and bottled water were disappearing quickly and the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes. "The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life", Minnis was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

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