Published: Mon, September 02, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Bahamas brace for impact as Hurricane Dorian closes in

Bahamas brace for impact as Hurricane Dorian closes in

Hurricane Dorian tore across the Bahamas on Sunday as a historically powerful hurricane, officials said, leaving scenes of devastation in its path.

The ever-shifting storm was scheduled to plow through Florida but has shifted course to veer over the Bahamas.

The northwestern Bahamas are under a hurricane warning, which means "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the hurricane center said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Dorian is forecast to be 40 to 50 miles (64 to 80 kilometers) off the Florida with hurricane-force wind speeds extending about 35 miles (56 kilometers) to the west.

Storms this powerful typically tend to undergo cycles that weaken their high-end winds for a time, but Dorian has avoided this dynamic.

When the hurricane is upon us we will not be able to act. Some of the possible forecast scenarios include Dorian tracking towards the coast of Florida or a track farther to the north, which would further impact Georgia and the Carolinas.

In a slow, relentless advance, a catastrophic Hurricane Dorian kept pounding at the northern Bahamas early Monday, as one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded left wrecked homes, shredded roofs, tumbled cars and toppled power poles in its wake. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama.

After hitting the Bahamas Sunday, the slow-crawling storm is expected to turn sharply and skirt toward the USA coast, staying just off Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday and then buffeting SC and North Carolina on Thursday, according to the AP.

Palm Beach County ordered a mandatory evacuation for the eastern half of the county as of 1pm on Sunday.

The government opened 14 shelters across the Bahamas.

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After the Bahamas, the slow-crawling storm was forecast to turn sharply and skirt toward the US coast, staying just off Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday and then buffeting SC and North Carolina on Thursday.

The storm was projected to reach Florida by Labor Day weekend, but current forecasts have it turning north Monday evening.

St. Lucie County authorities said they have already received a report of an attempted burglary at a vacated home, and Sheriff Ken Mascara warned would-be looters, "We are watching for this kind of activity". The only recorded storm that was more powerful was Hurricane Allen in 1980, with 190 miles per hour winds, though it did not make landfall at that strength.

About 4,400 Florida National Guard soldiers and airmen are preparing to respond as well, and they will focus primarily on search and rescue, communications and aviation, spokeswoman Maj.

Despite increasing agreement in the forecast models that Dorian will turn north before making landfall in Florida this week, the predicted track still brings the "extremely dangerous" hurricane frighteningly close to the coast before it makes that turn.

Storm surges and flooding remained a serious risk for Florida, in part because the storm coincides with a periodic event known as king tides, especially high tides which frequently cause flooding in South Florida even on sunny days.

Hurricane Dorian is the fourth Category 5 storm to have threatened the US since Trump took office in January 2017, despite the president claiming he has never "even heard" the term. He suspended tolls on major evacuation routes for affected counties, including along the Florida Turnpike.

Pete Werner said he is riding out the storm at home in Orlando but is sending his mother to Walt Disney World. Then in October 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle.

"I just thought it was amusing", she said.

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