Published: Mon, September 02, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Hurricane Dorian strengthens to category 5 and bears down on Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian strengthens to category 5 and bears down on Bahamas

The eye of the Category 5 hurricane was still 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Abaco Islands, but the slow-moving hurricane's core was expected to move directly over Great Abaco, and possibly also Grand Bahama Island later Sunday and Monday, US forecasters said.

The NHC said Dorian had become "the strongest hurricane in modern records for the northwestern Bahamas".

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have all declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

"On this track, the core of extremely risky Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Great Abaco today and the move near or over Grand Bahama Island tonight and Monday".

The "extremely dangerous" storm was expected to hit the island chain on Sunday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, before making landfall on the US east coast.

Florida residents hang plywood over their window as they prepare to protect their home just in case Hurricane Dorian hits the area.

Potential damage to the Bahamas from Dorian could be exacerbated by the fact that its westward motion is forecast to slow, keeping it over the islands for longer, the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

The government's advisory to avoid all non-essential travel to Florida notes that the east coast, from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia and Brevard County Line will be affected by the storm.

"That's major hurricane winds, that's storm surge of 10 and even 20 feet in some of those areas", he said.

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Hurricane Dorian is moving ever closer to the northern Bahamas.

The NHC latest advisory said: "Dorian is a extremely unsafe category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Lives can not be replaced", he told a news conference on Saturday, adding that 73,000 people and 21,000 homes were at risk to storm surges, which are predicted to reach up to 20 feet (6.1 meters). "Catastrophic conditions" are occurring in The Abaco Islands and expected across Grand Bahama later in the day, the center said.

Residents of the Sunshine State have already begun stockpiling supplies and boarding up buildings, while at least one county has issued an evacuation order. Dorian was upgraded to the most powerful designation of Category 5, with maximum sustained winds increasing to 160 miles per hour (260 kph).

"We have been for the last few days asking all tourists to leave the island in anticipation of the hurricane", said Minister of State Kwasi Thompson for Grand Bahama.

Forecasters say if Dorian stays as powerful as it is now, it would be the strongest hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 which caused massive destruction. The time allows small changes in the winds that steer the storm, which means Dorian can still make landfall anywhere from Florida to North Carolina during the next five days.

The latest forecast from the Hurricane Center calls for Dorian to remain a Category 5 storm for 24 hours before slowly weakening, but remaining a formidable hurricane as it moves close to Florida and northward to the Carolinas.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents along that state's densely populated Atlantic coast, "We're not out of the woods yet". There is also the possibility of a landfall.

In the northern stretches of the Bahamas archipelago, hotels closed, residents boarded up homes and officials hired boats to move people to bigger islands as Dorian approached.

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