'Catastrophic' Hurricane Dorian batters the Bahamas

Homeland Security acting Secretary Kevin Mc Aleenan speaks during a news conference in San Salvador El Salvador

Dorian slowed to 7 mph and remained about 20 miles east-northeast of Great Abaco Island and 205 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, as of 11 a.m. Sunday.

The Category 5 storm has also grown in size, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 45 miles (75 kilometers) from its center, located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east-northeast of Great Abaco Island.

The 12:45 p.m. update showed the storm moving west at 8 miles per hour.

Dorian could remain almost stationary for two days, pounding the islands with 10- to 15-foot waves and 1 to 2 feet of rain, before a trough moves off the East Coast and pulls the storm north.

The forecast for Florida's storm surge-or its flooding-has yet to be assessed, but the NHC warns of a "life-threatening storm surge".

As much as 64 inches of rain could fall over the northern Bahamas once Dorian reaches the archipelago, according to storm models. They raised the alert level to a Tropcial Storm Warning for the coast between Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet, while a Tropical Storm watch extend from Golden Beach to Deerfield Inlet.

Hurricane warnings are in effect the northwestern Bahamas. Lake Okeechobee was put under a tropical storm watch.

As Dorian closed in, it upended people's Labor Day weekend plans.

"Some fluctuations in intensity are likely, but Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days", the NHC said.

Meanwhile, a new tropical storm has formed southwest of Mexico and is expected to become a hurricane on Monday.

Category four Hurricane Dorian continues to strengthen, with sustained winds of 240 kilometres per hour, gusting to 296km/h - and it is not done yet.

STX Braces for Tropical Storm Dorian
National Hurricane Center said its top winds were blowing at 85 miles per hour as the storm moved northwest at 13 miles per hour . Now Dorian is expected to approach the coast early Monday morning, where earlier forecasts had it near the state on Sunday.

He said he was concerned that numerous damaged homes would face "tremendous rain downpour and hurricane-force winds", and that there was a shortage of both labor and plywood to prepare.

Early on Sunday morning, Hurricane Dorian moved across some of the warmest waters in the Atlantic Ocean.

The forecast for Florida has improved in the past day even as the situation for North Carolina is beginning to look grim.

Residents load sandbags to protect their homes in Deltona, Florida, as they prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

- Hurricane Dorian is still expected to make a last-minute turn to the north, but a landfall in Florida or further north is still a "distinct possibility", forecasters stressed Sunday.

He said that he had rented hotel rooms for the most vulnerable, but could not afford to do more. President Donald Trump already declared a state of emergency and was brief late Saturday about the storm. Rain should be steady but might not be constant, depending on how close the storm gets.

"We know that the storm is coming so if someone like me can go and provide that comfort and hope then I am certainly going to do it", added Roaten.

Slow-moving storms like Dorian are getting more common as the Earth gets hotter.

North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEMA) said the storm was forecast to keep moving in the state's direction for the next 48 hours.

The shape of the coastline from northern Florida through the Carolinas means there is a risk of significant storm-surge flooding there even if the storm's center remains just offshore. Disney World and Orlando's other resorts held off announcing any closings.

The Florida National Guard said roughly 2,000 service members had been mobilized, with another 2,000 poised to join them.

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