Dorian Now Cat 5, Threat to Florida Increases

Workers help a friend board up his apartment building in Fort Pierce Florida

Over two or three days, the slow-moving hurricane could dump as much as 4ft of rain, unleash devastating winds and whip up a unsafe storm surge, said private meteorologist Ryan Maue, seconding some of the most reliable computer models. That proximity would bring tropical-storm-force winds to the broad stroke of the area and potentially hurricane-force winds along the coast.

"We ask for God's guidance and for God to assist us through this", Minnis said. "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", forecasters said.

"The hurricane will remain in a fairly low-shear environment for the next few days, however since it is forecast to move quite slowly over the shallow waters of the northwestern-most Bahamas through Monday, this would likely result in less available oceanic heat content".

Tourists have been sent into shelters built in schools, churches and other suitable buildings as people in homes and hotels have been evacuated. He said it's the "safest place" to be in Central Florida during a hurricane.

In Grand Bahama, businesses were boarded up and thousands have evacuated Dorian's predicted path with forecasts of devastating winds, life-threatening surf conditions, and storm surges of up to 4.5 to 6 meters.

Authorities closed airports for Abaco, Grand Bahama and Bimini, but Lynden Pindling International Airport in the capital of Nassau stayed open.

Still, a major hurricane hovering just off the coast could cause serious damage. Of note, background tides are running at some of the highest levels of the year, known as king tides. It features 150 miles per hour maximum sustained winds and a textbook presentation from the vantage point of space. "Residents in these areas should continue to monitor the progress of Dorian".

Once the storm finishes deluging the Bahamas it is expected to head toward Florida, where mandatory evacuations have already begun.

SC and Georgia's governors ordered mandatory coastline evacuations beginning at noon on Labor Day and school and state office closings on Tuesday, as the historic hurricane took aim at the East Coast.

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The Bahamas archipelago is frequently hit by hurricanes.

In case of a Category 5 hurricane, a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse, according to the explanation of the wind scale categorization.

At around 5am, the center of the category 4 storm was around 70 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 255 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The hurricane is expected to continue battering Grand Bahama through Monday, before moving close to Florida's coast Monday night through Wednesday evening.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. The Hurricane Center also issued a hurricane watch and storm surge watch for the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to the line between Volusia and Brevard counties.

In Miami, Carmen Segura said she had installed hurricane shutters at her house, bought extra gas and secured water and food for at least three days. Forecasters say many computer models indicate the storm is expected to veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the Southeast seaboard, raising the risks of damaging winds and deadly flooding even if there's no direct USA landfall.

President Donald Trump is receiving briefings on Hurricane Dorian from the presidential retreat at Camp David.

Florida issued its first evacuation orders in parts of Palm Beach, home of Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, and Martin Counties.

In neighbouring North Carolina Governer Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency, and Georgia announced a state of emergency for 12 counties.

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