Hurricane Dorian threatens Florida, South Carolina

An aerial view shows devastation after hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas

Why is Dorian moving so slowly?

"It looks like they're boats on top of the water", said Rosa Knowles-Bain, 61, a resident who fled two days ago to an emergency shelter.

It may sound odd when talking about a storm that once had 185 miles per hour (298 kph) winds, but it's actually been too calm high in the atmosphere.

On Tuesday, Dorian was downgraded to a Category 3 storm but is expected to trod up the east coast from Florida to North Carolina.

Those living in the areas under a hurricane watch - north of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet and north of Ponte Vedra Beach to South Santee River in SC - may start to feel the hurricane conditions Wednesday.

Miles of debris from houses smashed apart by Hurricane Dorian stretched Tuesday across the landscape of the Bahamas' Great Abaco Island as the deadly storm left behind a paradise obliterated. It's expected to approach the Florida coast late Tuesday.

Clint Watson, a journalist based in the capital Nassau, said people in Grand Bahama were being hit with "buckets of rain" and posting videos online showing water rising to the windows of their attics.

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A local restaurant had messages scrawled across all the boarded up windows of the eatery saying: "Dorian don't come to Florida, the news said a hurricane is coming" and "We shall survive LOL". The center of Hurricane Dorian is on track to pass "well south and east".

Tropical storm winds and rain were continuing across parts of Florida on Wednesday, and Georgia and the Carolinas were bracing to get a visit from Dorian next. Hurricane force winds now extend for 60 miles from its center of circulation, while tropical storm force winds extend for 175 miles.

The heavy rainfall predicted from Florida to Virginia could cause life-threatening flash floods.

Dorian's projected track as estimated by the NHC shows most of the Florida coast just outside the cone of potential landfall.

The governors of Florida, Georgia and SC have ordered mandatory evacuations of their states' coastal areas as of noon Monday.

Evacuations are in place, including some 830,000 people in SC. Storm surge warnings and watches stretched from Florida to Virginia on Wednesday morning, with some of the highest surge expected in SC.

Orlando International Airport, one of the largest in the state, planned to cease commercial operations at 2am on Tuesday because of the storm, it said in a statement.

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