Hurricane Dorian now a Category 5 storm

Hurricane Dorian now a Category 5 storm
CNN image
Satellite image of Hurricane Dorian

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued in parts of the US on Sunday as Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas with 185-mph winds.

The storm — the strongest anywhere on the planet this year — made landfall Sunday afternoon on the southern end of the Bahamas’ Elbow Cay, which runs along the east coast of Great Abaco. It was the first time a Category 5 storm has hit the Bahamas since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The storm destroyed homes and blew away roofs in the Abaco Islands, local authorities said. Videos from residents on Great Abaco showed wind bending trees and heavy rain washing out the horizon as thigh-high water flooded an apartment complex.

“We are facing a hurricane that we have never seen in The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis wrote on Twitter. “Please pray for us.”


“Everyone there should take immediate shelter and not venture into the eye,” the center said.

As the storm crept toward the United States, mandatory evacuations had already begun in parts of Florida. Georgia and South Carolina also issued mandatory evacuation orders for some communities on Sunday.

As of 11 p.m. ET, the storm was about 135 miles east of West Palm Beach, and a large stretch of Florida’s eastern coast was under hurricane warning, from Jupiter Inlet north to the Brevard County and Volusia County line. A hurricane watch was extended from Flagler and Volusia counties to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River.

Dorian is expected to move “dangerously close” to Florida’s east coast late Monday through Tuesday night, the hurricane center said.

Between 2 and 10 inches of rain are expected to soak the Atlantic Coast from the Florida peninsula through Georgia, the coast of the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia, the hurricane center said. Some areas in the coastal Carolinas could see isolated showers with up to 15 inches of rain.

The storm is expected to strike Grand Bahama, the northernmost island in the archipelago, late Sunday or early Monday, forecasters said.

Conditions are expected to grow only worse as Dorian stalls over the Bahamas, forecasters say. The storm was moving west at 6 mph late Sunday, the hurricane center said.

Up to 24 inches of rain is expected to drop on the northwestern Bahamas, with isolated showers of up to 30 inches in some areas. And up to 4 inches of rain is expected in the central Bahamas.

Rainfall in the Bahamas and the US may cause life-threatening flash floods, the hurricane center said.

Key developments

• With gusts over 220 mph, Dorian has become “the strongest hurricane in modern records for the northwestern Bahamas,” the National Hurricane Center said.

• The storm is growing, meteorologists said, with hurricane-force winds now extending 45 miles from its eye.

• The northwestern Bahamas are under a hurricane warning, except for Andros Island, which is under a hurricane watch. A hurricane warning means “preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the hurricane center said.


• In the Bahamas, life-threatening storm surges of 18 to 23 feet could crash into the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, the hurricane center said.

• The northwestern Bahamas also could get 12 to 24 inches of rain, and 30 inches in some isolate areas, the hurricane center said.

• Orlando Melbourne International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will suspend commercial flights and close terminals at 12 p.m. Monday.

• South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued mandatory evacuation orders for some communities along the coast between Beaufort County and Horry County beginning noon on Monday.

• Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp