Hurricane Dorian strengthens to 'catastrophic' Category 5 storm with 175 miles per hour winds

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Describing "catastrophic" conditions in the Abacos Islands, it said the storm was "heading with all its fury towards Grand Bahama" where it was expected on Monday.

According to the National Hurricane Center, some fluctuations in intensity are likely, but Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days.

The storm's maximum sustained winds as of 8 p.m. are 150 miles per hour, with some higher gusts.

Local 10's Jenise Fernandez reported on the intense wind gusts as Dorian's eye neared Marsh Harbour.

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

Dorian's path shifted slightly west overnight, but not enough to change the forecast.

Dorian was the strongest hurricane on record to hit the northwestern Bahamas as a life-threatening Category 5 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.

"That could produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds", DeSantis said. It also said Florida's east-central coast may see a brief tornado sometime between Monday afternoon and Monday night.

A Hurricane Watch and a Storm Surge Watch has now been issued for the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line. The same area was put under a storm surge watch.

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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.

The official forecast path for Dorian curves the storm away from the area before it strikes land.

After churning over the Bahamas, it is expected to veer northwest and could spare Florida a direct hit.

"The best estimate of the initial motion is toward the west or 280 degrees at 8 kt". For Miami, the chance of tropical-storm force wind was raised to 58%.

An already unsafe Hurricane Dorian intensified yet again Sunday as it closed in on the northern Bahamas, threatening to batter islands with Category 5-strength winds, pounding waves and torrential rain as people hunkered down in schools, churches and other shelters.

It is forecast to still be a hurricane by that point but not a major hurricane.

Hurricane Dorian is crawling westward at just 1 miles per hour (1.6 kph) as it lashes the northern Bahamas with destructive winds. More than 600 Labor Day flights in the US had been canceled as of Sunday afternoon, many of them in Florida as Dorian barreled toward the state's coast. Still, the potent storm was expected to stay close to shore and hammer the coast with risky winds and heavy surf, while authorities cautioned that it could still make landfall.

The biggest concern will be Dorian's slow motion when it is near Florida, placing some areas of the Sunshine State at an increasing risk of a prolonged, drawn-out event of strong winds, unsafe storm surge, and heavy rainfall.

"There's fear", he said in a phone interview Sunday morning as the eyewall approached the islands.

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The advisory read: "Catastrophic Category 5 Dorian continuing to intensify as it approaches the Abaco Islands".

Residents said effects were already felt in Florida with high surfs, riptides and storm warnings up and down the Atlantic coast.

The 3 a.m. Sunday advisory warns residents on Grand Bahama to remain in their shelters as the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly pick back up once the eye moves.

Jeffrey Allen, who lives in Freeport on Grand Bahama, said he had learned after several storms that sometimes predictions of damage don't materialize, but he still takes precautions. 12 to 24 inches are expected in the northwestern Bahamas, with isolated amounts of 30 inches possible.

Millions of USA coastal dwellers from Florida to the Carolinas are keeping a wary eye on Dorian's approach.

A unsafe Hurricane Dorian is closing in on the northern Bahamas, threatening to batter the normally idyllic islands with fierce winds, pounding waves and torrential rain.

About 16,000 workers are fanning out across Florida to handle expected power outages stemming from the storm, Florida Power & Light Company president Eric Silagy said.

Meanwhile, millions of USA coastal dwellers from Florida to the Carolinas are keeping a wary eye on Dorian's approach.

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