Category 4 Dorian bears down on Bahamas, may skirt Florida

Hurricane Dorian bore down on the northwestern Bahamas as a fierce Category 4 storm Saturday, as new projections curved upward enough to potentially spare Florida a direct hit.

News 12 Staff

Aug 29, 2019, 12:07 PM

Updated 1,725 days ago

Share:

MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane Dorian bore down on the northwestern Bahamas as a fierce Category 4 storm Saturday, as new projections curved upward enough to potentially spare Florida a direct hit while still threatening it with powerful winds and storm surge.

Forecasters on Saturday said the ever-strengthening Dorian is expected to dance up the Southeast coastline, staying just off shore of Florida and skirting the coast of Georgia, with the possibility of landfall still a threat on Wednesday, and then continuing up to South Carolina early Thursday.
Though Dorian is growing in intensity, some of the more reliable computer models predicted a late turn northward that would have Dorian hug the coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

MORE INFORMATION: National Hurricane Center
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the risk of "strong winds and life-threatening storm surge" will increase along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts by the middle of next week.

The center also stressed that doesn't mean Dorian packing 145 mph (230 kph) winds won't hit Florida, with large portions of the state in its cone of uncertainty forecast. Still, after days of a forecast that put the Sunshine State and President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in the center of expected landfalls, the changes are significant.

"It's going to be pretty scary because you're going to have this gigantic hurricane sitting off the coast of Florida and it's not going to move," said private meteorologist Ryan Maue, but with the storm slowing and likely to turn north he adds: "The worst effects of a direct landfall are not in the forecast."

"At this point the track the hurricane center is issuing is not the catastrophe that could happen, which is good," Maue said Saturday.

But it's not good news for the Bahamas, where some of the most reliable computer models have the storm stalling and dumping as much as 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain. He said expect two to four feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters) of rain there.

Millions of people in Florida have been in the changing potential path of the hurricane. Forecasters say Dorian, which had top sustained winds of 145 mph Saturday morning, will hover along Florida's east coast Tuesday and Wednesday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians not to let their guard down.
Tropical Satellite/Radar
Current Storms:
Tropical Tracker:

 
"Looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact. If it bumps further east, that obviously is positive. If it bumps just a little west, than you're looking at really, really significant impacts," DeSantis said at a briefing Saturday morning.

He added that even if Dorian doesn't make landfall in Florida, the state could still be affected by "really significant storm surge" as it heads north along the East Coast.

Trump has declared a state of emergency in Florida and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts. He told reporters that "Mar-a-Lago can handle itself" and that he is more worried about Florida.

As Dorian closed in, Labor Day weekend plans were upended. Major airlines began allowing travelers to change their reservations without fees. The big cruise lines began rerouting their ships. Disney World and Orlando's other resorts found themselves in the storm's projected path.

Still, with Dorian days away and its track uncertain, Disney and other major resorts held off announcing any closings, and Florida authorities ordered no immediate mass evacuations.

But some counties announced mandatory evacuations ahead of time on Friday. Brevard County and Martin County officials said residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas would be under a mandatory evacuation order beginning Sunday morning - though they could change. The Brevard County order includes the Kennedy Space Center.

Homeowners and businesses rushed to cover their windows with plywood. Supermarkets ran out of bottled water, and long lines formed at gas stations, with some fuel shortages reported.

At a Publix supermarket in Cocoa Beach, Ed Ciecirski of the customer service department said the pharmacy was extra busy with people rushing to fill prescriptions. The grocery was rationing bottled water and had run out of dry ice.

"It's hairy," he said.

Early Saturday, Dorian was centered 445 miles (715 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach. It was moving northwest at 12 mph (17 kph). Forecasters warned that its slow movement means Florida could face a prolonged wallop of wind, storm surge and torrential rain.

Coastal areas of the southeastern United States could get 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain, with 18 inches (46 centimeters) in some places, triggering life-threatening flash floods, the hurricane center said.

Also imperiled were the Bahamas, where canned food and bottled water were disappearing quickly from shelves and the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes. Dorian was expected to hit the northwestern part of the Bahamas by Sunday with the potential for life-threatening storm surge that could raise water levels 15 feet (5 meters) above normal.

"Do not be foolish and try to brave out this hurricane," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. "The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life."

___

Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein and Michael Balsamo in Washington; Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida; Freida Frisaro and Marcus Lim in Miami; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida; and Bobby Caina Calvan in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.
 
undefined
 


More from News 12
1:46
Pizza Strong: Massive fundraiser supports family of slain NYPD Detective Jonathan Diller

Pizza Strong: Massive fundraiser supports family of slain NYPD Detective Jonathan Diller

1:52
Pleasant Monday kicks off workweek warm up on Long Island

Pleasant Monday kicks off workweek warm up on Long Island

1:55
Northwell Health Walk at Jones Beach raises money to support women and children

Northwell Health Walk at Jones Beach raises money to support women and children

0:29
State police: Crash closes section of Southern State Parkway in West Babylon

State police: Crash closes section of Southern State Parkway in West Babylon

0:15
Superintendent: Swastika found on classroom desk at Harborfields High School

Superintendent: Swastika found on classroom desk at Harborfields High School

Guide: School Vote 2024 budgets and tax informaton

Guide: School Vote 2024 budgets and tax informaton

0:39
Police: Man injured in Wyandanch shooting; suspect at large

Police: Man injured in Wyandanch shooting; suspect at large

1:59
Greenlawn teen arrested, accused of making ‘threat of mass harm’ at Oldfield Middle School

Greenlawn teen arrested, accused of making ‘threat of mass harm’ at Oldfield Middle School

1:45
 Missed swim lessons due to COVID-19 may be contributing to rise in child drownings

Missed swim lessons due to COVID-19 may be contributing to rise in child drownings

0:51
Vet Fest in Farmingdale aims to support, encourage veterans who need help

Vet Fest in Farmingdale aims to support, encourage veterans who need help

0:17
Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

0:32
Police: 3 people arrested during State Liquor Authority compliance check at Huntington Station deli

Police: 3 people arrested during State Liquor Authority compliance check at Huntington Station deli

2:28
How did a Nassau County doctor overprescribe highly addictive pain pills, despite strict laws in place?

How did a Nassau County doctor overprescribe highly addictive pain pills, despite strict laws in place?

1:43
CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

1:46
Hit-and-run on South Oyster Bay Rd. in Plainview leaves woman with concussion, 6 staples in head

Hit-and-run on South Oyster Bay Rd. in Plainview leaves woman with concussion, 6 staples in head

0:26
Principal: Student approached by van full of men in ski masks in Selden

Principal: Student approached by van full of men in ski masks in Selden

1:39
Montauk Music Festival rocks the East End

Montauk Music Festival rocks the East End

2:06
Homeowners asked to check home security video after string of Nassau County break-ins

Homeowners asked to check home security video after string of Nassau County break-ins

0:24
Police: Hempstead man exposed, touched himself inappropriately at Roosevelt Field Mall

Police: Hempstead man exposed, touched himself inappropriately at Roosevelt Field Mall

1:53
Toys for Tots make contribution to Promise of Hope Foundation to honor fallen Detective Jonathan Diller

Toys for Tots make contribution to Promise of Hope Foundation to honor fallen Detective Jonathan Diller