What to Know
- Dorian became a Category 4 hurricane late Friday and threatens to hit Florida as a Category 4 storm by late Monday or early Tuesday
- The latest update from the National Hurricane Center had Dorian with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph while moving west at 8 mph
- Forecasters say the coastal southeastern U.S. could see about 4 to 8 inches of rain from Dorian; isolated amounts of 12 inches are possible
Part of the Bahamas braced for a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian as much of the southeast U.S. coast watched and waited to see whether the major hurricane would strike or spare their communities.
Dorian -- a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph -- was expected to hit the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday and move closer to Florida's east coast late Monday through Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm's slow march north could spare a direct hit in the U.S. but still threatens Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas with powerful winds and rising ocean water that causes potentially deadly flooding.
A tropical storm watch was issued for the east coast of Florida from Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet. Tropical storm conditions are possible on Monday.
The hurricane shut down most major resorts in the Bahamas and forced authorities to evacuate much of the northern shore and low-lying islands.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday, mobilizing state resources to prepare for the possibility the storm could still make landfall.
In the Bahamas, any remaining tourists were sent to government shelters in schools, churches and other buildings offering protection from the storm.
Dorian showed maximum sustained winds of 150 mph as of 8 p.m. Saturday. The storm is predicted to remain an "extremely dangerous hurricane" through the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm was located about 335 miles east of West Palm Beach and about 155 miles east of Great Abaco in the Bahamas. It was moving west at 8 mph.
President Trump said the hurricane could be an "absolute monster" of a storm. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians not to let their guard down.
"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, then you're looking at really, really significant impacts," DeSantis said Saturday.
The forecast track has narrowed the "Cone of Concern," as Miami-Dade County no longer faces the threat of the center of the hurricane, NBC Miami reported. Parts of Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, remain in the possible path of a Dorian landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center
At this point, forecasters say that the northwestern Bahama islands could see 10 to 15 inches of rain, with some spots getting as much as 25 inches. Coastal sections of the southeast United States could see about 4 to 8 inches of rain from Dorian, with isolated amounts of 12 inches possible.
That much rainfall could trigger life-threatening flash floods. The storm is also expected to generate life-threatening storm surge — an increase of as much as 15 feet above normal tide in the northwestern Bahamas — and dangerous rip current conditions along the southeast coastline as the surf swells.
A hurricane warning was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island, as of Saturday afternoon, according to the NHC. A hurricane watch was in effect for Andros Island.
President Trump canceled a planned weekend trip to Poland and declared Florida is “going to be totally ready" as the state's governor declared a state of emergency. Georgia's governor also declared a state of emergency for 12 counties nearest the state's coastline, an area that includes Savannah.
Trump compared the impending Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992. Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and Walt Disney World look to be impacted by the storm.
Gov. Cuomo said he has directed 100 New York State Police troopers and 50 fire protection specialists to be on standby for deployment as needed.
"New Yorkers know firsthand the destruction that can be caused by extreme weather, and we will always step up to help our fellow states during difficult times," the governor said in a statement.
Eighty members of New Jersey's Task Force 1, which has assisted with storms in the past, have been called on by FEMA to help with the impending storm. Mayor Bill de Blasio said 25 members of the FDNY's Incident Management Team would head to Florida Sunday to help with hurricane planning and response.
"New York City is ready to do whatever it takes to help those impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” the mayor said in a statement. "We are actively monitoring the situation in Florida and the FDNY Incident Management Team will be assisting and coordinating with local first responders to ensure they have the support they need in the coming days."