Monday 16 September 2019

Dorian has become an 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane - forecasters

Hurricane Dorian approaches the coast of Florida, U.S. in this August 30, 2019 NASA handout satellite image. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
Hurricane Dorian approaches the coast of Florida, U.S. in this August 30, 2019 NASA handout satellite image. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
Shoppers race to their cars in the rain after shopping at Costco as they prepare for Hurricane Dorian, Friday, Aug. 30 (Charles Trainor, Jr./Miami Herald via AP)
Dewitt Smith, 37, and his son, Knox Smith, 5, fill a wheelbarrow with sand in preparation for Hurricane Dorian at Jaycee Park near their home on Hutchinson Island, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)
Colin Johnson carries plywood as he prepares to board a window at his father's home in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Vero Beach, Fla. Johnson's father, Larry, unexpectedly died Thursday. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)
Sailors assigned to Naval Station Mayport lay down mooring lines as the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ft. McHenry is moved in preparation for Hurricane Dorian at Naval Station Mayport, in Jacksonville Florida, U.S. in this August 29, 2019 handout photo.
Colin Johnson drills plywood as he prepares to board a window at his father's home in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Vero Beach, Fla. Johnson's father, Larry, unexpectedly died Thursday. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)
Customers line up for fuel at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
A customer fuels gas cans at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
A Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon Inlet crew member secures hurricane shutters over one of the station's entrances at Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon Inlet in preparation for Hurricane Dorian in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, U.S. in this August 29, 2019 handout photo. U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via REUTERS
A flight of Florida Air National Guard F-15 Eagles of the 159th Fighter Squadron prepare to land at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for safe haven from Hurricane Dorian in this August 30, 2019 handout photo. R.J. Oriez/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Bahamians prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Nassau, Bahamas August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Catarina Demony/File Photo
NASA employees look on as the Artemis launch tower rolls back from Pad 39B inside Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Dorian, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
Sold out gas pumps are shown at a station ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Customers fuel cars at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Mari Freitas of Coconut Creek, Florida fuels her can after waiting in line at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Vacant gas pumps are shown after a Wawa gas station sold out of fuel ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. The station was anticipating arrival of a fuel truck so they could reopen the pumps. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Local residents fill sandbags to protect their homes ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Kissimmee, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Gregg Newton
A shopper leaves stocked up, including with a new generator and power fans, at the Costco store in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, as central Florida residents prepare for a possible strike by Hurricane Dorian. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
This photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a satellite view of Hurricane Dorian taken at 10:00 p.m. EDT, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. (NOAA via AP)

Adriana Gomez Licon and Ellis Rua

Dorian has become an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane, forecasters said.

The storm's winds rose to 130mph as Dorian gained new strength while crossing warm Atlantic waters.

A shopper leaves stocked up, including with a new generator and power fans, at the Costco store in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, as central Florida residents prepare for a possible strike by Hurricane Dorian. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
A shopper leaves stocked up, including with a new generator and power fans, at the Costco store in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, as central Florida residents prepare for a possible strike by Hurricane Dorian. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

The hurricane could strike Florida with even higher winds and torrential rains late on Monday or early on Tuesday, with millions of people in the crosshairs, along with Walt Disney World and US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

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 Centre said.

Local residents fill sandbags to protect their homes ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Kissimmee, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Gregg Newton
Local residents fill sandbags to protect their homes ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Kissimmee, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Gregg Newton

"There is hope," Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said.

The faint hope came on a day in which Dorian seemed to get scarier with each forecast update, and there were fears it could prove to be the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida's east coast in nearly 30 years.

Customers fuel cars at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Customers fuel cars at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

The National Hurricane Centre's projected track from Friday showed Dorian hitting near Fort Pierce, some 70 miles north of Mar-a-Lago, then running along the coastline as it moved north.

But forecasters cautioned that the storm's track was still highly uncertain and even a small deviation could put Dorian offshore or well inland.

NASA employees look on as the Artemis launch tower rolls back from Pad 39B inside Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Dorian, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
NASA employees look on as the Artemis launch tower rolls back from Pad 39B inside Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Dorian, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Mr Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida and authorised the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster-relief efforts.

He told reporters that "Mar-a-Lago can handle itself" and is more worried about Florida.

Customers line up for fuel at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Customers line up for fuel at a Costco store ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

As of Friday evening in Florida, Dorian was centred about 575 miles east of West Palm Beach with winds of 130mph.

It was moving northwest at an ever-slower 10 mph (17 kph). Forecasters warned that its slow movement could subject the state to a prolonged and destructive pummelling from wind, storm surge and heavy rain.

Dewitt Smith, 37, and his son, Knox Smith, 5, fill a wheelbarrow with sand in preparation for Hurricane Dorian at Jaycee Park near their home on Hutchinson Island, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)
Dewitt Smith, 37, and his son, Knox Smith, 5, fill a wheelbarrow with sand in preparation for Hurricane Dorian at Jaycee Park near their home on Hutchinson Island, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)

Coastal areas could get 15 to 30 centimetres of rain, with 46 centimetres in some places, triggering life-threatening flash floods, the hurricane centre said.

FEMA official Jeff Byard said Dorian is likely to "create a lot of havoc" for roads, power and other infrastructure.

Colin Johnson carries plywood as he prepares to board a window at his father's home in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Vero Beach, Fla. Johnson's father, Larry, unexpectedly died Thursday. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)
Colin Johnson carries plywood as he prepares to board a window at his father's home in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Vero Beach, Fla. Johnson's father, Larry, unexpectedly died Thursday. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)

The Bahamas were also in danger, where canned food and bottled water were disappearing quickly and the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes.

Dorian was expected to hit by Sunday with the potential for life-threatening storm surge that could raise water levels more than four metres 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."

In Florida, the governor urged nursing homes to take precautions to prevent tragedies like the one during Hurricane Irma two years ago, when the storm knocked out the air conditioning at a facility in Hollywood and 12 patients died in the sweltering heat.

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