'Catastrophic' Dorian strikes Bahamas with full fury

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It hit two of the northwestern Abaco Islands and its "fury" was "now aiming towards Grand Bahama" island, according to the US National Hurricane Center (HNC) in Miami.

The National Hurricane Center is warning of life-threatening storm surge about 15 to 20 feet above the regular tide as the hurricane is expected to pummel the area with up to 30 inches of rain. Power and water outages were reported, with crews working in some communities as authorities warned that all government workers will remain indoors once winds reach 40 miles per hour.

Port City Daily will continue to monitor the storm and provide significant updates as they are issued, for more information on the storm visit the National Hurricane Center's website.

Still, residents of Grand Bahama are advised to remain in their shelters, as unsafe winds will pick back up once the eye passes.

Hurricane Dorian is moving west at only 8 miles per hour, inching toward the Bahamas, the islands and mainland USA facing catastrophic levels of destruction as meteorologists upgraded the storm to a Cat 5.

The forecast path of the storm shows Dorian staying just offshore of Florida's East Coast and moving past Jacksonville about 60 miles offshore Wednesday afternoon as a Category 3.

Strong winds and driving rain have been pounding the Bahamas as the powerful Category 5 storm begins to move across the region.

The storm is then expected to move closer to Florida's east coast late Monday through Tuesday night, the hurricane center predicts.

"The reports out of Abaco (island) as everyone knows", company spokesman Quincy Parker told ZNS Bahamas radio station, "were not good".

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

Forecasters said Dorian was most likely to begin pulling away from the Bahamas early Tuesday and curving to the northeast parallel to the U.S. Southeast seaboard. These updates include new predictions for the storm that is slowly moving to the USA coast.

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North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEMA) said the storm was forecast to keep moving in the state's direction for the next 48 hours.

On the National Hurricane Center forecast track, a slower westward to west-northwestward motions should continue for the next day or two, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest.

But will it make landfall on any of those states?

On Saturday, small skiffs shuttled between outlying fishing communities and McLean's Town, a settlement of a few dozen homes at the eastern end of Grand Bahama island, about 150 miles from Florida's Atlantic coast. The same area was also put under a storm surge watch.

"There is an increasing risk of strong winds and risky storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina later this", says the Hurricane Center. Lake Okeechobee was under a tropical storm watch.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents along that state's densely populated Atlantic coast, "We're not out of the woods yet".

Swells from the approaching system will grow as it nears, causing potentially life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Jack Pittard, a 76-year-old American who has visited the Bahamas for 40 years, also chose to stay put on Abaco for Dorian, which he said was his first hurricane.

Meanwhile, forecasters have revised their forecast track a bit more to the west, increasing the threat to Florida. President Donald Trump already declared a state of emergency and was briefed late Saturday about the storm.

Sunday morning, the tropical storm watch from Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet was changed to a tropical storm warning, and a tropical storm watch has been issued from north of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach.