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5PM Update on Dorian…holding it’s strength and slowing down forward movement. Turn to the north is likely later tomorrow, then moving along the southeast US coastline. NC will likely have Dorian near our coast by Thursday. pic.twitter.com/RSQTcRNn5L
— Steve Stewart (@StewartABC11) September 1, 2019
Dorian slammed into Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands at 12:40 p.m., and then made a second landfall near Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island at 2 p.m., after authorities made last-minute pleas for those in low-lying areas to evacuate.
The 5 p.m. update from NOAA said Hurricane Dorian remains an extremely dangerous and powerful hurricane and a prolonged period of catastrophic winds and storm surge will affect the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island through the night.
Dorian’s core was located about 175 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
With its maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 220 mph, Dorian tied the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to come ashore, equaling the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before the storms were named.
WATCH: Bahamas resident shows, describes conditions as Dorian pounds island nation
“Catastrophic conditions” were reported in The Abaco Islands, with a storm surge of 18-23 feet, and Dorian was expected to cross Grand Bahama later in the day “with all its fury,” the center said. The hurricane was moving to the west at 7 mph.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for Florida’s East Coast from Deerfield Beach north to the Volusia and Brevard county line. The same area was put under a storm surge watch. Lake Okeechobee was under a tropical storm watch.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned the state’s densely populated Atlantic coast: “We’re not out of the woods yet.”
He suspended tolls on the Florida Turnpike and other roads, including Alligator Alley, from Fort Lauderdale to Naples, to keep traffic flowing for evacuees.
DeSantis noted some forecast models still bring Dorian close to or even onto the Florida peninsula.
“That could produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds,” DeSantis said. “That cone of uncertainty still includes a lot of areas on the east coast of Florida and even into central and north Florida, so we are staying prepared and remaining vigilant.”
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Millions from Florida to the Carolinas are keeping a wary eye on Dorian amid indications it would veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the U.S. Southeast seaboard. But authorities warned even if its core did not make U.S. landfall and stayed offshore, the potent Category 4 storm would likely hammer U.S. coastal areas with powerful winds and heavy surf.
The cities of Brunswick, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Wilmington, North Carolina, could all see more than six inches of rain, according to the latest forecast.
TIMING AND PATH
As of now, we can expect the breeze to pick up out of the northeast Wednesday. Some of the outer rain bands of Hurricane Dorian may already be moving into the southern and eastern parts of North Carolina.
It will likely be breezy to windy across central North Carolina on Wednesday night into Thursday, with more showers and a thunderstorm likely. The steadiest and heaviest rain will be to the east and southeast of the Triangle.
The main thing to point out during this time is that the impacts will be greatest as far as heavy rain and stronger winds go, the farther east and southeast you are from Raleigh. We are still not ruling out a landfall somewhere along the North Carolina coast.
Dorian will begin to increase in forward speed to the northeast Thursday and Friday. While the impacts and track and can still vary between now and then, it is highly likely that at least coastal North Carolina will have a period of heavy rain, strong gusty winds and coastal flooding/beach erosion Wednesday night into Thursday.
PREPARE FOR THE STORM
While it is too early to know the impact Dorian will have, it is never to early to prepare with the essential supplies.
Copyright © 2019 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.