Hurricane Dorian slammed into Florida with 110mph winds after devastating the Bahamas. Americans in its path told to leave their homes and remain vigilant over the upcoming days.
The mega-storm reached 225mph as it hovered over the Caribbean, killing at least seven people and causing massive destruction of homes, crippling hospitals and forcing people to take cover in attics.
It has now moved on to the US mainland, sparking a mass evacuation with more than two million people in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina being told to flee. It began moving up the shore with its eye passing 95 miles east of Cape Canaveral in the early hours of this morning.
But even if the storm’s epicenter doesn’t make landfall, Americans were warned the storm surge would likely cause severe flooding up the east coast.
“All interests from northeast Florida to the Carolinas should remain vigilant to the possibility of experiencing destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges from this hurricane,” the hurricane center said.
Hurricane-force winds extend up to 60 miles from its center, while tropical-storm-force winds can be felt up to 175 miles from the core. The US coast from north of West Palm Beach, Florida, through Georgia, is expected to get up to nine inches of rainfall in places.
Across the southeastern US, motorways leading away from beaches in South Carolina and Georgia were turned into one-way evacuation routes. Several airports announced closings, and 823 flights within, into and out of the U.S. were so far canceled, according to FlightAware, an aviation data company.
In Florida, Walt Disney World closed its four theme parks by mid-afternoon on Tuesday amid fears for tourist safety, vowing to reopen today. Universal Orlando Resort also closed its theme parks early for the day because of the threat of the vicious storm.
Whatever the exact tract that the hurricane takes in the coming days, “life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds” are expected along with parts of Florida’s east coast and Georgia and the Carolinas, the hurricane center said.
Dorian smashed into the Bahamas on Monday as a 225mph category 5 Hurricane that parked over the area. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told reporters the latest death count of seven included two people who were injured earlier and taken to New Providence Island.
Minnis said he flew over the Abaco Islands and expects to do the same in Grand Bahama as soon as the weather clears. In Abaco, he saw groups of desperate and trapped people waving yellow sheets and shirts. He said 60 percent of homes were damaged in Marsh Harbor.