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Hurricane Dorian threatens disaster in the Bahamas as tropical storm watches issued for coastal Florida

Some Florida residents are waiting in long lines at gas stations as fuel is in high demand ahead of Hurricane Dorian's arrival. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

Posted: Aug 31, 2019 7:30 PM
Updated: Aug 31, 2019 7:30 PM

Hurricane Dorian is set to pummel the northern Bahamas this weekend with potentially catastrophic wind and storm surge before threatening the coastal US Southeast, from Florida to North Carolina, next week.

The National Hurricane Center issued tropical storm watches late Saturday afternoon for parts of coastal Florida as the Category 4 hurricane headed toward the United States.

With sustained winds of up to 150 mph, Dorian is expected to deliver its full wrath late Sunday and early Monday near the Abacos Islands and Grand Bahama, areas where some 73,000 people live. The storm was moving about 8 mph, the NHC said in its 5 p.m. advisory.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called for residents of those places to leave for shelters in the central Bahamas.

"If you wait until tonight, it will be too late," Minnis said Saturday. "Time is not on our side."

TRACK THE STORM

Models show the hurricane staying in the Bahamas for 24 hours or longer, lowering the storm's intensity before its makes a right turn and heads north, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said. He said it's "almost like using your blinker for 24 hours and than finally making the turn."

The tropical storm watches for the east coast of Florida stretch from Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet, the NHC said.

Dorian's forecast track has become murky for the United States. While landfall is possible along the East Coast from Florida to the Carolinas, many models project it staying just off Florida's coast Tuesday, then skirting the coasts of Georgia and North and South Carolina, with any landfall as yet uncertain.

Still, a major hurricane hovering just off a US coast could cause life-threatening damage.

"Understand: Even if it doesn't directly strike Florida ... you're looking at major flooding events," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Saturday in Tallahassee.

Key developments

• Around 5 p.m. ET Saturday, Dorian was about 170 miles east of Great Abaco, Bahama.

• The northwestern Bahamas -- including the Abacos Islands and Grand Bahama -- will start feeling tropical-storm-force winds (39 mph and higher) Saturday night or Sunday morning.

• Life-threatening storm surges of 10 to 15 feet could crash Sunday into the Abacos Islands and Grand Bahama, the National Hurricane Center said.

• The northwestern Bahamas also could get 10 to 25 inches of rain, the hurricane center said.

• Dorian is expected to move across the Bahamas slowly, creating life-threatening conditions as "rain, winds and storm surge (keep) piling up," hurricane center Director Ken Graham said Saturday.

• Dorian's forecast track has shifted east since Friday, meaning a landfall in Florida less likely, but not out of the question.

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US Southeast coast expected to get walloped, with or without landfall

For the United States, there's a lot of uncertainty in the forecast, with the storm days away from the coast.

Current models anticipate the storm approaching Florida's coast -- but possibly staying offshore -- Monday morning into Wednesday morning. Tropical-storm-force winds could arrive in southeastern Florida by Sunday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.

If it stays far enough offshore, Dorian could spare Florida its most destructive winds, but drop plenty of rain.

"If we only get waves and a little bit of wind with this, we still will get tremendous flooding, but we're not going to get the wind damage ... of 150 mph winds like we saw" with Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Myers said.

Pete Werner said he is riding out the storm at home in Orlando but is sending his mother to Walt Disney World. He said it's the "safest place" to be in hurricane in Central Florida.

"Their hotels are built to exceed Florida building codes so they're built to withstand a category 5 hurricane," he said. "It's a self contained city."

Werner said he didn't want his 88-year-old mother to be sitting in the heat if she loses power.

"I'd rather her ride it out in luxury over at the BoardWalk," he said.

Dorian's center could move along the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas on Wednesday and Thursday, hitting areas with storm surges and heavy rain.

Officials have warned for days about the hurricane's potential impact in Florida, and residents have responded by stocking up on supplies and making evacuation plans. States of emergency have been declared in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Falisha Carter was prepared for the storm but said she was relieved it doesn't appear Dorian's eye will make landfall on Florida's east coast.

"I am happy that that the storm is curving," Carter told CNN in Vero Beach.

Carter had bought hot sauce to make a buffalo chicken dip out of the canned chicken she purchased during her hurricane preparation.

She smiled thinking about how good the chicken would be now without a hurricane.

President Donald Trump said he will attend a Sunday briefing at FEMA headquarters, where they will likely make decisions about whether to evacuate parts of Florida.

Dorian looks like it "can be an absolute monster," the President said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
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Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
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Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
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Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
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Covington80922
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Newton75923
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George75113
Winston72519
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Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
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Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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