Dorian strengthens to Category 5 as it nears Bahamas

Sept. 1 —

Hurricane Dorian continued tracking toward the Bahamas early Sunday, as it strengthened to a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane. President Trump warns it could be among ‘strongest’ to hit in decades.

As of early Sunday morning, Dorian was located about 35 miles east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. The powerful Category 5 hurricane had top sustained winds of 160 mph.

A portion of the Florida east coast was put under a tropical storm warning, as the storm was forecast to slow and turn north, the National Hurricane Center said. Florida residents face the possibility of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds by the middle part to the week. Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina also could see strong winds and dangerous storm surge.

“Conditions across Abaco Island, as well as Grand Bahama Island are expected to rapidly deteriorate Sunday as Dorian continues its track west,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

Since 1851 the Treasure Cay area in the Abacos Bahamas has experienced three major hurricanes, all of which were Category 3 hurricanes, according to the NWS Charleston. Dorian, currently a Category 5, would be the strongest by far to affect the area.

“Dorian is expected to slow down its forward progression today and on Labor Day, which will lead to an extended period of time where hurricane conditions could be possible across the northern Bahamas,” Buckingham said.

Due to the slow speed of Dorian, portions of Great Abaco Island and Grand Bahama Island may have to deal with hurricane conditions in excess of 24 continuous hours.

“With Dorian packing winds of 160 mph, life-threatening storm surge will also plague the northern Bahamas in the coming days. Storm surge across the northern Bahamas is expected to exceed 10 feet in some areas. This will pose a serious threat to both life and property across much of the northern Bahamas,” Buckingham said.

On top of extreme wind and life-threatening storm surge, Buckingham said Dorian is also expected to dump copious amounts of rain across the Bahamas in the coming days.

“Some locales could reach the AccuWeather Local StormMax of 24 inches before Dorian finally clears the Islands,” Buckingham said.

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