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Hurricane Dorian still extremely powerful, slows slightly

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Dorian also is expected to cause a storm surge of up to 23 feet (7 meters) as ZNS radio station shared reports from callers saying some people were stuck on roofs and other areas.

Posted: Sep 2, 2019 11:36 AM
Updated: Sep 2, 2019 4:27 PM

McLEAN'S TOWN CAY, Bahamas (AP) - The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local):

See live video from Daytona, Miami Beach and Myrtle Beach

4 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian's ferocious winds have weakened just a bit as the storm hovers over the Bahamas and gives the islands a merciless pounding.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 4 p.m. EDT Monday that the Category 4 storm's maximum sustained winds fell to 145 mph (233 kph) - down from 155 mph (250 kph) earlier in the day.

On Sunday, Dorian blasted the Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (297 kph) and gusts up to 220 mph (354 kph), tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall.

The storm was expected to slowly move northeast, but on Monday afternoon it remained about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama island. It was about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The center said Dorian is expected to move "dangerously close" to the Florida east coast late Monday through Wednesday evening and then move north to coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday night and Thursday.

2:30 p.m.

Delta Air Lines says a flight from Atlanta to Nassau, Bahamas, was forced to turn back because of high crosswind speeds.

Delta says Flight 337, which had 42 customers on board, took off just before 10 a.m. EDT Monday because forecasts showed crosswinds within limits and Nassau's airport was open. But wind speeds increased while the flight was en route, so it returned to Atlanta.

Delta said it would offer hotel rooms for those customers and rebook them on a Tuesday flight. The airline also said that all remaining Delta flights to or from the Bahamas on Monday have been cancelled.

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2 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian remains powerful and destructive as it hovers over Grand Bahama island - but is showing signs of slight weakening.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 2 p.m. EDT Monday that the Category 4 storm's maximum sustained winds fell to 150 mph (240 kph) - down from 155 mph (250 kph) earlier in the day.

On Sunday, Dorian blasted the Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (297 kph) and gusts up to 220 mph (354 kph), tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall.

The storm continued to creep westward at 1 mph (2 kph). Its center was located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama island. It was about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The center said Dorian is expected to move "dangerously close" to the Florida east coast late Monday through Wednesday evening and then move north to coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday night and Thursday.

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12:30 p.m.

Georgia's governor is urging coastal residents to flee ahead of Hurricane Dorian, citing the storm's powerful winds and uncertain path.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters Monday in Savannah: "This is not one to play with."

It was Kemp's first news conference since late Sunday when he ordered mandatory evacuations in all six counties that make up Georgia's 100-mile (161-kilometer) coastline.

Kemp said those living on Georgia's barrier islands especially ought to flee, warning that emergency responders may not be able to reach them if causeways are underwater or blocked by debris.

Georgia officials plan to turn Interstate 16 linking Savannah and Macon into a one-way evacuation route Tuesday. The state Department of Transportation is asking motorists to consider alternate routes in anticipation of additional evacuation traffic from Florida and South Carolina.

___

12:20 p.m.

Authorities in the Bahamas are urging people to find floating devices and grab hammers to break out of their attics if necessary as Hurricane Dorian unleashed massive flooding across Grand Bahama island.

Minister of State Kwasi Thompson told ZNS Bahamas radio station Monday that officials were getting a tremendous number of calls from people in distress as the powerful Category 4 storm slowed to almost a standstill.

Police Chief Samuel Butler urged people to remain calm and said rescue crews could not help anyone at the moment because of the storm's maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 kph).

"We simply cannot get to you," he said.

Dorian also is expected to cause a storm surge of up to 23 feet (7 meters) as ZNS radio station shared reports from callers saying some people were stuck on roofs and other areas.

___

12:10 p.m.

Palm Beach International Airport is closed as Hurricane Dorian approaches the Florida coast, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is scheduled to close soon.

The Palm Beach airport closed Monday morning and the Fort Lauderdale airport announced it would do the same at noon. They are two of the three major airports serving South Florida.

Miami International Airport remained open, but warned travelers that it was expecting higher than normal traffic and to arrive early for their flights.

Dorian crawled to a near stop as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph (250 kph) winds in the Bahamas and was about 110 miles (180 kph) east of West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday at 11 a.m. EDT.

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11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump has approved emergency declarations for Georgia and South Carolina due to Hurricane Dorian.

Trump approved the declarations on Sunday. The White House announced them Monday.

The declarations authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

Trump was briefed on the hurricane during a visit to FEMA headquarters in Washington on Sunday.

The president urged everyone in Dorian's path to obey warnings and evacuation orders issued by local authorities, saying public safety "must always come first."

Trump approved an emergency declaration for Florida on Friday.

___

11 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian, while continuing to batter the Bahamas on Monday with life-threatening winds and storm surge, has weakened very slightly to a Category 4 storm.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said in an advisory at 11 a.m. EDT that Dorian's maximum sustained winds are 155 mph (250 kph), which takes the extremely dangerous storm down one notch, from Category 5.

The storm was expected to continue inflicting devastation on Grand Bahama Island throughout Monday.

The center said the storm will move "dangerously close" to the Florida East Coast late Monday through Wednesday evening.

A hurricane warning along Florida's east coast has been extended northward to the Flagler-Volusia county line. A hurricane watch has been extended northward to Altamaha Sound in Georgia.

The storm's center was located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island and about 110 miles (180 miles) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

___

10 a.m.

Weather forecasters say Hurricane Dorian's wind strength has dropped slightly Monday, though it continues to pummel the Bahamas with destructive wind and rain.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 10 a.m. EDT that the maximum sustained wind speed was most recently clocked at 160 mph (260 kph), down from 165 mph.

Still, Dorian remained an extremely dangerous, life-threateneing Category 5 storm, the center said.

The storm was crawling slowly west at 1 mph (2 kph), with its center 30 miles (50 kilometers) east-northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island and 115 miles (185 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

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8:10 a.m.

A spokesman for Bahamas Power and Light says there has been a total blackout in New Providence, the archipelago's most populous island.

Quincy Parker told ZNS Bahamas radio station on Monday morning that crews are working to restore power on the island that lies south of the path that Hurricane Dorian is expected to take.

He said the Bahamas Power and Light office in Abaco, which was hit by the Category 5 storm on Sunday, has been flattened.

"The reports out of Abaco as everyone knows," Parker said as he sighed, "were not good."

Parker said officials are anxious for the storm to pass so they can start rebuilding.

___

8:10 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is continuing its slow, devastating slog over the Bahamas.

Early Monday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the eye of the powerful Category 5 storm was virtually parked over Grand Bahama Island - crawling west at only 1 mph (2 kph) as it dumped rain and lashed the island with destructive winds.

The center said a "life-threatening storm surge" could raise water levels by as much as 23 feet (7 meters) above normal tide in parts of Grand Bahama Island.

At 8 a.m. EDT, the storm was located about 35 miles (50 kilometers) east-northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island and about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Maximum sustained winds stood at 165 mph (270 kph).

The center says Dorian's core will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island into Monday night. The hurricane will move "dangerously close" to Florida through Wednesday evening.

___

7:10 a.m.

Nearly 1,000 flights have been canceled in Florida on Labor Day as Hurricane Dorian barrels toward the U.S. East Coast.

The flight tracking site FlightAware on Monday listed 990 cancellations into or out of airports in Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach.

As of around 7 a.m. Monday, the center of the Category 5 storm was around 35 miles (56 kilometers) east-northeast of Freeport on Grand Bahama and 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. Top sustained winds remain at 165 mph (265 kph).

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says that although the official forecast does not show Dorian making landfall in Florida, the hurricane could deviate from that prediction and move very near or over the coast.

The center also said the likelihood was increasing of strong winds and dangerous storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina later this week.

___

6:10 a.m

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the eye of Hurricane Dorian is "wobbling" over the Bahamas' northernmost island.

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

As of around 6 a.m. Monday, the center of the storm was around 35 miles (56 kilometers) east-northeast of Freeport on Grand Bahama and 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Top sustained winds remain at 165 mph (265 kph) and the Category 5 storm continues to inch west at just 1 mph (1.6 kph).

Dorian is expected to continue lashing the Bahamas on Monday, before moving closer to the southeastern U.S. coast Monday night through Wednesday evening.

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5:05 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian continues to lash the northern Bahamas as it crawls westward toward the southeastern U.S. coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the Category 5 storm's top sustained winds remain at 165 mph (265 kph) Monday morning, down Sunday's high of 185 mph (297 kph). The center of the storm is around 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of Grand Bahama's largest city, Freeport, and 115 miles (185 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The newest advisory indicates that the east-central coast of Florida may experience a "brief tornado" Monday afternoon or evening.

The government of the Bahamas has discontinued the hurricane warning for New Providence and Eleuthera, and the hurricane watch for Andros island.

___

4:10 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is crawling westward at just 1 mph (1.6 kph) as it lashes the northern Bahamas with destructive winds.

According to a 4 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the Category 5 storm's top sustained winds have decreased to 165 mph (265kph).

The center of the storm remains around 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of Grand Bahama's largest city, Freeport. It's also around 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The update says Grand Bahama is "being lashes incessantly with destructive hurricane-force winds."

The hurricane is expected to continue battering Grand Bahama through Monday, before moving close to Florida's coast Monday night through Wednesday evening.

___

3:10 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian's eye is crawling over the Bahamas' northernmost island, but residents are warned not to leave their shelters.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Dorian's top sustained winds have further decreased to 170 mph (275 kph). The Category 5's movement has slowed to a 2 mph (4 kph) crawl westward.

The 3 a.m. Sunday advisory warns residents on Grand Bahama to remain in their shelters as the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly pick back up once the eye moves.

Residents of the islands where the hurricane first hit are also advised to remain in their shelters until conditions improve later Monday.

The center of the storm is around 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of Grand Bahama's largest city, Freeport. It's also around 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

___

2:10 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian has weakened slightly as it batters the northern Bahamas but the National Hurricane Center in Miami says the Category 5 storm still remains "extremely dangerous."

As of 2 a.m. Monday, the storm had top sustained winds of 175 mph (280 kph) and was moving westward at 5 mph (7 kph). The storm is currently pounding the Bahamas' northernmost island, Grand Bahama, and is centered about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the island's largest city, Freeport, and 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The hurricane is expected to continue battering Grand Bahama through Monday, before moving "dangerously close" to the Florida coast Monday night through Wednesday evening.

The hurricane center forecasts further weakening at a slow pace, but the hurricane is expected to remain "powerful" over the next few days.

___

1:25 a.m.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says catastrophic storm-surge flooding is likely occurring on the Bahamas' northernmost island, Grand Bahama.

The 1 a.m. Monday update continued to characterize the situation created by the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian as "life-threatening."

The hurricane's westward movement has slightly slowed down to 5 mph (7 kph). The center of the storm remains around 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Freeport on Grand Bahama and around 130 miles (210 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Residents of the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands are still advised to remain in their shelters. Hazards of wind gusts at 200 mph (320 kph) and storm surge 18 to 23 feet (5.5 to 7 meters) above normal tide levels are forecast to "cause extreme destruction" and continue for several hours.

12:05 a.m.

Destructive winds from Hurricane Dorian are spreading across the Bahamas' northernmost island.

The National Hurricane Center characterized the situation as "life-threatening" in a midnight Sunday statement. Residents of Grand Bahama, where the hurricane has made landfall, are encouraged not to leave their shelters when the eye of the hurricane passes over.

Residents of the Abacos, where Dorian first hit, are advised to remain in their shelters until conditions subside later Monday.

The statement warns of wind gusts at 200 mph (320 kph) and storm surge 18 to 23 feet (5.5 to 7 meters) above normal tide levels that "will cause extreme destruction."

The center of the storm is around 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Freeport on Grand Bahama and around 130 miles (210 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

___

12 a.m.

In a slow, relentless advance, a catastrophic Hurricane Dorian keeps pounding at the northern Bahamas, as one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded leaves wrecked homes, shredded roofs, tumbled cars and toppled power poles in its wake.

The storm's top sustained winds have decreased slightly to 180 mph (290 kph) while it spun along Grand Bahama island early Monday in what forecasters say will be a daylong assault. Earlier, Dorian churned over Abaco island with battering winds and surf during Sunday.

There is little information from the affected islands, though officials expect many residents to be left homeless. Most people went to shelters as the storm approached, with tourist hotels shutting down and residents boarded up their homes.

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