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'Pure Hell': Now Cat 5 Hurricane Dorian makes landfall in Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian is now a massive Category 5 hurricane.

Posted: Sep 1, 2019 3:28 PM

(ABC News) Hurricane Dorian is now a massive Category 5 hurricane this morning with sustained winds of 185 mph as it makes landfall on Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

The eye of the storm made second landfall at 2 p.m. on the island near Marsh Harbour.

"I have never seen anything like this in my life," Jenise Fernandez, reporter with ABC affiliate WPLG, told the station during their broadcast.

ABC News correspondent Marcus Moore, who is on the ground in Marsh Harbour, describes the scene as "pure hell."

"I have seen utter devastation here in Marsh Harbour. We are surrounded by water with no way out," Moore said. "Absolution devastation, there really are no words it is pure hell here on Marsh Harbour on the Avoca Islands in the northern part of the Bahamas."

The National Hurricane Center is calling the storm a life-threatening situation with extreme destruction and the potential for wind gusts over 200 mph.

The town of Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco island has catastrophic damage, according to an ABC News team on the ground, with boats on rooftops and uprooted trees.

It is the strongest hurricane in modern record for the northwestern Bahamas. As it continues to slowly move west towards the northwestern Bahamas the outer rain bands of Dorian are expected to reach Freeport and Nassau, with more intense rain falling on Great Abaco Island. Winds are starting pick up and will continue to increase through the morning.

But with the slow motion of Dorian, the prolonged duration of hurricane and tropical storm force winds with gusts over 100 mph, storm surges of up to 20 feet and heavy rain of up to 30 inches locally in some areas will have potentially devastating impacts on the northern Bahamas.

Hurricane Dorian’s path continues with the trend that we’ve been seeing over the last day, keeping landfall away from Florida as the steering ridge of high pressure will weaken and allow for Dorian to take that turn to the north. The timing of that turn will be what determines the severity of impacts on Florida’s east coast.

While there are competing models for where the storm could hit, the east coast of Florida still should brace for potential landfall from Dorian.

On Sunday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that tolls on the state's turnpike mainline will be suspended for aid evacuations.'

Port Canaveral closed for commercial traffic on Saturday, and Port Miami closed to all vessel traffic on Sunday.

Even without a landfall, storm surge, heavy rain, and tropical storm force winds will be felt. This is why a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued along the east coast from Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet -- including Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Vero Beach. An additional tropical storm watch has also been issued from Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach.

There are a number of alerts in effect near where Hurricane Dorian could possibly make landfall.
As Dorian makes its northward turn Monday into Tuesday, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina will be on high alert. Although the official National Hurricane Center (NHC) track keeps the center of Dorian right off the coast as of now, the impacts will still be greatly felt.

We are still looking at Dorian being a Category 1 or 2 storm with winds of 90 to 100 mph just off the coast making when the storm makes its closet approach to South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday into Friday.

There is still high uncertainty in the track 3-5 days out and Dorian still has the potential to make landfall in the southeast states.

The Bahamas should expect storm surges of up to 15-20 feet, rainfall of up to 30 inches, and prolonged hurricane-force winds, large and destructive waves, and wind gusts of over 100 mph.

It is difficult to predict what to expect in the southeastern United but isolated rain of up to 15 inches could be possible with tropical storm force winds and life-threatening surf and rip currents.

What is certain from Hurricane Dorian is is that there will be a prolonged period of life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains capable of producing life-threatening flash floods on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama through Monday while the hurricane warning remains in effect for these areas.

A tropical storm warning is now in effect for a portion of the Florida east coast. Since Dorian is forecast to slow down and turn northward as it approaches the coast, life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds are still possible along portions of the Florida east coast by the middle part of this week.

There is an increasing risk of strong winds and dangerous storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina later this week. Residents in these areas should continue to monitor the progress of Dorian.

Heavy rains, capable of producing life-threatening flash floods are possible over coastal sections of the southeast and lower mid-Atlantic regions of the United States through late this week.

Mandatory evacuations in Florida
Palm Beach County: areas east of the intracoastal waterway including coastal sections of Jupiter, Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Beginning on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Volusia County: residents on the beach side, in low-lying areas and mobile homes throughout the county. Beginning on Monday at 10 a.m.

Martin County: barrier islands (including Hutchinson Island, Jupiter Island), Sewall's Point and low-lying coast areas and manufactured homes. Beginning on Sunday at 1 p.m.

St. Lucie County: barrier islands and low-lying coastal areas and manufactured homes. Beginning on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Indian River County: all areas east of U.S. Highway 1 including barrier island. Beginning on Monday at 8 a.m.

Brevard County: barrier islands (including areas from Kennedy Space Center South to the South Beaches, Merritt Island) and low-lying coastal areas and manufactured homes. Beginning on Monday at 8 a.m.

Residents should have their hurricane plan in place, know if they are in a hurricane evacuation zone, and listen to advice given by local emergency officials.

ABC News' Brittany Borer, Marcus Moore and Daniel Peck contributed to this report.

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