5 dead as Hurricane Dorian slams into the Bahamas
The British Royal Navy auxiliary aid ship, RFA Mounts Bay, has been deployed to offer support during Hurricane Dorian, according to the Ministry of Defense press office.
The ship is ready to assist if help is needed in the Bahamas. It is fully equipped, capable of carrying amphibious vehicle and includes a helicopter for rescue and surveying operations, a statement from the department said.
The Royal Navy deploys ships every year ahead of hurricane season across different overseas territories — including the commonwealth areas — as part of their standard protocol to provide humanitarian and disaster relief.
The ship’s current position is not known, but its last whereabouts were near the British Virgin Islands roughly two days ago, the department said.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for North and South Hutchinson Island, St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said at an afternoon news briefing.
Manufactured homes and low-laying areas are also under a mandatory evacuation. Effective tomorrow, access to the area will be limited to residents and businesses only, Mascara said.
“This storm is very unpredictable,” said Mascara, who advised residents to get to shelters. “Our concern has grown, and so should yours."
Authorities warn against anyone who tries to take advantage of homes or businesses that are vulnerable. Last night someone attempted to “burglarize a house that was vacated,” Mascara said.
“We are watching for this kind of activity,” Mascara added.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Elbow Cay in the Bahamas' Abacos Islands at 12:40 p.m. ET, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm is a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph winds.
"This is a life-threatening situation. Residents there should take immediate shelter. Do not venture into the eye if it passes over your location," the center said in an advisory.
Dorian, which is crawling over the Northern Bahamas, is forecast to travel about 120 miles in the 36 hours between Sunday and Tuesday.
That means the hurricane is averaging about 3 mph — a walking pace.
Dorian has winds of 180 mph, making it the strongest hurricane in modern records for the Northern Bahamas.
President Trump called Hurricane Dorian “one of the biggest hurricanes we’ve ever seen” as he spoke with reporters after returning from Camp David.
The President said he has been tracking the storm and doing “a lot of different things, going over the hurricane.”
"This is now a Category 5,” Trump said. “It seems to be one of the biggest hurricanes we’ve ever seen, and that’s a problem.”
"We have a lot of great people working right now. We don’t know where it’s going to hit but we have an idea," Trump added.
Trump was accompanied into the White House by Rear Admiral Peter Brown of the US Coast Guard, who warned of “substantial, destructive, life-threatening storm surge” associated with the storm.
"We’ll be learning over the next probably less than 24 hours,” Trump said.
The President will head to FEMA headquarters in Washington Sunday afternoon to receive a briefing on the hurricane. He told reporters that he’ll be holding a press conference after his meetings.
Parts of the Atlantic coast of Florida are now under a storm surge watch, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The watch runs from North of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line, the center said.
What you need to know: A storm surge watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline in the indicated locations over the next 48 hours.
Here's a look at the area on the map:
Parts of Florida are now under mandatory and voluntary evacuation as Hurricane Dorian nears the state. Here's a breakdown:
Brevard County are now calling for evacuations to begin at 8 a.m. ET Monday. The following residents should start evacuating then:
- Those in mobile homes or manufactured housing
- Those in low-lying, flood-prone areas
- Those with special medical needs such as electrical dependence
- Those who live on the barrier islands, including areas from Kennedy Space Center south to the south beaches, and Merritt Island
The mandatory evacuation was initially to begin at 8 a.m. Sunday. However, the path of the slow-moving Dorian has allowed more time for residents to prepare for a major water and wind event still threatening Brevard County beginning on Tuesday.
Palm Beach County
The eastern half of Palm Beach County is now under a tropical storm warning due to the approach of Hurricane Dorian. Due to this, mandatory evacuations are being ordered for residential structures in Zone A and Zone B in Palm Beach County, effective at 1 p.m. ET today.
- Zone A includes mobile homes, sub-standard housing and low-lying areas prone to water intrusion.
- Zone B generally includes the barrier islands, land areas north and south of the Jupiter Inlet, and other surge-vulnerable areas south along the Intracoastal Waterway to the Broward County line.
Martin County officials have announced mandatory evacuations in advance of Hurricane Dorian beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The evacuation applies to:
- Residences on the barrier islands (Hutchinson Island and Jupiter Island)
- Sewall’s Point
- Manufactured/mobile homes
- Homes in low-lying areas
Gov. Ron DeSantis' Office said these counties are under voluntary evacuation orders:
- Osceola County
- Palm Beach County
- Glades County
- Hendry County
- Indian River County
County Manager George Recktenwald and Emergency Management Director Jim Judge provided updates on Hurricane Dorian’s movement and Volusia County’s preparations during a news conference on Saturday.
Mandatory evacuations may be ordered Monday. This order will be for residents who live on the beachside and in low-lying areas and RV and mobile homes throughout Volusia County.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Remember: The official track from the center does not call for Dorian to make landfall in Florida, but it will come close enough to bring hurricane-force winds to parts of the state.
Here's a full list of the watches and warnings in place for the storm:
- A hurricane warning is in effect for Northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island
- Hurricane watches are in effect for Andros Island and North of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line in Florida
- A storm surge watch is in effect for North of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line.
- A tropical storm warning is in effect for North of Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet
- Tropical storm watches are in effect for North of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach and Lake Okeechobee in Florida.
Local resident David Flint Wood captured this video of the effect Hurricane Dorian is already having on Harbour Island in the Bahamas Sunday morning.
He told CNN’s Patrick Oppmann that he took a wind reading of 45 mph.
Take a look: