Hurricane Dorian begins moving away from Grand Bahamatext_fields
Miami: Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2 storm, is slowly moving northwest on Tuesday, leaving the northern Bahamas and taking what forecasters expect will be a track that carries the powerful storm close to the Florida coast, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
The NHC said in its 1500 GMT public advisory that Dorian had maximum sustained winds of 175 kph (110 mph).
Dorian is about 70 kilometers (40 miles) north of Freeport, Grand Bahama, and some 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of Fort Pierce, Florida, and heading northwest at 4 kph (2 mph), the Efe news reported.
"A turn toward the north is forecast by Wednesday evening, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast Thursday morning. On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will gradually move north of Grand Bahama Island through this evening," the NHC said.
Storm forecasters said "the hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late today through Wednesday evening, very near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday, and near or over the North Carolina coast late Thursday and Thursday night."
A hurricane warning has been issued for Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas.
In the US, the NHC has issued a storm surge warning from Jupiter Inlet, Florida, to the South Santee River, South Carolina, while a storm surge watch is in effect from north of the South Santee River to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
A hurricane warning has been issued from Jupiter Inlet, Florida, to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and from north of Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the South Santee River.
The NHC has issued a hurricane watch from north of Ponte Vedra Beach to Edisto Beach and from north of the South Santee River to Duck, North Carolina, as well as for Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.
A tropical storm warning has been issued from north of Deerfield Beach, Florida, to Jupiter Inlet and from north of Ponte Vedra Beach to Edisto Beach.
The NHC said a tropical storm watch wass in effect for Lake Okeechobee.
"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the NHC said.
In the Bahamas, Dorian killed at least five people and officials fear the death toll will climb as rescue teams reach areas devastated by the storm, with some officials saying the number of dead could be in the hundreds.
"We are in the midst of a historic tragedy ... the devastation is unprecedented and extensive," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
Images posted on social media by residents show the airport in Freeport, a major tourist destination, almost completely covered by water.
Houses in some areas of Grand Bahama, where Freeport is located, are covered to the roof by water, while many residents wait to be rescued.
Thousands of houses in the northern Bahamas were flooded by the storm surge from Dorian and streets look like flowing rivers.
Agriculture Minister Michael Pintard posted a video showing him trapped on the upper floor of his house, which is surrounded by water.
Pintard's house is on the Grand Lucayan Waterway in Grand Bahama and the images show water up to the windows.
The Red Cross estimates that 13,000 dwellings were destroyed by Dorian, which slammed into the archipelago and is still pounding Grand Bahama on Tuesday.
The international aid agency said Tuesday that it was initially planning to help about 20,000 people, but Red Cross officials said that just about everyone on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands would likely need some kind of assistance.
Reports in the past few hours said about 62,000 people on Grand Bahama and in the Abacos needed drinking water after flooding caused by the powerful hurricane contaminated wells with salt water.