Hurricane Dorian "won't budge" as it keeps bludgeoning Grand Bahama Island
Hurricane Dorian fast facts
- As of 5 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Dorian was a Category 3 storm battering Grand Bahama Island, the National Hurricane Center said. It had been a Category 5.
- The storm had top sustained winds of 120 mph and was stationary, though some slow movement was expected to start Tuesday morning.
- At least five people were killed on the Abaco Islands, according to Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, who called Dorian "a historic tragedy."
- Forecasters say when Dorian does decide to move it will stare right at the coasts of Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina and could cause dangerous storm surges.
Hurricane Dorian was "planted" over Grand Bahama island early Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane center said. It "won't budge," the center declared.
But it added, "A slow north-northwestward motion is expected to begin this morning."
Dorian was a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as of 5 a.m. EDT, the center said, after slamming into the Bahamas as a Category 5 -- as powerful as a hurricane can get.
It unleashed massive flooding, shredding roofs, hurling cars and forcing rescue crews to take shelter. By late Monday afternoon, the storm's top sustained winds fell to 130 mph -- down from 185 mph hours earlier -- as it crept along on its path of destruction. Storm surges in some places raised water levels more than 20 feet above normal.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Dorian took at least five lives on the Abaco Islands and called the storm "a historic tragedy," adding, "The devastation is unprecedented and extensive."
The hurricane center said Dorian would be right at or perhaps even brush the southeast U.S. coast when it does move, and evacuations were ordered for parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
CBS News weather producer David Parkinson says four-to-seven-feet of storm surge is possible all the way north through at least Charleston, South Carolina, including in Savannah, Georgia."
As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dorian's core was some 35 miles northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and about 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the center said. The storm was stationary.
The Associated Press says Dorian tied the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to come ashore in the Bahamas, equaling the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were named.
Follow live coverage of the storm below:
2 die in Florida ahead of Dorian's possible impact
A 55-year-old man died Monday evening after falling from a tree he was trying to trim in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian's arrival, according to authorities in Ocoee, Florida.
CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG-TV reports Ocoee Battalion Fire Chief Edwin Youman said the man fell after climbing about 15 feet into the tree with a chain saw and attempting to position himself to cut branches. He wasn't using a ladder, Youman said.
And a 68-year-old Indialantic man who was putting plywood on the windows of a beachside condominium in preparation for Hurricane Dorian Sunday afternoon apparently fell three stories and died, reports WKMG partner Florida Today.
He was identified by Indialantic police as David Bradley. Police said he was standing on a ladder in a screened-in balcony facing the sea when he fell. Police added that Bradley may have had a cardiac episode during the incident.
"He was putting up the plywood and lost his balance and fell through the screen," said Indialantic Police Chief Mike Connor.
Bradley fell onto the ground behind the condo, which faces the shoreline, police said.
Southeast U.S. coast eyes Dorian
The National Hurricane Center said that as of 5 a.m. EDT Tuesday, "The core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island today. 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."
" ... Although gradual weakening is forecast, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days."
The center had words of caution for Florida, saying, "Hurricane conditions are expected within the Hurricane Warning area in Florida by this evening. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area beginning Wednesday.
"In South Florida, tropical storm conditions are expected within the Tropical Storm Warning area through today, and are possible in the Tropical Storm Watch area through this morning. Along the coast of northeastern Florida and Georgia, tropical storm conditions are expected within the Tropical Storm Warning area on Wednesday.
The center added that, "Devastating hurricane conditions continue on Grand Bahama Island.
" ... A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds on Grand Bahama Island. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.
"Water levels should very slowly subside on the Abaco Islands today."
Ferocious Dorian not letting up
Hurricane Dorian flooded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with walls of water that lapped into the second floors of buildings, trapped people in attics and drowned the Grand Bahama airport under 6 feet of water Monday. At least five people died and 21 injured people were airlifted to the capital by the U.S. Coast Guard, Bahamas officials said.
"We are in the midst of a historic tragedy," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. "The devastation is unprecedented and extensive."
Winds and rain continued to pound the northwest islands late Monday night into early Tuesday, sending people fleeing the floodwaters from one shelter to another.
"This is unprecedented," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground. "We've never had a Category 5 stall for so long in the Atlantic hurricane record."
Hundreds of thousands of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were ordered to evacuate before the storm rolls up the Eastern Seaboard, bringing the possibility of life-threatening storm-surge flooding even if the storm's heart stays offshore, as forecast.
Several large airports announced closures and many flights were cancelled for Monday and Tuesday.
The U.S. Coast Guard airlifted at least 21 people injured on Abaco Island, which Dorian hit on Sunday with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 220 mph, a strength matched only by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were named. Scientists say climate change generally has been fueling more powerful and wetter storms.
Abaco and Grand Bahama, neither much more than 40 feet above sea level at their highest points, are home to some 70,000 people.
Bahamian officials said they received a "tremendous" number of calls from people in flooded homes. One radio station said it received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a woman with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. At least two designated storm shelters flooded.
-- The Associated Press
Why Dorian is stationary
Meteorologists told The Associated Press that a calmer atmosphere is to blame for Hurricane Dorian staying put in the Bahamas. There's just no flow pushing it anywhere. Think of it like a tiny paper boat or a pebble in a stagnant pond, which just doesn't move, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach explained to AP.
The upper atmosphere's winds typically move hurricanes in a particular direction, but steering currents have kept Dorian at a standstill.
"This is unprecedented. We've never had a Category 5 stall for so long in the Atlantic hurricane record," Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground, told AP.
Florida nursing homes evacuate, but some won't leave
Nearly a quarter of Florida's population is over 60; 93 nursing homes and seven hospitals have been evacuated ahead of Hurricane Dorian. But some residents don't want to leave.
That includes 96-year-old Patricia Laurencelle, who told "CBS Evening News" she prefers to stay home.
"I'm uneasy," Laurencelle said when asked if she's nervous about the impending storm.
She packed a bag just in case but will stay for now.
K.C. Kelber, 70, and his neighbor, 75 year-old Buzz Rossman, are also staying put.
"If the winds get over 120 mph, we are going to have to vacate," Kelber admitted, "Because I'm worried about the windows.
More than 8 million seniors live in Florida's east coast counties and face the menace of Dorian.
"I probably can't run anymore but I can trundle out to my car and take off," Rossman told CBS News. Kelber agrees that's not much of a plan, though.
When asked what's worrying Kelber: "Just him not being able to get out of here because he does move kind of slow and he is a little bit fragile."
How to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian
The International Red Cross believes as many as 13,000 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. Because it's hard to get in touch with people on the ground, those numbers are just estimates.
The storm, which was stationary over Grand Bahama Island late Monday afternoon, has torn roofs off of buildings, flooded streets and knocked out power.
The situation is dire.
Once the storm passes, the Bahamas will need help, as will other communities in Dorian's path. Here's are two ways to help.
City of Miami BAHAMASTRONG
The City of Miami has created 16 drop-off locations to collect donations, fire stations and some churches. The city's commissioner is hoping a near-miss so far in Miami will mean people donate what they bought in preparation for Dorian.
They're asking for water, canned goods and baby formulas. The supplies will make it to the Bahamas on Wednesday, if weather allows.
World Central Kitchen
World-renowned chef José Andrés is on the ground in the Bahamas getting ready to feed the people of there. He hopes to be able to be in the impacted areas by tonight. If kitchens are destroyed, his World Central Kitchen will build a makeshift one and cook in big paella pans.
World Central Kitchen has provided relief efforts for past storms, including in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria. Andrés and others collectively helped feed 3.6 million people.
For a list of even more organizations helping communities affected by Hurricane Dorian, visit CBSNews.com/help.
At least 5 killed in Abaco, Bahamas PM reports
Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, confirmed that at least five people have died in Abaco due to Hurricane Dorian. During a Monday press conference, Minnis called the situation "an historic tragedy."
He said he will be conducting an overflight tomorrow and then "report to the nation" on the extent of damages in Northern Bahamas.
Storm surge warning from the National Hurricane Center
NHC tweeted information from its 5 p.m. advisory saying storm surge could reach up to 7 feet in some areas if "peak surge occurs at the time of high tide."
They tweeted an image warning residents along Florida's east coast and Georgia:
Governor of Virginia declares state of emergency
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of Hurricane Dorian impacting the southeast part of the state.
"Hurricane Dorian is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may affect parts of Virginia," Northam said in a statement. "I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure that localities and communities have the appropriate level of assistance, and to coordinate the Commonwealth's response to any potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian. I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions to make sure they are prepared as well."
Northam anticipates Dorian bringing potential flooding to coastal and inland regions as well as storm surge, high winds and power outages.
Dorian grinds to a halt
According to a 5 p.m. ET advisory Monday from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian had stopped in its tracks. The Category 4 storm was stationary over Grand Bahama Island.
The NHC added to its advisories for the east coast, with a Storm Surge Warning extending north to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. A Hurricane Warning was extended to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and a Storm Surge Watch and Hurricane Watch was extended to South Santee River in South Carolina.
Massive flooding: "This is what I'm facing"
Dorian has unleashed massive flooding across Grand Bahama island. Minister of State Kwasi Thompson told ZNS Bahamas radio station that officials were getting many calls from people in distress.
A video circulated on social media purports to show the storm surge threatening the Grand Bahama home of Minister of Agriculture Michael Pintard. The narrator of the video can be heard saying that the ocean is hitting his kitchen window which is at least 20 feet above sea level.
"This is what I'm facing at the moment and I have neighbors who are in far worse position than me and my family," he says.
Dorian unrelenting over Bahamas
Parts of Grand Bahama island were being lashed incessantly with destructive hurricane-force winds overnight as the Category 5 storm slowed to less than a crawl, moving west at a mere mile-per-hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The National Hurricane Center said at 5 a.m. EDT Monday that on its current track, "The core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island through much of today and tonight. The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast tonight through Wednesday evening.
" ... Although gradual weakening is forecast, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days."
Sustained winds were down somewhat to 150 mph as of 2 p.m. EDT but gusts ranged as high as 180 mph. The storm surge was reaching 18- to 23-feet above normal tide levels, with higher destructive waves.
"This is a life-threatening situation. Residents on Grand Bahama Island should not leave their shelter when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye. Residents in the Abacos should continue to stay in their shelter until conditions subside later today," the center warned.
"These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction on the island," the center added.
Eye-popping rainfall amounts forecast
The National Hurricane Center said Dorian is expected to pour 12 to 24 inches of rain on the northwestern Bahamas through late this week, with some spots getting as much as 30 inches.
- Coastal Carolinas: 5 to 10 inches, with isolated areas getting 15 inches
- Atlantic coast from the Florida peninsula through Georgia: 3 to 6 inches, with isolated totals of 9 inches
- Southeastern Virginia: 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches
- Central Bahamas: 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches
Evacuations ordered in several states
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Sunday ordered the evacuation of his state's entire coast. The order, which covers about 830,000 people, was to take effect at noon Monday, at which point state troopers were to make all lanes on major coastal highways one-way heading inland.
Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp, ordered evacuations for that state's Atlantic coast, also starting at midday Monday.
Authorities in Florida ordered evacuations in some vulnerable coastal areas.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned his state that it could see heavy rain, winds and floods later in the week.
-- The Associated Press
Port Canaveral to close Monday
Authorities announced that Port Canaveral in Florida would be closing at 8 a.m. on Monday due to "Zulu" hurricane conditions. The distinction, issued by the Coast Guard, means that the port may experience hurricane-force winds within 12 hours.
Port Canaveral is located approximately 45 miles east of Orlando and is considered to be the world's second-busiest port for cruises that offer "multi-day embarkations," according to the port's website.
More than 600 flights canceled
According to The Associated Press, more than 600 U.S. flights have been canceled for Monday as the nation prepares for Hurricane Dorian. Nearly half of those flights concerned routes either arriving or departing from Florida airports.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport announced on Sunday that it would be closing at noon on Monday "until further notice."
Cancellations also impacted North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and other states. Approximately 336 flights were canceled for Sunday alone.
South Carolina governor orders thousands evacuated
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Sunday ordered mandatory evacuations across the state, impacting an estimated 830,000 people. The evacuations will begin at noon on Monday and include seven counties: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Horry and Jasper.
Those counties will also experience school and government building closures on Tuesday. To ensure speedy evacuations, officials are reversing the flow of traffic on major highways.
"We do not want people to be stuck on the highway," McMaster said during a Sunday press conference.
Abaco Islands report "catastrophic conditions"
"Catastrophic conditions" were reported in The Abaco Islands, according to The Associated Press, with a storm surge of up to 23 feet due to Hurricane Dorian, prompting residents to board up their homes and hotels to close. Officials commissioned boats to help ferry residents to bigger islands in the Bahamas.
Already, Dorian had damaged roofs, downed power lines and overturned vehicles in addition to unleashing floodwaters. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told AP that some areas have flooded so intensely that "you cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins."
Bahamas official calls Hurricane Dorian "situation that is hard to describe"
Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Bahamas ministry of tourism, told CBSN's Elaine Quijano that Hurricane Dorian is causing "deteriorating conditions with sea surges, buildings already losing roofs and a situation that is hard to describe." There is expected storm surge between 18 to 23 feet on the Bahamas, forecasters said and the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.
"The Bahamas have been very proud of the fact that it was deeply prepared for hurricanes," she added. "We have been experiencing them more than we have liked, but I don't think anyone expected a hurricane of this intensity."
Jibrilu said the Bahamas have experienced wind gusts of more than 200 mph.
"We will only be able to assess the impact of the storm once it has moved off and we're able to see the extent of damage to Abaco and Grand Bahama," she told CBSN. "Abaco and Grand Bahama are surrounded by keys and are stunningly beautiful -- keys are very small islands -- we really pleaded with people to evacuate especially tourists," Jibrilu said. "The government has done a stellar job in getting people off the keys, low-lying areas, close to the areas prone to flooding ... and getting them into hurricane shelters."
Florida braces for Dorian
As Dorian appeared to track northward, Floridians wondered whether to breathe a sigh of relief. But as CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reported, after days of dire warnings, hurried preparations and last-minute stockpiling, coastal residents knew better on Sunday than to completely relax.
Dorian's heavy winds and coastal flooding were still potential threats.
As Strassmann reported, even if Dorian's physical damage ends up being less than expected, its menace has already been costly: businesses lost millions when tourists fled right before Labor Day weekend, leaving empty beaches. Airport closures and cancelled flights will prolong the losses into the week ahead.
Utility crews from further north were already on their way to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas to help with any power outages.
Video taken from aboard the International Space Station on Sunday afternoon showed the daunting scale of Hurricane Dorian as it enveloped the Bahamas as a devastating Category 5 storm.
Cameras on the outside of the ISS shot the video as the station orbited over the Caribbean, showing it as a clearly defined circular mass of clouds, swirling around a large eye.
Catastrophic conditions in the Bahamas
The National Hurricane Center said Dorian became the strongest hurricane in modern records to hit the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday.
The center warned that catastrophic conditions were occurring in the Abaco Islands, in the Bahamas, as the storm moved slowly to the west.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Sunday was "the saddest day of my life."
Trump urges Southeast to "BE CAREFUL!"
After retweeting a series of advisories from the National Hurricane Center and other accounts on Sunday morning, Donald Trump sent a more personal message to residents of the Southeast: Be careful.
He said Hurricane Dorian appeared to be heading to Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, and that it could "hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever."
"BE CAREFUL!" Mr. Trump urged, adding simply, "GOD BLESS EVERYONE!"
The president has been briefed on Dorian.
DHS chief says Dorian might stay off U.S. coast
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told CBS News "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan on Sunday that the monster hurricane churning in the Caribbean could remain just off the coast of the United States, but he warned it could still cause major problems.
"Most models show it holding for over 24 hours (over the Bahamas) before it starts moving in a northerly direction and staying most likely offshore of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina," McAleenan said.
"That does not mean there's not going to be significant impacts from the storm where you expect to see hurricane force winds lashing the coastline of Florida as soon as Tuesday," he added, noting that storm surge was expected to pose a major threat and there could also be "a prolonged rain event as the storm makes its way north."
McAleenan said he was "regularly" briefing President Trump on the storm, and that he expected to do so again, along with other key cabinet members, later Sunday morning.
The acting DHS chief also defended the Trump administration's decision to divert millions in disaster relief funds to the southern border for immigration enforcement as his agency prepares to respond to the powerful storm.
In an interview Sunday on "Face the Nation," Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that the expected transfer of more than $155 million funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would have "no impact" on his department's response to the hurricane.
Palm Beach County evacuations ordered
Palm Beach County, Florida authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders on Sunday morning as Hurricane Dorian churned toward the state's east coast as a potentially devastating Category 5 storm.
In an alert sent to residents, officials said anyone living in the county's designated "Zones A or B" should leave immediately.
The two zones include people living in mobile or" sub-standard housing," and low-lying areas prone to flooding. It also includes the barrier islands, land areas north and south of the Jupiter Inlet, and other areas vulnerable to storm surge south along the Intracoastal Waterway to the Broward County line.
Orlando Airport lifts planned Monday closure
Orlando International Airport issued a statement on Saturday announcing it had lifted its plan to close Monday, September 2 and will continue normal operations.
"The airport's Emergency Operations Center will continue 24 hour a day monitoring of Hurricane Dorian and airport leaders will work with industry partners to determine if any further adjustments to airport operations plans are necessary," a statement issued by Orlando Airport noted.
What supplies do you need to prepare?
The National Weather Service is encouraging anyone in the path of the storm that it's "never too early" to start preparing a hurricane kit. CBS News has rounded up some emergency preparedness tips for people and pets, as well as a checklist of supplies to have on hand before a big storm arrives. Ahead of potentially devastating storms this hurricane season, the Red Cross recommends having several supplies including, a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, medications, a multi-purpose tool and an emergency blanket.
NOAA radar shows eye of Hurricane Dorian
The NOAA Hurricane Hunters released an image Saturday evening showing the eye of Hurricane Dorian. The National Hurricane Center reaffirmed its Category 4 status at the time.
Florida "not out of the woods," governor says
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis encouraged residents, especially those on the east coast of the state, to "remain vigilant" as Hurricane Dorian continues making its way west."We're not out of the woods yet," DeSantis said during a Saturday evening press conference.
"So our posture here is we're encouraged by the last 24 hours... but we're also preparing for the fact that that cone of uncertainty still includes a lot of areas on the east coast of Florida and even into central and northern Florida."
During a Sunday press conference, DeSantis encouraged those in evacuation zones to "heed that call."
"This storm at this magnitude could really cause massive destruction," DeSantis said. "Do not put your life in jeopardy by staying behind when you have a chance to get out."
Pets evacuated from South Carolina coast are up for adoption
Officials at a northern South Carolina humane society say hundreds of pets are up for adoption after being evacuated from facilities along the coast, CBS affiliate WSPA-TV reported. The Greenville Humane Society now has more than 200 animals up for adoption and officials said they're in need of volunteers.
"Its very hard on our staff and our staff absolutely love these animals and it can be stressful for the animals as well," said Rachel Delport, who works at the center in Greenville.
Trump meets with FEMA officials at Camp David
President Trump on Saturday met with FEMA officials at Camp David to discuss the response to Hurricane Dorian. Mr. Trump canceled a weekend visit to Poland to plan for the potentially catastrophic storm that could affect more than 20 million Americans.
Mr. Trump briefly left Camp David to visit Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday morning, according to pool reports. He returned to the presidential retreat Saturday afternoon.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president has been briefed hourly on the storm and that he "participated in several phone calls." When asked about a video posted by The Hill claiming to show Mr. Trump golfing, Grisham said, "I have no idea what that video is."
Mr. Trump on Saturday retweeted several tweets by the National Hurricane Center, FEMA and the American Red Cross providing information about the storm. He also warned in a tweet that South Carolina "could get hit MUCH harder than first thought."
Meet NOAA's first all-female hurricane hunting crew
While Hurricane Dorian makes its way toward the Florida coast, not everyone is fleeing the fierce storm. Commander Rebecca Waddington, Lieutenant Lindsey Norman and Captain Kristie Twining flew into the eye of the storm this week.
Their hurricane hunter aircraft collects data for NOAA, which helps forecasters predict where the storm is heading next. But their flight Thursday was historic. It was the first time in NOAA's history that a Hurricane Hunter's flight crew was comprised of all women.
"There are more women getting interested in flying and it's also fun to have that camaraderie because to be honest it's been a male-dominated field," Captain Kristie Twining said.
Twining hopes they will inspire a new generation of female pilots.
"To let them know this is something that is certainly a possibility for them and they don't have to feel intimidated or in anyway think that they cannot do it," Twining said.
"People think you're a little bit nuts, but when you tell him why we're going out and doing this, going out and collecting all of this really important data, then people are usually really grateful for what you're doing," Norman said.
-- Dana Jacobson reports