Hurricane Dorian fast facts
- Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2 storm, was hitting portions Florida's northeastern coast with tropical storm conditions as it began what's expected to be a slow trip north virtually parallel to the U.S. shoreline.
- The hurricane clobbered the Bahamas for 48 hours. Thousands of homes are believed to be damaged or destroyed and tens of thousands don't have drinking water.
- Efforts to reach stranded residents were being hampered by floodwaters.
- Seven people were confirmed dead on the Bahamas' Abaco Islands and officials expect the death toll to rise.
Hurricane Dorian began lashing Florida's east coast on Tuesday evening. The Category 2 storm devastated the Bahamas for nearly 48 hours, destroying thousands of homes and leaving tens of thousands of people without drinking water.
As the storm approached the U.S., more than 2 million residents in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina were warned to evacuate.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Dorian had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. Its core was some 90 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida, and it was moving north-northwest at 8 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 60 miles from Dorian's center and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles.
Follow live coverage of the storm below.
Dorian heading up U.S. coast
Hurricane Dorian may have spared the U.S. coastline its worst but the storm was still very much a force to be reckoned with early Wednesday.
Dorian's core "will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight. The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning," the National Hurricane center said.
With maximum sustained winds near 105 mph with higher gusts, the storm was a category 2 hurricane.
"Some weakening is expected during the next couple of days, and Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days," the hurricane center said.
"Tropical storm conditions were are currently affecting portions of the northeastern coast of Florida, and should begin along the Georgia coast later this morning," the center added.
The center stressed that Dorian could produce significant storm surges, heavy rain and high winds in the four states.
A hurricane warning was extended to about 180 miles of the Florida coast. The storm is also projected to approach South Carolina and Georgia as a major hurricane. In North Carolina, state officials warned that heavy rain could cause dangerous flooding beginning Wednesday evening.
"It's decimated. Apocalyptic"
Bahamians rescued victims of Hurricane Dorian with jet skis and a bulldozer as the U.S. Coast Guard, Britain's Royal Navy and a handful of aid groups tried to get food and medicine to survivors and take the most desperate people to safety.
Airports were flooded and roads impassable after the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas in recorded history parked over Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, pounding them with winds up to 185 mph (295 kph) and torrential rain before finally moving on.
The storm's punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes, crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics. "It's total devastation. It's decimated. Apocalyptic," said Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a local hurricane relief group and flew over the Bahamas' hard-hit Abaco Islands. "It's not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again."
-- The Associsated Press
Floridians pitch in to help Bahamas residents
Spared from the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, people in South Florida are donating water, food and household supplies in a relief effort spearheaded by descendants of some of Miami's earliest settlers from the Bahamas.
Floridians showed up in droves Tuesday to give cans of food, bottles of water and boxes of diapers to members of two historically black churches who were sorting them before they were to be flown to the devastated islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
"We have to channel all that anxiety into something positive," relief coordinator Jonathan Archer said. Archer is the former head of a parish in Long Island, Bahamas, and current rector of the Christ Episcopal Church in Miami's historic Coconut Grove neighborhood, some of whose first settlers hailed from the Bahamas.
Some of the volunteers were frantically trying to text cousins, uncles, aunts and nieces who braved the powerful storm in their island homes. Few had any luck Tuesday.
-- The Associated Press
Thousands without power in Central Florida
There were more than 7,000 customers without power in Florida as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the state's Division of Emergency Management.
More than 6,000 of the outages were customers of Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utlity, and more than 2,000 of those outages were in Brevard County.
For the complete list of outages across Florida from Dorian, click here.
Dorian moving off the Florida coast
The National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday that Dorian is moving north-northwestward off the Florida coast. As of midnight Wednesday, the storm was located 95 miles east off the coast of Florida.
The storm continues to lash Florida, with wind of 56 mph and a gust of 76 mph was recently reported at NOAA buoy. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and moving north-northwestward at 7 mph.
Hurricane chaser tweets "Yep, I'm alive" after days of silence
Hurricane chaser Josh Mogerman tweeted Tuesday "yep, I'm alive" after going going silent on social media since September 1, when Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas. Morgerman tweeted the storm is "by far the most intense cyclone I've witnessed in 28 years of chasing."
Morgerman tweeted that he "thought I'd play it safe by riding it out in a solid-concrete school on a hill in Marsh Harbour. Thought wrong." He described the wind as pounding "the building with the force of a thousand sledgehammers." When he went outside during the calm in the ey of the storm, he saw a school completely destroyed.
He wrote that during the calm of the eye of the storm, he relocated to a government building. "The calm eye saved lives--gave victims chance to relocate," he wrote.
In his final tweet, Morgerman wrote that "whole neighborhoods were swept by mighty surge higher than anything in memory. Areas above water had catastrophic wind damage. Many deaths reported from drowning, flying debris, & collapsing houses. Medical clinic overwhelmed. An absolute catastrophe. SEND HELP TO ABACO ISLANDS."
In his last tweet before going silent on September 1, Morgerman wrote "11:40 am. Pounding. CRASHING. Boards prying off windows. We're moving children to a safe space, wrapping them in blankets." He told The Weather Channel on Tuesday that the school he was in was largely destroyed. He told The Weather Channel he survived two shelters and living in his car before making it to Nassau.
Trump approves North Carolina emergency declaration
President Trump on Tuesday night approved North Carolina's request for federal disaster declaration, the White House said. The declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.
Mr. Trump tweeted earlier that he would be getting the emergency declaration "completed and signed" Tuesday night. "Hope they won't need it!" he added.
Anxious relatives trying to reach loved ones in the Bahamas
Around South Florida, anxious relatives told CBS Miami they are frustrated and fearful after being unable to reach loved ones in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian struck.
A Broward woman hopes a special Facebook page that she had created before the storm will help people connect with each other.
Relatives say they are horrified after seeing the images of devastation and flooding and were particularly sickened after seeing one photo of a shark swimming inside one victim's home in the Bahamas.
"I can't reach anyone," Isabela Rivers told CBS Miami as she sat inside the Bahamian Pot Restaurant. "I have not been able to reach my close friends in the Bahamas. I'm looking at the news and I see so much water and I hope God has spared their lives. I am here at this restaurant to see if I can help provide food and shelter for anyone who needs it."
Death toll rises to 7 in Bahamas
The storm left at least seven people dead on the Abaco Islands, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Tuesday. He said the death toll was expected to rise.
"I want to assure the population that we can assure more deaths to be recorded. This is just preliminary information," Minnis said in a news conference Tuesday. "Let us as a people have compassion for the families of those who lost their lives. Let us pray for them."
Search for survivors underway in Bahamas
The U.S. Coast Guard has been launching rescue trips to Abaco and surrounding islands after Dorian hit the Bahamas with 48 hours of hurricane force winds, 30 inches of rain and a storm surge of as much as 23 feet.
The Red Cross said nearly half the homes in Abaco and Grand Bahama were damaged or destroyed, and U.N. officials said 62,000 people were without drinking water.
"My grandson's dead. I'd just seen my grandson about two days ago. My grandson just tell me he loves me," Ingrid McIntosh told CBS News.
Much of the islands now resemble a wasteland. Homes torn inside out, cars destroyed, trees stripped and toppled, residential streets now rushing rivers. Major infrastructure has been rendered useless. The Grand Bahama International Airport, for example, is under water. That's just one of the challenges rescuers face in the midst of such destruction.
-- Norah O'Donnell and Nikki Battiste contributed reporting
Mandatory evacuation as tropical-storm-force winds batter Florida
Tropical storm force winds were battering parts of Florida on Tuesday evening. Thick bands of heavy rain and gusts of up to 55 mph were churning up the surf in Jensen Beach, even though Dorian was miles off shore.
There are mandatory evacuation orders in effect for Tuesday night. In Palm Beach County, nearly 3,000 people are in shelters. In Martin County, trees are down and there are already power outages related to the storm.
-- Janet Shamlian reports from Jensen Beach, Florida
More than 2,400 reports of price gouging in Florida
Florida's attorney general, Ashley Moody, has received more than 2,400 reports of price gouging. One gas station was selling 24-packs of Nestle's Pure Life water for $9, more than twice its normal retail cost, and other stations hiked prices at the pump by $1 more than advertised price.
While some may argue that rising prices merely reflect the difficulty of transporting goods during a storm, many states -- including Florida -- prohibit retailers from jacking up the cost of essentials like water and gas during a state of emergency, which Governor Ron DeSantis declared on August 28.
-- Aimee Picchi
Watches and warnings in effect
A summary of watches and warnings in effect, via the National Hurricane Center.
- Storm surge warning: Jupiter Inlet, Florida, to Surf City, North Carolina
- Storm surge watch: North of Surf City to Duck, North Carolina; Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds; Neuse and Pamlico Rivers
- Hurricane warning: Sebastian Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; North of Savannah River to Surf City, North Carolina
- Hurricane watch: North of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to Savannah River; North of Surf City, North Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border; Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds
- Tropical storm warning: Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas; North of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to Savannah River; Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet, Florida
- Tropical storm watch: The North Carolina-Virginia border to Chincoteague, Virginia; Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward
A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions were expected. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions were possible.
A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions were expected within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions were possible within 48 hours.
A storm surge warning means there was a danger of life-threatening rising water moving inland within 36 hours. A storm surge watch means there was a possibility of life-threatening rising water within 48 hours.
Intense hurricanes like Dorian cause 1,000 times more damage
With peak winds of 185 mph, Hurricane Dorian was tied for the second strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin, in terms of wind speed. Pictures from the Bahamas reveal the scale of devastation, consistent with the catastrophic damage expected in a Category 5 hurricane.
Naturally we expect that a stronger storm produces more damage. But the damage does not go up in a linear fashion as the winds increase. Instead, the growth is exponential.
At peak intensity, Hurricane Dorian's winds clocked in at 185 mph, about two and a half times faster than the 75 mph winds of a low-end Category 1 hurricane. Yet the potential damage caused by a storm like Dorian is not 2.5 times more, or even 25 times more -- it's more than 1,000 times greater. That's because the damage increases by the eighth power, according to research by Nobel Prize-winning economist William D. Nordhaus.
So, a storm with winds of 150 mph can be expected to produce not double but approximately 256 times the damage of a storm with winds of 75 mph. For a storm like Dorian, with winds of 185 mph, the damage potential -- resulting from a combination of winds, storm surge, rain and tornadoes -- increases by 1,371 times.
That would explain why the strongest of hurricanes -- Category 3, 4 and 5 storms -- produce 85% of all hurricane damage, even though they only make up one-quarter of landfalling storms.
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.
"The devastation is unprecedented and extensive"
Dorian ravaged portions of the Bahamas with torrential rainfall and wind gusts of over 200 mph. According to the Red Cross, an estimated 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the Bahamas, which is home to nearly 400,000 people.
Overwhelming storm surge swallowed entire neighborhoods. Video showed water that is waist-deep -- and much higher in some locations -- stretching for miles across the Abaco Islands.
The punishing conditions were amplified when the storm stalled directly over Grand Bahama, crawling across the island at just 1 mph. "The devastation is unprecedented and extensive," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
The life-threatening conditions strained search-and-rescue efforts as distress calls were pouring in. One woman told a local news station her 8-year-old grandson drowned in the rising water.
"My grandson's dead," Ingrid McIntosh said. "I'd just seen my grandson about two days ago. My grandson just tell me he love me."
Some people were reportedly forced to cut holes in their roofs to escape floodwaters in their homes. Extensive flooding was believed to have contaminated many wells with salt water, creating an urgent need for drinking water.
Dorian tossed boats around like toys in Bahamas
The U.S. Coast Guard released new images Tuesday of the destruction left by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. In a release, the Coast Guard said helicopter crews have been helping search-and-rescue efforts by conducting medical evaluations.
Rescues were being led by the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency and Royal Bahamian Defense Force. The Coast Guard, which is assisting the two agencies, said anyone in a life-threatening situation and in need of help should call 911 or 919.
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 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/DorianHelp.
Dorian seen from space station over Bahamas
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.
DHS chief says Dorian might stay off U.S. coast
Acting Homeland Security Secretarytold 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.
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.