The powerful Category-5 Hurricane Dorian pounded Bahamas’ Abacos islands on Sunday and was slowly moving toward Grand Bahama Island without losing any strength before it was expected to close on Florida’s coast.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in its latest bulletin, published at 8 pm local time, that the “catastrophic” storm was advancing with wind speeds of 185 miles per hour (259 kilometers/hour) while moving at a pace of 5 mph (7 km/h).
It was currently at a distance of some 75 mi (120 km) from Freeport, a city on Grand Bahama, and 155 mi (250 km) from West Palm Beach, located on Florida’s east coast, about 70 miles (113 km) to the north of Miami.
According to the NHC, “the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands tonight and Monday.”
“The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday night,” the bulletin added.
The NHC said that while some fluctuations in intensity were likely, Dorian was expected to remain a “catastrophic hurricane” during the next few days with its classification as a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, the highest possible level.
The agency added that a life-threatening storm surge would raise water levels by as much as 18 to 23 feet (5.5-7 meters) above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island, while the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves near the coast.
The bulletin said that hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles (220 km).
The NHC’s next bulletin is scheduled to be released at 11 pm local time. EFE-EPA