Hurricane Dorian weakens to Category 3
Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, weakened slightly early on Tuesday as it remained stalled over Grand Bahama Island, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
NINE COUNTIES HAVE ALREADY BEEN EVACUATED IN FLORIDA
Dorian has been pounding the Bahamas for days, killing at least five people in the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas and inundating homes with floodwater ahead of its expected advance on the US coast, where more than a million people have been ordered evacuated. The hurricane weakened to a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale early on Tuesday, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 kph), down from 130 miles.
The exact toll of the devastation in the Bahamas will not be clear until the storm passes and rescue crews can get on the ground. “We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of our northern Bahamas,” Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told a news conference on Monday. “Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery.”
SOME AIRPORTS WERE CLOSED
Dorian was expected to drift to the northwest late on Tuesday and stalk the coasts of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, it said.
Nine counties in Florida have issued mandatory evacuations. They included parts of Duval County, home to Jacksonville, one of Florida’s two biggest cities, and some areas in Palm Beach County, home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
The storm was causing havoc for travelers on Florida’s east coast, where some airports and gasoline stations were closed.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations for parts of eight coastal counties effective at noon on Monday. More than 830,000 people were under evacuation orders in Charleston and other coastal communities in the state, emergency management officials announced.