Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 5, makes landfall in the Bahamas

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hurricane Dorian at 1800 UTC today.
Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In an advisory issued at 11:00 a.m. local time today (1500 UTC) the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean had strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane. Dorian reached the Bahamas earlier today, making landfall in Elbow Cay. It was accompanied by a "life-threatening" 18 to 23 foot (5.5 to 7 meter) storm surge.

The NHC also warned of potential flash floods, with up to 30 inches (76 cm) of rain in northwestern parts of the Bahamas. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis urged residents to evacuate.

After passing over the Bahamas, Dorian was forecast to reach the eastern coast of the United States late on Monday or early Tuesday. The NHC issued a hurricane warning in the northwestern Bahamas and hurricane watch for Andros Island.

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Dorian, with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster following suit yesterday. Palm Beach County in Florida issued an evacuation order to some residents, effective 1 p.m. on Sunday, after the NHC placed Palm Beach County under a tropical storm warning.

A Category 5 hurricane is a form of tropical cyclone. On the Saffir–Simpson scale used by the NHC for classifying tropical cyclones, at Category 5, "catastrophic damage will occur". The wind speed cut-off for Category 5 hurricanes is 157 miles per hour (mph); the NHC advisory indicated Dorian's maximum sustained winds were near 180 mph (285 kph).

This story has updates
See Hurricane Dorian leaves trail of destruction in the Bahamas, September 5, 2019