Hurricane Dorian, a massive Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, is seen on September 1, 2019 by the NOAA-20 weather satellite in this infrared view. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings as well as Storm Surge Watch are in effect from the Bahamas to the East Coast of Florida.
Hurricane Dorian became the strongest storm in modern records to hit the northwestern Bahamas and is expected to pound the islands with up to two days of torrential rain, high waves and damaging winds as parts of Florida evacuated before it took aim at the USA mainland.
With wind and rain possible without direct landfall, many Florida residents are still preparing.
Coastal areas of SC and North Carolina could feel the effects of Dorian through early Friday, according to the National Weather Service, which provided an update on the storm at 5 a.m. Sunday. He said it would be the first hurricane he had experienced. Impact from the storm has not moved farther inland past the current projected path/cone. Forecasters say ocean levels could rise up to 20 feet (6 meters) in parts of the northern Bahamas with the storm surge topped with huge waves.
The official forecast path for Dorian curves the storm away from the area before it strikes land. The NHC warned residents there to take "immediate shelter".
"The hurricane will remain in a fairly low-shear environment for the next few days, however since it is forecast to move quite slowly over the shallow waters of the northwestern-most Bahamas through Monday, this would likely result in less available oceanic heat content".
As of 5 a.m., the storm is still a Category 4 with winds of 150 miles per hour. The storm is about 225 miles (360 km) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
As much as 64 inches of rain could fall over the northern Bahamas once Dorian reaches the archipelago, according to storm models.
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The monster storm gathered strength on Friday (Aug. 30), and as of 5 a.m. EST on Saturday (Aug. 31), was packing maximum sustained winds near 140 miles per hour (220 km/h), according to the update.
"Devastating hurricane conditions" are expected in the Abacos Islands early Sunday, with conditions will spread across Grand Bahama Island later in the day, the center said.
Bahamas' Prime Minister Hubert Minnis urged residents in the path of the storm to evacuate.
CBS21 meteorologist Ed Russo reported Sunday morning that should the storm track up the coast, central Pennsylvania could get some leftover rain from the storm by the end of next week.
Dorian is expected to pass over the Abaco Islands on Sunday afternoon, and Grand Bahama later in the evening.
Middle Georgia impacts are expected to be minimal due to the eastern track of Dorian.
Around 28,000 Britons people visit the Bahamas annually and the islands have enjoyed a bumper year for tourism.