Hurricane Dorian packed staggering 220-mph wind gusts as it closed in on the Bahamas Sunday, prompting President Trump to tweet that the churning monster “is looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever” as it moved within 205 miles of Florida.
Only four storms in the Atlantic have ever had higher sustained wind speeds, and none since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, AccuWeather reported, while the National Hurricane Center called Dorian “the strongest hurricane in modern records for the northwest Bahamas.”
The storm slowed its march over the ocean to just 7 mph as it approached the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas, and could remain over the archipelago for 30 hours as it brings up to 30 inches of rain and storm surges of up to 23 feet, the hurricane center said.
“It’s going to be very bad for the Bahamas,” said hurricane center director Ken Graham, calling Dorian a “very treacherous, very dangerous, life-threatening situation” for the islands.
Forecasters said Dorian could veer north before slamming the Florida coast, but state officials were taking no chances — the Sunshine State remained under a state of emergency Sunday as Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a mandatory evacuation order for the coasts of Palm Beach and Martin counties.
“If you live in these areas, heed the warning and listen to your local officials,” DeSantis tweeted. “This is a dangerous hurricane. Your safety is paramount.”
In a tweet on Sunday, Trump warned the nation’s east coast to brace for the storm.
Dorian is heading west through the warm Caribbean waters and is expected to lash Florida with destructive winds, torrential rain and a life-threatening storm surge in the coming days.
The hurricane center has also issued a warning for Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to remain alert as Dorian is expected to bring heavy rain and the possibility of flash floods.
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