Dorian makes landfall in Bahamas; South Carolina issues mandatory evacuations of coast

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TAMPA (WFLA/AP) – New watches and warnings have been issued for parts of Florida as Hurricane Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas.

Hurricane Dorian officially made landfall at 12:45 p.m. ET Sunday on Elbow Cay in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm. It was one of the most intense hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin.

The eye of the storm made a second landfall at 2 p.m. on Great Abaco Island near Marsh Harbour with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph.

There were indications that the slow-moving Dorian would veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the U.S. Southeast seaboard. But authorities warned that even if its core did not make U.S. landfall, the potent storm would likely hammer the coast with powerful winds and heavy surf.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire coast of the state amid Dorian’s threat. The order, which covers about 830,000 people, goes into effect at noon Monday, when state troopers will begin reversing lanes so they all head inland on major coastal highways.

“We can’t make everybody happy,” McMaster said. “But we believe we can keep everyone alive.”

Authorities in Florida also ordered mandatory evacuations in some vulnerable coastal areas.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts the center of Dorian is to stay off shore while paralleling the South Carolina coast starting Wednesday afternoon. But a small error in the forecast could send the eye and strongest winds into the state.

As of 5 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center says the “eye of catastrophic Hurricane Dorian is crawling over the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas.”

In its latest advisory, the NHC says Dorian remains a powerful Category 5 storm with max wind speeds of 185 mph. It’s just 175 miles east of West Palm Beach and moving west at 5 mph.

The NHC has issued new watches and warnings for parts of Florida, saying in its 5 p.m. ET advisory that Dorian will move “dangerously close” to Florida’s east coast late Monday through Tuesday night.

A Hurricane Watch has now been issued from the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Flagler/Volusia County line. A Hurricane Warning has been issued from the Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County line.

VIDEOS: Category 5 Dorian batters the Bahamas

In addition, a Storm Surge Watch has been issued from the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Flagler/Volusia County line. A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County line.

WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN PLACE:

HURRICANE WARNING:

  • Northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island
  • Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line

HURRICANE WATCH:

  • Andros Island
  • North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet
  • Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line

TROPICAL STORM WARNING:

  • North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet

TROPICAL STORM WATCH:

  • North of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach
  • Lake Okeechobee

STORM SURGE WARNING:

  • Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County Line

STORM SURGE WATCH:

  • North of Deerfield Beach to Lantana
  • Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line

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