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Hurricane Dorian strengthens to 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 as Florida braces for storm

The storm has winds near 220 kilometers per hour, according to the NHC.

tropical-weather This photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a satellite view of Hurricane Dorian NOAA via AP NOAA via AP

HURRICANE DORIAN HAS strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” storm as it bore down on the Bahamas and the east coast of the US state of Florida.

Dorian is expected to make landfall in the Bahamas tomorrow and in Florida on Monday night or Tuesday.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said hurricane “has strengthened to an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane” on a five-level scale.

The storm has winds near 220 kilometers per hour, according to the NHC.

“A prolonged period of life-threatening storm surge and devastating hurricane-force winds are likely in portions of the northwestern Bahamas, where a hurricane warning is in effect,” the NHC said.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has urged residents of the Atlantic Ocean archipelago in the path of the “very powerful and potentially life-threatening hurricane” to seek safety.

tropical-weather-florida All of Florida is under a state of emergency and authorities are urging residents to stockpile a week's worth of food and supplies Wilfredo Lee Wilfredo Lee

‘Very great danger’

Minnis told a press conference that the storm was life-threatening.

Those who refuse to evacuate place themselves in very great danger … Do not put your life and those of your loved ones at unnecessary risk.

“Do not be foolish and try to brave out this hurricane,” Minnis said. “The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life.”

With the path of the storm still uncertain, coastal Florida residents were not under evacuation orders yet.

However, many have stocked up on food, water and other supplies and made preparations to flee their homes.

tropical-weather Shoppers race to their cars in the rain after shopping at Costco as they prepare for Hurricane Dorian in Davie, Florida Charles Trainor Jr Charles Trainor Jr

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a statewide declaration of emergency and urged its millions of residents to prepare for what he said could be a “major event”.

“We’re anticipating a massive amount of flooding,” DeSantis said.

We urge all Floridians to have seven days’ worth of food, medicine, and water.

“If you’re in an evacuation zone and you’re ordered to evacuate, please do so,” DeSantis said.

About 2,000 service members had been mobilised so far and another 2,000 would be today, the Florida National Guard said.

‘Absolute monster’

US President Donald Trump said Dorian was “looking like it could be an absolute monster” and canceled a trip to Poland to stay behind and focus on preparations for the storm.

“All indications are it’s going to hit very hard,” Trump said in a video.

“Some people said bigger or at least as big as Andrew,” a Category 5 storm that left 65 people dead in 1992, he said.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Donald J. Trump / Twitter Donald J. Trump / Twitter / Twitter

Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, authorising federal assistance to supplement state and local efforts.

Georgia – another southeastern state that could be in the storm’s path – has declared a state of emergency for 12 counties.

Governor Brian Kemp said the hurricane ”has the potential to produce catastrophic impacts to citizens” throughout the southeast coastal region of the US.

Trump warned that Georgia “is very much in (the hurricane’s) path also. Georgia could be very much affected”.

The US Coast Guard said ocean-going commercial vessels should make plans to leave south Florida ports.

A number of schools announced that classes would be canceled until at least Tuesday.

Orlando International Airport – the main airport for nearby Disney World – said it would halt commercial flights at 2am (6am Irish time) on Monday “out of an abundance of caution”.

NASA is also based close by and it has confirmed it will be moving a mobile rocket launcher from a launch pad into a vehicle assembly building to protect it from the storm.

Includes reporting by - © AFP 2019  

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