Dorian now a Category 2; models slow down arrival in Florida


On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas Friday and Saturday, be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and be near the Florida peninsula late Monday.

At 8 a.m. Saturday, Dorian was 640 miles southeast of Charleston, chugging west at 13 mph and packing 145 mph winds, according to the South Carolina State Climate Office. The worst impacts will occur Monday and Tuesday along the Florida coast, before Dorian makes a run for the Carolina's Wednesday and Thursday, possibly making landfall as a slightly weaker category two storm.

The Bahamas is preparing itself for the Category 4 hurricane.

A hurricane warning is in effect in the northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island, where a hurricane watch is in effect.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was harshly criticized in 2005 for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, briefed Congress on Friday on the steps they are taking to prepare for the storm.

This could spare a good part of Florida from potentially catastrophic conditions, but by no means are the coastal areas out of the woods either, and anywhere within the cone of uncertainty the possibility for this storm to do major damage.

As people in Florida try to get out of Dorian's path, North Texas groups are headed toward the storm. By Friday night it was moving at almost 10 miles per hour (16 kph), giving it time to intensify before making landfall.

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Donald Trump said evacuations in Florida are up to localities - for now - as the Sunshine State braces for Hurricane Dorian.

It's the first Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic in 2019.

"A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe", the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane-force winds still extend outward up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm's center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 kilometers). The unnamed Category 5 hurricane crashed ashore along Florida's Gulf Coast on September 2.

The director general of the Ministry of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu, told Reuters the country was "still reeling" from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which pummeled the archipelago with strong Category 4 winds. But now, officials have predicted that it might run into SC on Thursday morning or late Wednesday night. Along Florida's east coast, local governments began distributing sandbags, shoppers rushed to stock up on food, plywood and other emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores, and motorists topped off their tanks and filled gasoline cans. Martin County, just to the north, also will open six shelters Sunday. Dorian looks like it "can be an absolute monster", Trump said. The Brevard County order includes the Kennedy Space Center.

In the Bahamas, canned food and bottled water were disappearing quickly from shelves and the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes.

"Do not be foolish and try to fearless out this hurricane", Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a news conference. Officials said between 2,000 and 3,000 people living on tiny cays in the Abaco Islands should evacuate and warned that those who did not were putting their lives at risk and endangering rescue crews.