Hurricane Dorian fast facts:
- As of 8 a.m. ET Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said Dorian had grown to a Category 5 storm, set to hit the Bahamas later in the day.
- Forecasts say Dorian may spare Florida a direct hit, but will move close to the state’s east coast late Monday.
- Dorian is expected to make landfall on the South Carolina coast Wednesday or Thursday.
- States of emergency were in effect for all of Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, along with 12 counties in Georgia.
- Mandatory evacuations are underway as the storm bears down on the Bahamas.
Hurricane Dorian had strengthened into a powerful Category 5 storm as it bore down on the Bahamas Sunday morning with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. More than 20 million Americans could feel the storm’s impact within a few days.
Preparations are under way to prepare for the massive storm. The hurricane is expected to slam into parts of the northwestern Bahamas by Sunday. Storm surges there could raise water levels 15-feet above normal.
As of 8 a.m. ET Sunday, Dorian’s center was just 35 miles east of Great Abaco in the Bahamas and about 225 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving west at about 8 mph.
Follow live coverage of the storm below.
Orlando Airport lifts planned Monday closure
Orlando International Airport issued a statement on Saturday announcing it had lifted its plan to close on Monday, September 2 and will continue normal operations.
“The airport’s Emergency Operations Center will continue 24 hour a day monitoring of Hurricane Dorian and airport leaders will work with industry partners to determine if any further adjustments to airport operations plans are necessary,” a statement issued by Orlando Airport noted.
What supplies do you need to prepare?
The National Weather Service is encouraging anyone in the path of the storm that it’s “never too early” to start preparing a hurricane kit. CBS News has rounded up some emergency preparedness tips for people and pets, as well as a checklist of supplies to have on hand before a big storm arrives. Ahead of potentially devastating storms this hurricane season, the Red Cross recommends having several supplies including, a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, medications, a multi-purpose tool and an emergency blanket.
NOAA radar shows eye of Hurricane Dorian
The NOAA Hurricane Hunters released an image showing the eye of Hurricane Dorian. The National Hurricane Center reaffirmed its Category 4 status as of 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
Florida “not out of the woods,” DeSantis said
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis encouraged residents, especially those on the east coast of the state, to “remain vigilant” as Hurricane Dorian continues making its way west.”We’re not out of the woods yet,” DeSantis said during a Saturday evening press conference.
“So our posture here is we’re encouraged by the last 24 hours… but we’re also preparing for the fact that that cone of uncertainty still includes a lot of areas on the east coast of Florida and even into central and northern Florida.”
DeSantis said he will provide an additional update on Sunday.
Pets evacuated from South Carolina coast are up for adoption
Officials at a northern South Carolina humane society say hundreds of pets are up for adoption after being evacuated from facilities along the coast, CBS affiliate WSPA reported. The Greenville Humane Society now has more than 200 animals up for adoption and officials said they’re in need of volunteers.
“Its very hard on our staff and our staff absolutely love these animals and it can be stressful for the animals as well,” said Rachel Delport, who works at the center in Greenville.
Trump meets with FEMA officials at Camp David
President Trump on Saturday met with FEMA officials at Camp David to discuss the response to Hurricane Dorian. Mr. Trump canceled a weekend visit to Poland to plan for the potentially catastrophic storm that could affect more than 20 million Americans.
Mr. Trump briefly left Camp David to visit Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday morning, according to pool reports. He returned to the presidential retreat Saturday afternoon.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president has been briefed hourly on the storm and that he “participated in several phone calls.” When asked about a video posted by The Hill claiming to show Mr. Trump golfing, Grisham said, “I have no idea what that video is.”
Mr. Trump on Saturday retweeted several tweets by the National Hurricane Center, FEMA and the American Red Cross providing information about the storm. He also warned in a tweet that South Carolina “could get hit MUCH harder than first thought.”
Meet NOAA’s first all-female hurricane hunting crew
While Hurricane Dorian makes its way toward the Florida coast, not everyone is fleeing the fierce storm. Commander Rebecca Waddington, Lieutenant Lindsey Norman and Captain Kristie Twining flew into the eye of the storm this week.
Their hurricane hunter aircraft collects data for NOAA, which helps forecasters predict where the storm is heading next. But their flight Thursday was historic. It was the first time in NOAA’s history that a Hurricane Hunter’s flight crew was comprised of all women.
“There are more women getting interested in flying and it’s also fun to have that camaraderie because to be honest it’s been a male-dominated field,” Captain Kristie Twining said.
Twining hopes they will inspire a new generation of female pilots.
“To let them know this is something that is certainly a possibility for them and they don’t have to feel intimidated or in anyway think that they cannot do it,” Twining said.
“People think you’re a little bit nuts, but when you tell him why we’re going out and doing this, going out and collecting all of this really important data, then people are usually really grateful for what you’re doing,” Norman said.
— Dana Jacobson reports