Evacuations begin in Bahamas as Category 4 Dorian bears down

FIRST ALERT: Dorian is forecast to become a Cat 4 hurricane this weekend

Hurricane Dorian upgraded to category four storm as it slowly advances towards Florida

"It's important to note that much of Florida and the southeast coast remain in the forecast 'cone of uncertainty, ' meaning landfall is still possible anywhere along the east coast of Florida and points further north", CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said Saturday morning.

The storm is forecast now to make landfall in the southeastern portion of SC near the border with Georgia.

The NHC said Dorian was packing maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour (240 kph) and was expected to hit the northwest Bahamas islands on Sunday, nearing Florida's east coast late Monday through Tuesday. As the storm spins over that warm water and with low vertical wind shear expected, Dorian will continue to strengthen over the next few days, likely into a Cat.

If that happens, Dorian would look much like Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Chinchar said. "Lives can not be replaced", Minnis told a news conference, adding that 73,000 people and 21,000 homes were at risk to storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.6 meters). On this track, the core of extremely unsafe Hurricane Dorian should be moving over Great Abaco soon, and continue near or over Grand Bahama Island later tonight and Monday.

On Tybee Island, a Georgia coastal barrier island, authorities put out sand for sandbags to protect against possible flooding in the marshy area.

Weather forecasters say Hurricane Dorian has intensified to a Category 5 storm, capable of inflicting catastrophic levels of destruction.

If Hurricane Dorian maintains its current strength as it slams into Florida or nearby states, it will be one of only 14 hurricanes in the United States to make landfall at Category 4 strength since 1924, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"That will enable us to draw down more federal resources in anticipation of this storm", the governor said.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned that Dorian is a "dangerous storm" and said any "who do not evacuate are placing themselves in extreme danger and can expect a catastrophic outcome".

"They're buying everything and anything that applies to a hurricane, flashlights, batteries, generators", said Amber Hunter, 30, assistant manager at Cape Canaveral's ACE Handiman hardware store.

State emergencies are declared by executive order of the SC governor. Now the projected path has the storm, now a category 5 hurricane, skirting the East Coast.

Raleigh has the potential to begin experiencing sustained winds of 40 miles per hour beginning Tuesday morning and into Thursday morning, though the likelihood of such winds is low.

"That could produce life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds", DeSantis said.

In Miami, Carmen Segura said she had installed hurricane shutters at her house, bought extra gas and secured water and food for at least three days.

Fears weren't as great in the capital of Nassau after the storm moved north, said Barbara Carey, owner of a tourist company.

A notice is seen posted on the Fishlips Pavilion window at Jetty Park advising patrons that the restaurant will be closed due to Hurricane Dorian. "Residents in East Coast counties should continue to monitor local reports and stay vigilant", he tweeted.

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