At 5 p.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Dorian is located over the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas and is 95 miles east of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. It’s also located some 175 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Here are the 5 PM EDT 09/1 Key Messages on Hurricane #Dorian. New Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches and Warnings have been issued for portions of the Florida east coast. The latest full advisory is available at https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/ucI3jokX8G
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 1, 2019
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 185 mph.
“A hurricane warning has been issued from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line” in Florida, the NHC also wrote.
A storm surge warning was also put in effect “from Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County Line” in Florida, it said.
A hurricane watch is in effect from the “Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line,” according to the bulletin.
In Florida, mandatory evacuations were in place for parts of Palm Beach County for zones A and B for 1 p.m. Sunday, the Weather Channel reported.
Meanwhile, “Martin County ordered mandatory evacuations to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday that includes homes on the Hutchinson Island and Jupiter Island, Sewall’s Point and mobile homes or homes in low-lying areas,” the broadcaster reported.
Residents living east of Indian River County have to evacuate at 8 a.m. on Monday.
Mandatory evacuations were also issued for Brevard County for people living on the barrier islands and other flood-prone areas at 8 a.m. Monday.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for St. John’s County for zones A and B at 8 a.m. Monday, according to the Weather Channel.
“Volusia County says mandatory evacuations will begin at 10 a.m. Monday for residents on the beachside, in low-lying areas, & in RVs and mobile homes throughout the County,” the Channel said.
And Nassau County ordered evacuations in Zones A, C, and F that started at 8 a.m. Monday.
Hurricane warnings are still in effect for the northwestern Bahamas.
Anxiety and Impatience
Two days after storm shutters started going up and people waited in long lines for gas and food in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, the parking lot of a Home Depot a short drive from the beach in central Florida was nearly empty as the sun peeked out behind scattered clouds.
Mike Lafferty boarded up his house near Vero Beach days ago and was at the store to pick up a few more things. The waiting can be bothersome, but it beats being caught unprepared. The National Hurricane Center has a 60% chance of the area getting hurricane force winds before early Wednesday.
“It’s not overkill. It’s necessity. You don’t know what is going to happen,” Lafferty said. “Electricity is going to go out sometime. You have to be ready for it.”
From Florida to North Carolina, residents and government officials have been preparing for possible impacts of Dorian for days, even as the official forecast has the center of the storm staying offshore.
Dorian struck the northern Bahamas on Sunday as a catastrophic Category 5 storm, its 185 mph winds ripping off roofs and tearing down power lines as hundreds hunkered in schools, churches and other shelters.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says that is tied for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.
“We may not do anything. But we have to be ready for it,” said Neil Baxley, commander of emergency services in coastal South Carolina’s Beaufort County. “We are deep in the error cone.”
The gas lines and people queued up with carts outside grocery stores weren’t seen Sunday along the southeast U.S. coast.
Instead, people were watching and waiting to see the destruction from the northern Bahamas, where Dorian made landfall on the Abaco Islands.
“I’m thanking God now that it has turned a little more to the east. But that’s a forecast. We never know,” said Kevin Browning, who was at the Vero Beach Home Depot looking for supplies after putting up his hurricane shutters Friday. “I feel for the Bahamas and I’m praying for them.”
Some evacuations have already begun in Florida, where the governor suspended tolls. Father up the coast, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster held a short news conference where he wouldn’t say when he might make a decision on evacuations and the main goal seemed to be to promise officials were on top of things.
South Carolina has ordered evacuations in each of the past three hurricane seasons and with just one storm making landfall during that time—Michael in 2016—there is storm weariness in the state.
McMaster asked residents to stay tuned.
“We don’t have a solid prediction as to where it might turn, where it might not turn when it will get here. But we assure you we have the best minds and the most experienced and talented people working around the clock,” the governor said.
In Florida, it was still the Labor Day holiday weekend, so folks headed to the beach. It wasn’t as crowded as usual at Jacksonville Beach, and members of the American Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps were warning people not to go into the water.
“It looks like business as usual, which is a little strange, but a lot of people are here from out of town they don’t want the storm to ruin their Labor Day weekend,” said volunteer lifeguard Mikey Atkins.
Gerry Heister has lived in Florida for 35 years and seen a lot of storms come through Vero Beach. “Frances, Jeanne, Matthew and whatever the heck the others were,” she said Sunday, trying to recall them all.
She said she has learned it is better to be prepared and the worst not happen then to be surprised and not ready.
“You just prepare and then once it’s gone, you get on with the rest of your life,” Heister said.
Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this article.