Over 800,000 Ordered to Evacuate in South Carolina As Hurricane Dorian Barrels Towards the U.S.
Hurricane Dorian was spinning less than 100 miles off the coast of Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as it remained a high-end Category 2 storm with peak sustained winds of 105 mph.
The danger comes just days after Hurricane Dorian caused utter devastation in the Bahamas, hitting the area as a category 5 hurricane on Sunday, the strongest storm on record to occur in the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida.
Tropical storm warnings remained in effect Wednesday for several counties in Florida, including Brevard, Orange, and Seminole counties, the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Fla., tweeted.
“Remain cautious of strong wind gusts and brief bursts of heavy rain in passing squalls today. Conditions at beaches are hazardous from #Dorian,” the agency tweeted. “The surf remains high and rough, along with a threat of coastal flooding & beach erosion. Stay away from these dangers.”
While residents in Florida are already starting to feel the effects of Dorian as the storm’s outer rain bands are pivoting inland and causing heavy rain and strong winds, The Washington Post reported, those in more northern states are preparing as they wait and see how close it will track.
While the winds are not as strong as they were over the weekend, Dorian’s wind field has actually grown larger with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 175 miles from the eye, according to The Weather Channel.
According to The Post, most computer models are forecasting the center of the hurricane to reach very close to the coast of South Carolina and come ashore in North Carolina, especially over the Outer Banks. Computer models predict that Georgia will largely be spared as the storm is predicted to remain far enough off the coast to keep it at tropical-storm force winds.
According to CNN, the Carolina coast could see up to 15 inches of rain from Dorian and was at a high risk for flash flooding on Thursday.
Mandatory evacuations have been put in place for residents along the Atlantic coast, with South Carolina ordering the evacuation of over 800,000 people alone, according to The Weather Channel.
Locations as far north as Virginia Beach could even experience heavy rains and tropical-storm force winds by Friday or Saturday, according to the Post.
In addition, Dorian has caused thousands of flights to be canceled, including at least 850 on Wednesday in addition to the more than 3,000 earlier in the week, USA Today reported.
The storm has already wreaked havoc as it made landfall on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas with sustained winds of 185 mph, a wind speed that hasn’t been seen since a Labor Day storm in 1935 in the Florida Keys. Dorian has decimated homes and caused at least seven deaths, including an 8-year-old boy, with the death toll expected to rise.