A look inside the clear eye of Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 1, 2019, from the Hurricane Hunter P-3 Aircraft. (Paul Chang/NOAA)

Don’t Take Eye Off Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, FEMA and State Officials Warn

Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas as a catastrophic Category 5 storm packing maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts exceeding 220 mph.

Reports from the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas reflected utter devastation, with flooding, demolished houses, and residents losing contact from the outside world or sharing images of the storm’s wrath as the eye passed over.

With Dorian 155 miles east of West Palm Beach, Fla., the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard county line. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for coastal areas of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Brevard counties, and St. Johns County will issue an evacuation order Monday. Voluntary evacuations have been ordered for Osceola, Glades, Hendry, Indian River, Okeechobee, and Highlands counties, according to Florida’s Division of Emergency Management.

“Hurricane Dorian is continuing to show us how unpredictable it can be,” said DEM Director Jared Moskowitz. “This morning the tracks shifted east and this afternoon they shifted once again west. It is vital that we continue to be prepared, that’s why we are continuing to work closely with our federal and local partners to stage and deploy resources to areas that may be impacted.”

The NHC said that Dorian is moving west near 5 mph and a slower westward to west-northwestward motion is forecast during the next day or two, “followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest.”

“On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands tonight and Monday. The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida
east coast late Monday through Tuesday night,” the advisory continued. “…Some fluctuations in intensity are likely, and Dorian is expected to remain a catastrophic hurricane during the next few days.”

(NOAA)

FEMA Acting Administrator Pete Gaynor reiterated that the track of Dorian is still uncertain, and southeastern coastal residents need to pay heed to forecast changes and warnings.

“This is a serious storm. You can’t take your eye off it. You have to make preparations now,” Gaynor told CNN. “This is going to be with us probably till next Friday.”

FEMA’s Deputy Administrator for Resilience Daniel Kaniewski told Fox News that Dorian is “a very large storm that’s going to have a dramatic impact on wherever it hits.”

“Even if it doesn’t come ashore, which is too early to say, the amount of wind and water that is coming along with this storm will cause incredible storm surge and other impacts,” he said. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant and prepared for any eventuality.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday, stressing that “given the strength and unpredictability of the storm, we must prepare for every possible scenario.”

“State assets are being mobilized now and Team South Carolina is working around the clock to be ready, if necessary,” McMaster said. “We encourage all South Carolinians who may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian to be vigilant and prepare now – there is no reason for delay.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper advised residents to prioritize preparedness regardless of the latest fluctuations in the storm track prediction.

“North Carolina has endured flooding from two strong hurricanes in less than three years,” said Cooper. “Now is the time to prepare for Dorian. To the people of North Carolina, particularly those still recovering in the eastern part of our state, we are working hard to prepare and we are with you.”

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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