A view of Hurricane Dorian from a Hurricane Hunter P-3 aircraft early Saturday. (Paul Chang/National Hurricane Center via AP)

A view of Hurricane Dorian from a Hurricane Hunter P-3 aircraft early Saturday. (Paul Chang/National Hurricane Center via AP)

Hurricane Dorian stalls over the Bahamas, could lash Florida

It was downgraded to a Category 4 storm and was moving at only 1 mph.

  • By Joey Flechas, Sarah Blaskey and David Ovalle Miami Herald (TNS)
  • Monday, September 2, 2019 8:54am
  • Nation-World

By Joey Flechas, Sarah Blaskey and David Ovalle / Miami Herald

MIAMI — Hurricane Dorian weakened into a Category 4 on Monday, but remained a ferocious major hurricane pounding the Bahamas with winds of 155 miles per hour and leaving Floridians nervously awaiting its expected turn northward — away from the state’s coast.

The killer system, already blamed for at least one death in the Bahamas, was centered late Monday morning about 110 milers off the coast of West Palm Beach. It was drifting westward at only 1 mile per hour, although it had ticked northward a bit as of the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center

“The hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late tonight through Wednesday evening,” the National Hurricane Center said in its advisory.

Computer models continued to show the storm turning north before making landfall in Florida, but the proximity to the coast was still concerning. And while the storm might weaken a bit, the scope of its winds may affect a larger swath, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“It is still possible for the hurricane to deviate from this forecast, and move very near or over the coast,” the hurricane center wrote. “Users are reminded not to focus on the exact forecast track. In addition, Dorian’s wind field is predicted to expand, which would bring hurricane-force winds closer to the east coast of Florida even if the track does change.”

Much of Florida’s coast remained under a hurricane or tropical storm watch. Some tropical-storm force are expected to hit Broward County by Monday night. There are no watches or warnings in Miami-Dade.

Instead of Labor Day barbecues, residents across Florida hunkered down in their shuttered homes, already stocked up on gas, water and snacks, glued to television news stations.

Tolls were suspended. Palm Beach International Airport closed on Monday, and flights were due to be suspended at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at noon.

At Sexton Plaza, a popular beach-side hub in Vero Beach, gawkers took selfies in front of the increasingly choppy surf. A blustery wind blew salt and sand as a police officer, Jennifer Brumley, urged them to evacuate east of U.S. Highway 1.

“People have been talking about this turn, but it hasn’t turned yet,” Brumley said. “It’s still heading west. It could turn. We want it to turn, but what if it doesn’t?”

Gusts of tropical-storm force winds were starting. One gust of 47 miles per hour was reported at the Juno Beach Pier, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s going north,” said Ann Huff, a 30-year Juno Beach resident who huddled under a sea grape tree near the beach with her husband and French Bulldog as a rain squall passed through. “When I was pregnant, I knew I was going to have a boy. I have the same feeling here. It’s going north.”

Authorities weren’t taking any chances.

Residents of 72 nursing homes or assisted living facilities along Florida’s coast have been evacuated, and some hospitals from New Smyrna Beach to Port St. Lucie have begun evacuating patients.

Gov. Rick DeSantis, at a morning press conference, implored healthcare facility administrators to update the state on how their generators are working and their evacuation status. “If you have a generator, and something’s wrong with the generator,you need to tell us that,” he said.

Over in the Bahamas, the scope of the historic hurricane’s wrath was clear.

Residents in the capital of Nassau were trying to escape rising water in the midst of an island-wide blackout.

On Abaco, at least one child, a 7-year-old boy, was reported drowned, with his sister missing, according to Bahamian press reports. Donald Rolle, the administrator for South Abaco, described the scene on North Abaco as “sheer devastation. “Pray for us,” he pleaded.

After pounding the Abacos and leaving a trail of snapped trees, flipped-over cars and missing rooftops in the northern Bahamas, Dorian moved over to low-lying Grand Bahama, where it stalled for hours. The Bahamian press reported that the airport at Grand Bahama Island was under five feet of water.

Islanders reported tidal surges of up to 23 feet. Wind gusts were clocking in at up to a staggering 200 milers per hour. “These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction on the island,” the National Hurricane Center said in a 10 a.m. advisory.

Miami Herald staff writers Jacqueline Charles and Martin Vassolo contributed to this report.

Talk to us

More in Nation-World

FILE - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks on during a visit to officially open the new building at Thames Hospice, Maidenhead, England July 15, 2022. Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II is under medical supervision as doctors are “concerned for Her Majesty’s health.” The announcement comes a day after the 96-year-old monarch canceled a meeting of her Privy Council and was told to rest. (Kirsty O'Connor/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Queen Elizabeth II dead at 96 after 70 years on the throne

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century died Thursday.

A woman reacts as she prepares to leave an area for relatives of the passengers aboard China Eastern's flight MU5735 at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Guangzhou. No survivors have been found as rescuers on Tuesday searched the scattered wreckage of a China Eastern plane carrying 132 people that crashed a day earlier on a wooded mountainside in China's worst air disaster in more than a decade. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
No survivors found in crash of Boeing 737 in China

What caused the plane to drop out of the sky shortly before it was to being its descent remained a mystery.

In this photo taken by mobile phone released by Xinhua News Agency, a piece of wreckage of the China Eastern's flight MU5735 are seen after it crashed on the mountain in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday, March 21, 2022. A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed in a remote mountainous area of southern China on Monday, officials said, setting off a forest fire visible from space in the country's worst air disaster in nearly a decade. (Xinhua via AP)
Boeing 737 crashes in southern China with 132 aboard

More than 15 hours after communication was lost with the plane, there was still no word of survivors.

In this photo taken from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the nation in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Street fighting broke out in Ukraine's second-largest city Sunday and Russian troops put increasing pressure on strategic ports in the country's south following a wave of attacks on airfields and fuel facilities elsewhere that appeared to mark a new phase of Russia's invasion. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Ukraine wants EU membership, but accession often takes years

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request has enthusiastic support from several member states.

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft,  in in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. The International Criminal Court's prosecutor has put combatants and their commanders on notice that he is monitoring Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. But, at the same time, Prosecutor Karim Khan acknowledges that he cannot investigate the crime of aggression. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak, File)
ICC prosecutor to open probe into war crimes in Ukraine

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet confirmed that 102 civilians have been killed.

FILE - Refugees fleeing conflict from neighboring Ukraine arrive to Zahony, Hungary, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians seek refuge in neighboring countries, cradling children in one arm and clutching belongings in the other, leaders in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania are offering a hearty welcome. (AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi, File)
Europe welcomes Ukrainian refugees — others, less so

It is a stark difference from treatment given to migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

Afghan evacuees disembark the plane and board a bus after landing at Skopje International Airport, North Macedonia, on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. North Macedonia has hosted another group of 44 Afghan evacuees on Wednesday where they will be sheltered temporarily till their transfer to final destinations. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
‘They are safe here.’ Snohomish County welcomes hundreds of Afghans

The county’s welcoming center has been a hub of services and assistance for migrants fleeing Afghanistan since October.

FILE - In this April 15, 2019, file photo, a vendor makes change for a marijuana customer at a cannabis marketplace in Los Angeles. An unwelcome trend is emerging in California, as the nation's most populous state enters its fifth year of broad legal marijuana sales. Industry experts say a growing number of license holders are secretly operating in the illegal market — working both sides of the economy to make ends meet. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
In California pot market, a hazy line between legal and not

Industry insiders say the practice of working simultaneously in the legal and illicit markets is a financial reality.

19 dead, including 9 children, in NYC apartment fire

More than five dozen people were injured and 13 people were still in critical condition in the hospital.

15 dead after Russian skydiver plane crashes

The L-410, a Czech-made twin-engine turboprop, crashed near the town of Menzelinsk.

FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. Facebook prematurely turned off safeguards designed to thwart misinformation and rabble rousing after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 elections in a moneymaking move that a company whistleblower alleges contributed to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, invasion of the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram in hourslong worldwide outage

Something made the social media giant’s routes inaccessable to the rest of the internet.

Oil washed up on Huntington Beach, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Crews race to limited damage from California oil spill

At least 126,000 gallons (572,807 liters) of oil spilled into the waters off Orange County.