Hurricane Dorian is approaching the southeastern United States, including Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, as a Category 4 storm. On Monday, Sept. 2, the National Hurricane Center officially downgraded Dorian from its prior Category 5 status. The storm had made landfall in the Bahamas over the weekend, marking its place as one of the strongest storms observed in the Atlantic in recorded history, and remains largely stationary over the islands.
Located 30 miles east-northeast of Freeport, Bahamas, and 110 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida and moving west at just 1 mph, according to the NHC's 11 a.m. storm update, Dorian still poses a substantial risk to those in its path.
Packing sustained winds of 155 mph, a decrease from the 185 mph winds and 220 mph gusts when it first made landfall on Sunday, the NHC warned that the Category 4 storm remains "life-threatening.
"Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds are expected along portions of the Florida east coast and Georgia coast, regardless of the exact track of Dorian's center," the NHC warned. "Water levels could begin to rise well in advance of the arrival of strong winds. Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local officials."
"Heavy rains, capable of producing life-threatening flash floods, are expected over northern portions of the Bahamas and coastal sections of the Southeast and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States into Friday," the alert continued.
After making landfall as a Category 5 storm at Great Abaco Island on Sunday, damaging thousands of structures, causing severe flooding, and resulting in at least one death and dozens more missing, Dorian is expected to continue ravaging the Bahamas through Monday.
"A slow westward to west-northwestward motion is forecast during the next day or so, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest and north," the NHC said in a statement. "The hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late tonight through Wednesday evening and then move dangerously close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday."
In anticipation of the life-threatening storm, mandatory evacuations have been issued for the counties of Martin, Palm Beach, Brevard, St. Lucie, and St. John's with voluntary evacuations in effect for the Florida counties of Osceola, Glades, Hendry, Indian River, Okeechobee, and Highlands. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations are also in effect for counties in both Georgia and South Carolina.