Hurricane Dorian strengthens as it closes in on USA coast

Hurricane Dorian strengthens as it closes in on USA coast

Earlier this week, Dorian left wide devastation and at least 20 dead in striking the northern Bahamas. "No effort or resources will be held back". He plans to ride out the storm with his family in West Ashley, near downtown Charleston.

The death toll late Wednesday stood at 20, but officials said search-and-recovery missions were just starting.

"It has been an orderly preparation since we have had so much advanced notice. This is just preliminary information", Minnis told a news conference.

"The Mud, as we know, has been completely destroyed or decimated", he said referring to a shantytown known as the Mud and the Peas. (Cheryl Diaz Meyer for NPR) Damage in the Abaco Islands.

Officials have also put mandatory evacuation orders in place for communities along the North Carolina coast. Rain was pummeling coastal areas including Charleston on Thursday morning, causing street flooding that probably will get worse.

Port City Daily will provide updates to Hurricane Dorian as it approaches.

Forecasters did not expect Dorian to directly hit the Carolinas, but said hurricane- and tropical storm-force winds extended up to 315 kilometers (196 miles) from the center, putting the coastline at risk of life-threatening storm surges, heavy rain, flash floods and isolated tornadoes.

Dorian apparently spun off at least one tornado in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, damaging several homes, and another twister touched down in the beach town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, mangling and overturning several trailer homes in a jumble of sheet metal. However, hurricane-force winds could still affect outlying islands along the coast and any low-lying coastal areas.

The storm is not expected to strengthen over the next couple days and, but could slowly intensify by the weekend, the hurricane center said.

The storm has so far cut power to more 200,000 customers in SC, almost 40,000 in North Carolina and another 1,000 in Georgia.

The storm had lost some of its strength after hitting the Bahamas.

The US Coast Guard said it had rescued 61 people, including 19 injured patients from Abaco island's Marsh Harbour clinic who were flown to Nassau Tuesday.

Georgia's coastal islands were also at risk, Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday, adding "We are very anxious, especially about the barrier islands getting cut off". "It really has been described as the strongest hurricane on modern record for the Bahamas".

A Reuters photographer surveying the damage on Grand Bahama island said many hangars at Freeport airport and several aircraft appeared to be severely damaged.

It battered the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, in the north of the archipelago, for two days. The preliminary estimates were based on an assessment by representatives of Caribbean nations, the WFP and other groups.

Forecast maps showed Dorian moving away from land as it drifts up the U.S. Atlantic Coast, reaching the tip of Nova Scotia in Canada by Saturday.

In Georgia, evacuation orders covering hundreds of thousands of people along the coast were lifted Thursday morning after the shoreline was largely spared by Dorian overnight.

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