Dorian shifts toward Carolinas; Florida may avoid direct hit

People stand in line for propane fuel at BJ's Wholesale Club in preparation for Hurricane Dorian Thursday Aug. 29 2019 in Hialeah Fla. Hurricane Dorian is heading towards Florida for a possible direct hit on the state over Labor Day. (AP

Dorian a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds remains a direct threat to NW Bahamas and Florida East Coast northward...but glimmer of hope for some...

The faint hope of dodging Dorian's fury came on Friday, even as the storm ratcheted up to a risky category 4 storm, raising fears Dorian could be the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida's east coast in almost 30 years. "People still need to take heed to the fact that as of now, the hurricane can bring winds of 125 miles per hour when the center reaches its highest proximity to the Florida coastline". A hurricane warning was issued for parts of the Bahama Islands Friday evenings.

Dorian has the potential to put millions of people at risk, along with holiday attractions such as Walt Disney World, the Nasa launchpads along the Space Coast, and even US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

Dorian is moving west at about 8 miles per hour. While the east coast of central Florida was bracing for a direct hit, the storm has since changed direction. Forecasters warned that its slow movement could subject the state to a prolonged and destructive pummelling from wind, storm surge and heavy rain. Parts of Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, remain in the possible path of a Dorian landfall, according to the NHC. "A lot of insurance claims".

Bahamians prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Nassau, Bahamas August 30, 2019.

On Florida's east coast, where Dorian's winds are expected to quickly gather speed, residents were busy stocking bottled water, plywood, and other supplies as fast as they could. Some fuel shortages were reported in the Cape Canaveral area.

In Vero Beach, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) up the coast from Miami, Lauren Harvey, 51, scoured the aisles of a nearby supermarket in search for non-perishable foods that could last her throughout the storm. "We're all still praying that it turns, but if it doesn't we'll be ready", Taylor said.

Empty shelves where water is sold at a grocery store are shown, in North Miami, Florida.

"We're going to continue planning as if this was coming towards us", said Director Cathie Perkins.

Dorian largely spared Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands, causing some floods and power outages but no major damage. The storm is expected to hit Florida on Monday morning.

"It's going to be this big, bad, intense storm - wherever it hits, it's going to do catastrophic wind damage", said Bill Karins, a meteorologist for NBC News.

A Rolling Stones concert in Miami originally scheduled for Saturday night was moved up by a day due to the weather forecast, the band said on its Twitter account.

The rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and a storm surge that will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in northwestern Bahamas, the hurricane center said.

The dispatch warned that a risky storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves up to 15 feet can be expected near the shores of Eleuthera, Abaco and Grand Bahama on Sunday into Monday.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was harshly criticized in 2005 for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, briefed Congress on Friday on the steps they are taking to prepare for the storm. "The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed".

Florida Power and Light, which operates more than 77,248km of overhead power lines, activated its emergency response plan and will have almost 13,000 employees on hand to restore power after the storm, the utility said in a news release Friday.

Hurricane Dorian spun west across the Atlantic ocean toward Florida on Saturday after growing into an even stronger Category 4 storm as residents and visitors hunkered down in one of America's most popular tourist destinations.

Major cruise lines Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian have started rerouting ships.

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