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Hurricane Dorian Has Gotten Bigger. That's Bad News

The Carolinas could get hit hard, even if it never makes landfall
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2019 2:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – "Today will tell the magnitude of the problem." So said Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands as rescue crews on Wednesday set out to Abaco and Grand Bahama islands in an effort to reach what the AP calls the "drenched and stunned victims of Hurricane Dorian." One Abaco local relayed her take on the magnitude of what was the most powerful hurricane on record to strike the country: "It looks like a bomb hit," says Londa Sawyer, who explained she and her two children were forced to flee to a friend's home after her house was completely flooded. There, the water rose to within a few feet of the roof of the two-story home. She and her kids ended up floating on a mattress for 30 minutes, at which point the water level began to drop. The latest on the now-Category 2 storm:

  • The Washington Post reports Dorian will exit the Florida area on Wednesday and leave the state largely free of extreme damage thanks to how far off the coast it stayed. That lack of damage isn't expected to be the case for the Carolinas. While the wind speeds have dropped to 105mph, the storm itself has grown in size, meaning winds extend across a bigger area and are "capable of generating giant waves and pushing large amounts of water toward the shore." What that could translate into for Charleston, SC: "Water levels could rank among the top five levels ever recorded due to the combination of ocean surge and up to 15 inches of rain."

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  • The Weather Channel is experiencing deja vu: Just three years ago, Hurricane Matthew hugged the coast of the Southeast as Dorian is expected to do and illustrated just how devastating a hurricane can be without making landfall. Matthew caused $10.8 billion in damage and 49 deaths. It's possible Dorian won't get quite as close to the coast as Matthew did, but its slower pace could make for more damage. It took Matthew about a day to progress from roughly Cape Canaveral, Fla., to Wilmington, NC; Dorian will likely take twice that long.
  • "We got lucky in Florida. Very, very lucky, indeed," Trump said while speaking from the White House Wednesday afternoon, per CNN. "We had actually our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly ... And it took a right turn and ultimately, hopefully, we're going to be lucky."
  • As for when states north of Florida stand to get battered, the Weather Channel reports Dorian's center will likely pass South Carolina on Thursday and North Carolina on Friday. "By Friday night, the center of Dorian will move into the Atlantic Ocean, with improving conditions in North Carolina and southeast Virginia."
  • The AP reports an estimated 3 million people in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas have been told to evacuate due to Dorian.
  • One odd happening: A person checking out the waves in Melbourne, Florida, came upon a package labeled "dinamitar" on Tuesday morning. Except it wasn't dynamite, as its Spanish name might suggest: It was a kilo of cocaine carried by "waves stirred up by" Dorian, reports USA Today.
  • But steer clear of the beach, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reminds people. It recounted on Twitter that a woman who was on shore at Neptune Beach got knocked down and pulled to sea by a wave. She was rescued by a lifeguard.
(Read more Hurricane Dorian stories.)

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