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Hurricane Dorian now 'stationary.' Five dead in Bahamas as Florida awaits turn north

Alex Harris, Joey Flechas, Sarah Blaskey, And David Ovalle, Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

MIAMI -- In 24 hours, Hurricane Dorian has inched a mere 70 miles.

In that time, the deadly storm razed parts of the northern Bahamas, set records as a ferocious Category 5 hurricane and took at least five lives, according to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Meanwhile in Florida, residents watched the already-devastating storm crawl toward them -- waiting for a northern turn that would spare the coast from the worst of the 145 mph winds.

As of the 5 p.m. advisory, the Category 4 storm was sitting stationary 105 miles off the coast of West Palm Beach and still wreaking havoc in Freeport, flooding shelters full of terrified evacuees and swamping the airport.

Forecasters predict Dorian will make its northern turn in the next day or so near Palm Beach County and weaken as it travels up the coast, with about an 80 mile buffer between the eye wall and the packed shore. The storm has hurricane force winds extending 45 miles in either direction from the center, with tropical storm force winds stretching 150 miles each way.

"It is still possible for the hurricane to deviate from this forecast, and move very near or over the coast," the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. "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."

 

On Labor Day, much of Florida's coast remained under a hurricane or tropical storm watch, but as of the 5 p..m. update all of South Florida was out of the cone. Some tropical storm force winds 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 on South Florida roads. Palm Beach International Airport closed on Monday, and flights were suspended at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at noon. Deputies in Martin County closed two major causeways leading to area beaches.

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.

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