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Hurricane Dorian kills at least 5 in the Bahamas; US coastline braces for impact

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ABC News(MIAMI) — Hurricane Dorian, a Category 4, was at a virtual standstill over the Bahamas Monday afternoon, where at least five people died on the Abaco Islands because of the powerful storm.

The “destructive” Dorian is “unprecedented and extensive,” Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Monday.

Homes and businesses are completely destroyed and the country is inundated with an extraordinary amount of flooding, he added.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are bracing for a similar fate as the monster storm next targets the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid before like this’

Residents of the Bahamas who rode out Hurricane Dorian as a Category 5 storm described buzz-saw-like winds that splintered homes, flooded streets and left them terrified for their lives.

“There’s houses that are torn apart. There’s tree limbs in the road. There’s no green shrubbery left. It’s just shredded,” Bruce Sawyer, a resident of the hard-hit Abaco Islands told ABC’s “Good Morning America” after enduring a night of abject uncertainty and fear.

Dorian made landfall Sunday afternoon at Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands as the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record, and witnesses like Sawyer, who have chosen to shelter in place for other major hurricanes, said they’ve never seen anything like it.

“I think when the eye wall hit, we had 200-plus mile per hour winds that ripped everybody’s roofs and destroyed everybody’s structure and houses,” Sawyer told ABC News. “Probably one of the most terrifying things that ever happened. The windows were caving. The doors were caving in. I honestly thought that our roof was going to be ripped off as well.”

ABC News correspondent Marcus Moore and his news crew hunkered down in a hotel in the Abaco Islands — and by Monday morning, he said their hotel appeared to be the only structure still standing in the immediate area.

“It really is a catastrophe here. And riding through this Category 5 hurricane was something I have never done before. I’ve covered many hurricanes but none like this one — we’re talking about land speeds of 180 mph-plus and then 200 mph wind gusts,” Moore said. “The feeling really moves you. As the winds were blowing, our ears were popping.”

 “You could hear the wind, you could hear bits and pieces of debris and large objects hitting the building, including a boat,” Moore said. “A yacht hit our building and right now is resting up against the three-story condo complex where we have been staying.”

Moore said he could also hear people screaming through the night.

Kim Mullins, a resident of Grand Bahama Island, told “GMA” she lived through Hurricane Floyd in 1999, Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004, Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. But she said Hurricane Dorian is the most menacing beast yet.

“The winds, they sound crazy. It literally feels as though something is about to happen even though my house is secure,” Mullins said. I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid before like this.”

 “It’s extremely dangerous, I’ve never seen anything like this before in my entire life,” said Iram Lewis, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Public Works. “Thank God I’m on high ground with my family, but there are persons out there in distress. I wish I was able to help them…I’m hoping that this weather will break soon and that as soon as possible the rescue teams can get on the road and help.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Minnis said the government “will bring to bear every resource possible and all of our collective energy to assist those in the devastated and affected areas.”

‘Get out now while you have time’

As Dorian pummels the Bahamas, it’s also slowly inching closer to Florida.

The latest path shows Dorian moving dangerously close to Florida’s east coast Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon, likely as a Category 3 hurricane.

Floridians are bracing for impact, stocking up on water and grabbing plywood to board up their homes.

Richard Stern, owner of a Ben & Jerry’s store in Delray Beach, Florida, spent Sunday boarding up windows and safely storing the ice cream.

“It’s a very dangerous storm. And a lot of people don’t realize that even if it doesn’t hit us directly, the winds and the rain are gonna be devastating. Especially with storm surge, we’re right off the beach,” Stern told ABC News.

“We’ve been through so many of them you kind of know what you need to do,” Stern said. “The thing we have no control over is the size and strength of the storm…We’re gonna do everything we can, and hope and pray that is gonna be enough.”

“Our east coast is certainly within the cone still and people need to remain vigilant,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Monday. “Get out now while you have time.”

 The governor said mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders have been issued for coastal communities from Palm Beach County to Nassau County near the Georgia border, a distance of 361 miles.

“If you’re ordered to evacuate, you need to do that,” he said. “Get out now while you have time.”

The governor said 72 nursing homes and assisted living centers along the coast have been evacuated and some Florida hospitals were following suit.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Palm Beach International Airport and Orlando Melbourne International Airport have already shut down as the storm moves in.

The U.S. Postal Service shut down operations at its West Palm Beach plant Sunday night while Amtrak temporarily suspended service in Florida through Tuesday.

Regardless of landfall, wind gusts of up to 80 mph and storm surge will be the biggest threats for the eastern coast of Florida over the next few days.

From Florida, Dorian is forecast to turn north toward Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Coastal Georgia communities are under mandatory evacuation orders as Dorian may bring 4 to 6 inches of rain, up to 7 feet of storm surge and dangerous flash flooding.

“Please don’t take this risk — if you’re able to evacuate please do so,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Monday.

Dorian is expected to be a Category 2 when it nears the Carolinas.

South Carolina’s governor issued an evacuation order for the state’s coastal residents. A mandatory evacuation order was issued Monday for North Carolina’s Outer Banks as well.

The heaviest rainfall from Dorian is expected to hit the North Carolina coast, where up to 10 inches of rain is possible.

“We have to respect the threat that Dorian brings,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday. “Time is running out to get ready.”

Pete Gaynor, acting administrator of FEMA, said his greatest concern was storm surge.

“It’s water flooding that causes the most death in natural disasters; 90% of all deaths from natural disasters are caused from flooding, storm surge, inland flooding,” Gaynor said. “What we really want to get across this morning is that time is running out to make preparations.”

“The unpredictability, the uncertainty of where Dorian will go is something that we’re all anxious to find out, but you have to be prepared for any scenario,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

Bahamas woman opens her home to 97 rescue dogs during Hurricane Dorian

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The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau, Bahamas(NEW YORK) — Amid Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the Bahamas, Chella Phillips opened her Nassau home to 97 homeless and abandoned dogs.

“It was either leave the dogs on the street to fend for themselves…or do something about it,” said Phillips on a phone interview with ABC News. “I just want these dogs to be safe. I could care less about the dog poop and pee in my house.”

On Sunday, Phillips described her experience wrangling the dogs in a Facebook post, saying that 79 of the dogs were in her bedroom to ride out the storm.

“Each island has abundance of homeless dogs, my heart is so broken for the ones without a place to hide a CAT 5 monster and only God can protect them now,” she wrote.

In another Facebook post on Monday, Phillips wrote that the area had experienced flooding, but that the dogs are safe.

“We are alright after a stressful night,” she wrote. “All services are down, all TVs are fried from the lightnings so no more cartoons for the sick dogs until we can purchase new ones.”

“I don’t see how any dogs or any living being could have survived outside. My heart goes out to them. Thank you for the outpouring support and heartfelt prayers,” she wrote.

Phillips, who was born in Peru, says she has spent the past 15 years saving nearly 1,000 homeless and abandoned street dogs in the Bahamas, and finding homes in the U.S. for more than 200 dogs.

After the storm passes she plans to build more space for the dogs she has taken in from the storm.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Multiple airports across the coast are closing due to Hurricane Dorian

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iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — As coastal cities prepare for Hurricane Dorian to arrive, numerous airports have announced closures.

The dangerous storm is pummeling the Bahamas and slowly headed for the Southeast region of the United States.

Businesses, residents and tourists are bracing for the worst as states announce mandatory evacuations and airports suspend service in anticipation of landfall.

Here’s what people who plan to travel to and from the Southeast and Bahamas can expect.

Which airports are closing?

Florida

Orlando International Airport (MCO): All commercial flights will be halted starting Monday at 2 a.m., the airport announced on Twitter on Friday.

Fort Lauderdale International (FLL): The airport state on Twitter that is will close at noon on Monday saying that “airport officials, in coordination with the airlines and the FAA Tower, will determine with the airport will reopen.”

Daytona Beach International (DAB): The airport terminal will close at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Palm Beach International (PBI)

Orlando Melbourne International (MLB): The airport will suspend commercial flights and close the terminal at 12:00 p.m. “to ensure the safety of passengers and employees,” according to their official Twitter page.

Vero Beach Regional (VRB)

Bahamas

South Bimini (BIM)

North Eleuthera (ELH)

Grand Bahama International (FPO): The airport closed on Friday and is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday. In a statement the airport said that the opening “is subject to prevailing conditions.”
What is the latest forecast?

After slowly moving through the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian is forecast to move up Florida over the next few days, getting closest to land Tuesday night into Wednesday morning by Cape Canaveral, when it is projected to be a Category 3.

It will then move north to Georgia, with storm surge potentially reaching 4 to 7 feet Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Around Thursday and Friday, it will get close to the Carolinas, especially near Wilmington and up to Cape Hatteras, likely as a Category 2.

How to stay safe

Here are tips and resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on staying safe during a hurricane:

  • Be aware of the latest weather forecast.
  • Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand in case your area loses power, causing ATM machines and banks to close down as well.
  • Make a plan for your family, business and property.
  • Assemble a disaster preparedness kit stocked with critical supplies, including important documents and medications. Click here to see a list of the items you should put in your kit.
  • Purchase flood insurance in advance of the storm.
  • Visit www.ready.gov for the latest hurricane news and preparedness tips from FEMA.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

Labor Day parade expected to be attended by New Jersey governor canceled after explosives found

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iStock/moodboard(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J.) — The annual Labor Day parade in South Plainfield, New Jersey, was canceled after homemade explosives were found near a wooded area along the parade route, according to authorities.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, Tammy, had been scheduled to march in the 62nd annual parade, which had been scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m.

The parade was scrapped after a man who makes homemade, firework-like devices left a half dozen of the devices on his property, which is near the start of the parade route, authorities said.

The property owner, Thomas G. Kaiser, 55, was taken into custody and charged with possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose in the second degree and possession of a destructive device in the third degree, according to a joint statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

“It is anticipated that additional charges will be forthcoming,” according to the statement.

Police in Sea Bright in Monmouth County launched an investigation when a “suspicious package with a destructive device” was found at Donovan’s Reef, an ocean-side bar and restaurant in Sea Bright, the statement reads. The probe led investigators to Kaiser, according to the statement.

“During the investigation, it was learned that there were other destructive devices near his [Kaiser’s] home, which is located in the vicinity of the start of the South Plainfield Labor Day Parade, prompting its cancellation,” the prosecutors said in the statement.

Kaiser’s brother told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that the ordeal started when Thomas Kaiser bought fireworks at a Jersey shore concert and, instead of bringing them into his home, left them in a cooler outside his house, where they were found by police.

“He was caught with fireworks,” said Kaiser’s brother, who did not want to be identified. “There were no bombs, nothing set in the streets, nowhere. They came, they searched his house with bomb explosive dogs. They found nothing in the house, found nothing anywhere in the vicinity.”

No direct threat was made against Gov. Murphy or the parade, police said.

South Plainfield is in Middlesex County, about 40 miles southeast of New York City.

The popular parade was expected to feature a line up of marching bands, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, stilt walkers, clowns, uni-cyclists, jugglers and vintage cars, according to organizers. It is sponsored by the South Plainfield Public Celebrations Committee.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

Hurricane Dorian: The latest forecast for Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas

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Twitter/@lunsford_erica(MIAMI) — Dangerous Hurricane Dorian is barreling toward the Southeast U.S., where residents from Florida to the Carolinas are bracing for impact.

Here’s what people in the Southeast can expect, according to the latest forecast.

Florida

Dorian will be closest to Florida on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning when it nears Cape Canaveral as a Category 3 hurricane.

Flooding, winds up to 80 mph and storm surge will be the biggest threats to Florida’s east coast over next few days.

Storm surge could reach 7 feet from West Palm beach to Jacksonville.

The National Hurricane Center is also warning of a tornado threat in Florida on Monday.

“Hurricane Dorian is the strongest storm to ever threaten the state of Florida on the East Coast,” said Jared Moskowitz, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management. “No matter what path this storm takes, our state will be impacted.”

Hurricane warnings are in effect from just north of West Palm Beach to Cape Canaveral.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Daytona and Jacksonville while a tropical storm watch was issued for Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in parts of Martin, Palm Beach, St, Lucie, Brevard, St. Johns, Volusia, Duval, Indian River and Nassau Counties.

“People need to remain vigilant. If you’re ordered to evacuate, you need to do that,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday. “Get out now while you have time.”

Georgia

Storm surge is a major threat to the Georgia coastline as Dorian moves north — it could reach 4 to 7 feet by Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Those in the Savannah area are urged to prepare for heavy rains, flooding and strong winds.

Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered evacuations for residents east of Interstate 95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh Counties.

South Carolina & North Carolina

Dorian is forecast to curve northeast and come very close to the Carolinas, especially near Wilmington and up to Cape Hatteras.

At that time Dorian is expected to be a Category 2, bringing dangerous storm surge with it.

The heaviest rainfall from Dorian is expected to hit North Carolina, which could see up to 15 inches of rain.

In South Carolina, evacuations were ordered in parts of Colleton, Beaufort, Jasper, Charleston, Berkeley, Horry and Georgetown counties.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

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