Hurricane Dorian was downgraded to a Category 2 storm Tuesday but continues to pack dangerous 110-mph sustained winds as it churns “dangerously close” to the Florida coastline, according to AccuWeather.
The monster storm that left at least five dead in the Bahamas — with the number expected to rise — is now 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, with tropical storm conditions forecast for the Florida shoreline as early as Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Millions have been ordered to evacuate along the Florida, Georgia, and Carolina shorelines, where governors issued states of emergency in anticipation of dangerous storm surges and tropic-force winds along coastal areas, AccuWeather said.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam followed suit on Monday, declaring a state of emergency in his state.
“Hurricane Dorian is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate it may affect parts of Virginia,” Northam said in a statement. “I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions to make sure they are prepared as well.”
The Miami-based hurricane center said the storm system will likely stay off shore as it moves up the east coast, but will cause dangerous storm surges and high winds along the U.S. shoreline.
Dorian could also cause “a tornado or two are possible near the immediate east coast of Florida through tonight,” the center said.
The storm is the second most powerful Atlantic storm in modern history, lagging only behind Hurricane Allen in 1980.
Dorian hit the Bahamas with full force over the weekend, packing sustained winds of 185 mph and staggering gusts to 225 mph.
It left at least 5 people dead on the archipelago’s northwestern end, before settling over Grand Bahama Island for the better part of two days.
Government officials said more than 13,000 homes were destroyed by the storm, or roughly 45 percent of all the homes on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama.
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