The Canadian government is urging Canadians to avoid all travel to the Bahamas and Florida as Hurricane Dorian, a dangerous Category 5 storm, intensifies.
An updated travel advisory for the Bahamas was issued Sunday afternoon, as Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Caribbean islands, clocking wind speeds of 297 km/h.
On Monday, the government updated its travel advisory for Florida from avoid all “non-essential travel” to “avoid all travel,” noting that the east coast, from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia and Brevard County Line, will be affected by the storm.
The warning to “avoid all travel” is the most serious risk level issued by the government. The advisory notes that any Canadians in the affected region should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.
The second-strongest Atlantic hurricane since 1950, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the eye of the storm was virtually "parked" over Grand Bahama Island Monday, crawling west at only 2 kilometres per hour as it dumped rain and lashed the island with destructive winds.
The hurricane is expected to move "dangerously close" to Florida through Wednesday evening.
Authorities in Florida warned that even if the eye of the storm does not make landfall, it would likely hammer coastal areas with powerful winds and heavy surf.
"The governor of Florida has issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for many coastal counties in his state," read the travel advisory.
"Due to the projected path of hurricane Dorian, Fort Lauderdale airport has announced that it would cease commercial flight operations on Monday, September 2, 2019 at noon. Contact your airline to check the status of your flight."
With files from The Associated Press