Hurricane Dorian upgraded to category 5 status

AP

Weather forecasters say Hurricane Dorian has intensified to a Category 5 storm, capable of inflicting catastrophic levels of destruction.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday that Dorian’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 160 mph (260 kph), up from 150 mph (240 kph). It is moving west at 8 mph (13 kph)

“Devastating hurricane conditions” are expected in the Abacos Islands early Sunday, with conditions will spread across Grand Bahama Island later in the day, the center said.

In its advisory at 8 a.m. EDT, the center says the storm’s center is 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Great Abaco Island and 225 miles (360 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach.

As Hurricane Dorian moves closer to the northern Bahamas, rainfall estimates have gone up for the Caribbean archipelago and the coastal Carolinas.

At around 5 a.m. Sunday, the center of the Category 4 storm was around 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 255 miles (410 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The hurricane is still moving west at 8 mph (13 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 kph).

A tropical storm warning was issued between Deerfield Beach up to Sebastian Inlet on southern Florida’s east coast, while a tropical storm watch was issued between Deerfield Beach down to Golden Beach.

The National Hurricane Center’s rainfall estimates for the northwestern Bahamas were upped to 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters), with isolated incidents of 30 inches (76 centimeters), while estimates for the coastal Carolinas were between 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain, with isolated cases of 15 inches (38 centimeters).