MIAMI -- The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local):
Forecasters say "catastrophic" Category 5 Hurricane Dorian is continuing to batter Great Abaco island in the Bahamas.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center is describing the pounding the northwest Bahamas as a "life-threatening situation" and urged residents not to venture out into Dorian's well-defined eye should it pass overhead.
At 3 p.m. EDT Sunday, Dorian had top sustained winds of 185 mph (295 kph) with gusts topping 220 mph (above 350 kph). The Miami-based hurricane centre says it expects storm surge of 18 to 23 feet (5.4 metres to 7 metres) above normal in the hardest-hit areas. It says there also will be even higher battering waves.
Forecasters warn that Dorian is moving so slowly westward ---- at 7 mph (11 kph) ---- that those in the affected areas of the Bahmas will continue to receive a pounding from Dorian's wind and surging seas for several more hours.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Dorian made a second landfall at 2 p.m. on Great Abaco Island near Marsh Harbour at 185 mph (285 kph).
The centre says that is tied for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.
The Hurricane Center said Dorian's maximum sustained winds stood at a monstrous 185 mph (295 kph), with higher gusts. Dorian is moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).
The storm's centre is about 185 miles (295 kilometres) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. A Hurricane watch is in effect for Florida from the north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia-Brevard county line. Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area by late Monday or early Tuesday.
Extremely powerful, life-threatening Hurricane Dorian has reached the Bahamas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday that Dorian made landfall in Elbow Cay at 12:40 p.m. EDT.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to a monstrous 185 mph (295 kph) from 180 mph (285 kph).
The Category 5 storm was moving west at 8 mph (13 kph).
The Hurricane Center says the arrival of the storm poses "a life-threatening situation" with hazards that will cause "extreme destruction."
Wind gusts were clocked at over 220 mph (354 kph). The storm surge was measured at between 18 to 23 feet (5.4 to 7 metres) above normal tide levels.
Officials at Florida's busiest airport say they are rescinding plans to close on Monday.
Orlando International Airport officials said late Saturday that the airport will remain open Monday because of the turn northward in Hurricane Dorian's projected path.
The airport originally had planned to stop commercial flights at 2 a .m. Monday for passenger safety and to give the airport's 25,000 workers enough time to secure their homes and be with their families.
The airport had 47.7 million passengers travel through it last year.
The National Hurricane Center says the northwest Bahamas is facing its strongest hurricane in modern times as Hurricane Dorian's maximum sustained winds reach a monstrous 180 mph (285 kph).
The Category 5 storm has also grown in size, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 45 miles (75 kilometres) from its centre, located about 20 miles (30 kilometres) east-northeast of Great Abaco Island.
Dorian is moving west at 7 mph (11 kph) and is expected to slow in the next day or two, potentially prolonging the Bahamas' weather misery.
The Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. EDT advisory that Dorian was strafing the Abacos Islands with life-threatening storm surge, destructive waves, and extremely powerful winds. Those conditions were expected to reach Grand Bahama Island later Sunday.
The hurricane was expected to move toward the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday. The Hurricane Center also issued a hurricane watch and storm surge watch for the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to the line between Volusia and Brevard counties.
A coastal Florida county is ordering an evacuation of barrier islands, mobile homes and areas that are prone to flood because of Hurricane Dorian.
Palm Beach County issued the evacuation order beginning 1 p.m. Sunday after the county that includes West Palm Beach was placed under a tropical storm warning.
The official forecast path for Dorian curves the storm away from the area before it strikes land.
But the National Hurricane centre says there are variables that could alter that path, and there is about a 50% chance West Palm Beach will get hurricane winds by early Wednesday.
Potentially devastating winds from Hurricane Dorian have strengthened yet again as the storm nears the Bahamas.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday that maximum sustained winds have increased to 175 mph (280 kph) from 160 mph (260 kph) as it approaches Great Abaco Island. It is moving west at 8 mph (13 kph).
The centre said at 9:30 a.m. EDT that the Category 5 storm is 25 miles (40 kilometres) east-northeast of Great Abaco Island and about 210 miles (340 kilometres) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The Hurricane Center is warning of potentially devastating wind gusts of more than 200 mph (321 kph) and destructive waves of up to 20 feet (6 metres).
"These hazards will cause extreme destruction in the affected areas," the centre said, "and will continue for several hours."
Weather forecasters say predictions that powerful Hurricane Dorian will slow to a crawl over the Bahamas complicates their outlook for the United States.
The National Hurricane Center says Dorian could nearly stall over Great Abaco Island or Grand Bahama Island for more than 24 hours starting late Sunday.
Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says that would be catastrophic for the island chain. Dorian was upgraded to the most powerful designation of Category 5, with maximum sustained winds increasing to 160 mph (260 kph). Forecasters say ocean levels could rise up to 20 feet (6 metres) in parts of the northern Bahamas with the storm surge topped with huge waves.
Graham says the storm stalling also complicates the U.S. forecast. The time allows small changes in the winds that steer the storm, which means Dorian can still make landfall anywhere from Florida to North Carolina during the next five days.
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 centre said.
In its advisory at 8 a.m. EDT, the centre says the storm's centre is 35 miles (55 kilometres) east of Great Abaco Island and 225 miles (360 kilometres) 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 centre of the Category 4 storm was around 70 miles (110 kilometres) east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 255 miles (410 kilometres) 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 centimetres), with isolated incidents of 30 inches (76 centimetres), while estimates for the coastal Carolinas were between 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimetres) of rain, with isolated cases of 15 inches (38 centimetres).
Hurricane Dorian is moving ever closer to the northern Bahamas.
Early Sunday, the Category 4 storm was around 95 miles (150 kilometres) east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 280 miles (450 kilometres) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The hurricane continues to move west at 8 mph (13 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 kph).
The core of the storm is expected to be near or over parts of the northwestern Bahamas later Sunday.
Millions of U.S. coastal dwellers from Florida to the Carolinas are keeping a wary eye on Dorian's approach. Forecasters say many computer models indicate Dorian is expected to veer sharply northeastward and track up the Southeast seaboard, raising the risks of damaging winds and deadly flooding even if there's no direct U.S. landfall.
A dangerous Hurricane Dorian is closing in on the northern Bahamas, threatening to batter the normally idyllic islands with fierce winds, pounding waves and torrential rain.
Tourist hotels closed, residents boarded up homes and officials hired boats to move people from low-lying areas to bigger islands as the powerful Category 4 hurricane approached. Many are hunkered down in schools, churches and other shelters awaiting the storm's dreaded arrival later Sunday.
Meanwhile, millions of U.S. coastal dwellers from Florida to the Carolinas are keeping a wary eye on Dorian's approach. Forecasters say many computer models indicate the storm is expected to veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the Southeast seaboard, raising the risks of damaging winds and deadly flooding even if there's no direct U.S. landfall.