Hurricane Dorian has moved within approximately 130 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, as of 7:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, Sept. 4, bringing the threat of high storm surge and flooding to the low-lying coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina.
The National Hurricane Center is warning that storm surge along the South Carolina coast could be “life threatening,” while coastal rains could be as high as 10-15 inches on Thursday. The brunt of the storm is expected to impact southern areas around Hilton Head and Beaufort during the early-morning hours on Thursday. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster had warned residents in South Carolina’s evacuation zones to “get out” by Wednesday morning.
Wind speeds have increased to 110 mph, making Dorian a Category 2 storm. Hurricane warnings remain in effect throughout North and South Carolina, as dangerous storm surges of between four and eight feet, combined with heavy rains, are expected to cause significant flooding.
The storm stayed off the Florida coast, for the most part, as it traveled north, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wind speeds slowed to around 85 mph, while heavy rains and storm surges caused only moderate flooding. There are no known fatalities in Florida to report at this time.
The Category 5 storm has devastated the Bahamas
Hurricane Dorian caused mass devastation across the islands of Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, on Monday and Tuesday, resulting in at least 20 known fatalities, so far. Category 5 wind speeds, in excess of 160 mph, leveled building structures to the ground, while high storm surges above 12 and 15 feet have caused mass flooding.
As floodwaters started to recede, on Wednesday, residents returned to find entire towns and villages decimated. Grand Bahama Airport, the main airport of the isles, has been wiped out, with entire building structures now missing completely.
Volunteers are still treading through waist-high waters as they search for people trapped under collapsed structures and isolated by flooding. The U.S. coast guard has responded to provide aide, as local residents work together to account for loved ones and search for the missing.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis issued a somber statement, on Tuesday, saying, “We can expect more deaths to be recorded. Our priority is search, rescue and recovery.”