Hurricane Dorian strengthens as it bears down on the Bahamas – live updates
Hurricane Dorian fast facts:
- Dorian, now a Category 4 storm, is expected to make landfall on the Florida coast late Monday or early Tuesday.
- State of emergencies are in effect for the entire states of Florida and North Carolina, and 12 counties in Georgia.
- The storm could be the strongest to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Hurricane Dorian, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm, is packing maximum sustained winds of 140 mph with higher gusts. More than 20 million Americans could feel the storm’s impact.
Preparations are under way to prepare for the massive storm. Hurricane conditions are expected in the Bahamas by Sunday. Storm surges there could raise water levels 15-feet above normal.
The storm is expected to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday. In Florida, many are leaving nothing to chance, stocking up at gas stations and grocery stores. Georgia and North and South Carolina are also on high alert.
As of 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Dorian’s center was some 280 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas and about 445 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm is moving west-northwest at about 12 mph.
Follow live coverage of the storm below.
Meet NOAA’s first all-female hurricane hunting crew
While Hurricane Dorian makes its way toward the Florida coast, not everyone is fleeing the fierce storm. Commander Rebecca Waddington, Lieutenant Lindsey Norman and Captain Kristie Twining flew into the eye of the storm this week.
Their hurricane hunter aircraft collects data for NOAA, which helps forecasters predict where the storm is heading next. But their flight Thursday was historic. It was the first time in NOAA’s history that a Hurricane Hunter’s flight crew was comprised of all women.
“There are more women getting interested in flying and it’s also fun to have that camaraderie because to be honest it’s been a male-dominated field,” Captain Kristie Twining said.
Twining hopes they will inspire a new generation of female pilots.
“To let them know this is something that is certainly a possibility for them and they don’t have to feel intimidated or in anyway think that they cannot do it,” Twining said.
“People think you’re a little bit nuts, but when you tell him why we’re going out and doing this, going out and collecting all of this really important data, then people are usually really grateful for what you’re doing,” Norman said.
— Dana Jacobson reports
More than 560 price gouging complaints in Florida
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office received 568 complaints over alleged price gouging on Friday morning. Nearly half came through the new app Florida No Scam, and the rest from the traditional hotline, CBS Miami reported.
Moody said the majority of complaints were about gas and water. Some companies, she said, weren’t as cooperative as they should have been when contacted by investigators.
“Gas stations need be aware we are following this closely. We got some reports that some had increased prices overnight. I can tell you that in trying to be proactive about that, some have not been cooperative. In fact insisted in order to do something about that, we may need to send someone with a badge, which I will oblige,” Moody said.
Under Florida law, when there is a state of emergency, which has now been declared in all 67 counties, companies can not raise prices higher than the average price over the last 30 days unless then can prove their costs increased.
If you see what you believe is price gouging the number to call is 866-966-7226 or 866-9-NOSCAM.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has also opened her price gouging hotline. The number for Miami-Dade is 305-547-3300. As of Friday afternoon, that hotline received about 75 calls.
Delta Airlines adds seat ahead of Dorian’s landfall
Delta Airlines announced it was adding 7,693 extra seats to accommodate travelers looking to depart from “cities along the Southeast coast from Brunswick, Georgia down across most of Florida.”
“Additionally, Delta issued a temporary baggage and pet in cabin fee waiver, and restrictions on unaccompanied minor travel along with adding six additional flights between Atlanta and Florida for Friday,” Delta said in a statement.
Delta also broadened its waiver program to include Key West, Florida and extended its Bahamas travel waiver to Tuesday, meaning customers in Key West can change their departing flights at no extra charge; customers in the Bahamas have until Tuesday to do so.
Brevard County issues mandatory evacuations
Brevard County, located on Florida’s east coast that includes Kennedy Space Center, has issued mandatory evacuation orders for some parts of the county. Shelter details are still being finalized.
In a Facebook post, county officials said the following residents should start evacuating Sunday at 8 a.m.:
- Those who live on the barrier islands, including areas from Kennedy Space Center south to the south beaches and Merritt Island.
- Those in mobile homes or manufactured housing.
- Those in low-lying, flood-prone areas.
- Those with special medical needs such as electrical dependence.
To determine if your address is under mandatory evacuation, go to the map here and plug in the address.
Dorian could knock out power for millions in Florida
Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest utility, said the hurricane will require rebuilding parts of the electric grid, resulting in restoration efforts that could be “extensive,” CBS Miami and the Associated Press reported.
Silagy said he believes the utility is ready for the storm. He toured the company’s command center in West Palm Beach with Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday.
“There will be power outages from the storm,” Silagy said. “There is no doubt that if the storm comes on with the kind of power that is currently predicted there will be significant outages.”
Wildlife center finds foster homes for 400 animals
The South Florida Wildlife Center is in hurricane prep mode. The center is finding foster homes for more than 400 animal patients in its care or releasing them back into the wild before Dorian makes landfall, according to CBS Miami.
The South Florida Wildlife Center is a not-for-profit organization that treats injured and orphaned animals — everything from ducks to owls, squirrels and more.
When Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation Dr. Renata Schneider arrived at work Friday morning, there were 411 animals on the property, but that number is a little smaller now.
“We have actively been releasing anything that was release-ready or very close to being released because animals have an amazing instinct of what to do in the wild and they are safer being free, than stuck in a cage but by the end of the day, if you haven’t been released then you are definitely going into foster care,” said Dr. Schneider.
More than 300 active volunteers will take home the remaining animals and care for them during the storm.
If you find an animal in need of help, the Center asks that you make sure it is open and able receive patients before bringing orphaned or injured wildlife to the Center. Click here for more information about the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale.
— CBS Miami’s Lisa Petrillo reports from Fort Lauderdale.
668,000 Florida homes at risk
Hurricane Dorian threatens roughly $150 billion in Florida real estate, including 668,000 homes, according to CoreLogic, which predicts disaster losses, and only about a third of those Floridians have flood insurance policies. The Miami area could sustain as much as $85 billion in losses if it takes a hit from Dorian.
As with all hurricanes, many variables come into play in assessing the risks. One is the “Bermuda High,” a subtropical area of high atmospheric pressure that could push Dorian toward Miami, instead of its current target of Port St. Lucie. If Dorian grows stronger, it could even push on toward Cape Canaveral, Jacksonville and into Georgia or even North and South Carolina, according to CoreLogic meteorologist David Betten.
Read more about the projections here.
— Ed Leefeldt
”It gets worse every year”: Residents facing long lines for supplies
There’s plenty of time to prepare for Hurricane Dorian, but not enough supplies. James Schuchardt got in line at 5 a.m. to buy a generator and gas tanks. “I’ve been here for almost 30 years and it gets worse every year,” he said.
The uncertainty of where Dorian will land has people along Florida’s east coast hunkering down. Across the state, residents are facing long lines at gas stations and fuel shortages. In Miami, nearly half of its gas stations ran out of fuel Friday.
Families are also waiting hours for sand bags, and food and water are flying off the shelves. Meanwhile, state officials are checking on nursing homes to make sure they have generators after 12 people died in 2017, when Hurricane Irma knocked out power at a nursing home.
— Mireya Villarreal reports from Port Canaveral, Florida.
“Mar-a-Lago can handle itself”: Trump’s resort could be in direct path of storm
President Trump’s West Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago could be in the direct path of Dorian, according to the National Hurricane Center’s projections. The storm is expected to make landfall in Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm, meaning there will be maximum sustained winds of at least 130 mph.
Mar-a-Lago is currently closed for the summer season. The historic house, built in 1927, is located on 17.5 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Mar-a-Lago has been in the path of major storms before, including 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which caused some roof damage and roof leaks.
Mr. Trump told reporters Friday afternoon that it “looks like Mar-a-Lago is dead center” but “Mar-a-Lago can handle itself.” He said he was worried about the whole state of Florida.
Mr. Trump canceled a scheduled weekend trip to Poland to deal with the hurricane.
Hurricane warning issued for the Bahamas
A hurricane warning has been issued for the northwestern Bahamas, meaning hurricane conditions are expected within the next 36 hours. As of 5 p.m. ET, the storm is located about 420 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas and about 595 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Maximum sustained winds are still 115 mph, meaning it is still a Category 3 storm.
Florida governor in contact with White House
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he has been in contact with White House officials, saying at a news conference that he has been in contact with “half the president’s cabinet.”
DeSantis said he appreciated that President Trump canceled his trip to Poland to deal with the hurricane. “I think a lot of folks realize this is serious,” DeSantis said.
Expanded WiFi hotspots across Florida
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a release Friday that Comcast will be opening a network of 200,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the state to anyone, even non-customers, free of charge, to help residents and emergency personnel stay connected.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be establishing a mobile communications team to ensure emergency communications continue during the storm.
DeSantis also said Florida Highway Patrol will be escorting fuel trucks to ensure fuel reaches “critical areas.”
DeSantis said 99.6% of nursing homes have a generator or have arrangements in place. Three days after Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, four residents died inside a nursing home in south Florida. Another four residents died shortly after the nursing home was evacuated. And four more died in the days and weeks that followed. The Broward County Medical Examiner ruled the deaths as homicides.
Additionally, DeSantis said 95.6% of assisted living facilities have an onsite generator.
Dorian is now a Category 3 storm
Dorian strengthened to a Category 3 storm Friday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. Dorian is now being classified as a “major hurricane” and is expected to remain an “extremely dangerous major hurricane” as it approaches the Florida peninsula.
Tropical storm conditions are possible in the northwestern Bahamas by Saturday night or Sunday morning, which are then expected to turn into hurricane conditions as the storm gets closer on Sunday. The National Weather Service warned life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of the northwestern Bahamas.
Life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are expected as swells are likely to begin affecting the eastern shores of the Bahamas, the Florida East Coast and the southeastern U.S. over the next few days. As much as 18 inches of rain could hit the Southeast U.S., with six to 12 inches expected.
Construction cranes a concern in Miami
The major building boom in Miami is leading to worries about the safety of construction cranes when Dorian hits, CBS Miami reported. Hurricane Irma’s powerful winds snapped three cranes at South Florida construction sites in 2017.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city is taking aggressive steps regarding crane safety. He said companies have been told that cranes must be secured before the arrival of the storm and anyone failing to do so will face hefty fines.
“We’ve already informed the crane operators and contractors that they have to secure their cranes,” Suarez said. “We saw obviously during Hurricane Irma that we had multiple cranes that failed and were a huge danger to our residents.”
Miami resident Jake Edelstein said he is concerned about the cranes and what the winds from Hurricane Dorian might do. Edelstein rents a condo in the downtown Miami area not far from where 3 cranes collapsed in September of 2017 after Hurricane Irma.
“In the past cranes have fallen in South Florida and they are building here so much and I’m so concerned about a hurricane of this size,” said Edelstein. “My biggest concerns in this neighborhood is that I live in around Biscayne Boulevard and what could potentially happen.”
Marc Price also hopes all of the cranes in the area where he lives and around Miami-Dade are secured properly. “Of course, I realize there has to be a high standard and I know they’re making preparations but this is hard with what the weather can do. I know the process is costly and takes time it is a conundrum,” said Price.
It’s never too early to start preparing a hurricane kit
The National Weather Service is encouraging anyone in the path of the storm that it’s “never too early” to start preparing a hurricane kit.
CBS News has rounded up some emergency preparedness tips for people and pets, as well as a checklist of supplies to have on hand before a big storm arrives.
What supplies do you need to prepare for a hurricane?
Ahead of potentially devastating storms this hurricane season, the Red Cross recommends having the following supplies on hand:
- Water: At least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
- Food: At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Copies of personal documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, lease or deed to home)
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Emergency blanket
- Insect repellent and sunscreens
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Rain gear
University of Miami to suspend classes until Wednesday
The University of Miami said it has canceled classes at the Coral Gables, marine and medical campuses beginning at noon on Friday, August 30 through Tuesday, September 3. The university also said it is putting storm shutters in place and positioning sandbags near doorways at those three campuses.
Their emergency information hotline has been setup: 1-800-227-0354
Trump posts video about “monster” Dorian
President Trump has posted a video on Twitter encouraging Florida residents to prepare for Hurricane Dorian as the government makes its own preparations.
In a video posted Thursday evening from the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said Dorian initially appeared to be a small storm, but has grown quickly over the past day.
Mr. Trump said: “It’s looking like it could be an absolute monster.”
Florida power company secures 13,000 workers
Florida Power and Light activated its emergency response team Thursday, securing nearly 13,000 workers to help restore power. The state’s largest power company also urged customers to prepare for possible power outages.
“We’re actively working with other utilities from across the United States to secure additional crews and equipment and pre-positioning resources in advance of the storm’s landfall, so we are ready to respond as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power and Light.
Georgia declares state of emergency in 12 counties
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency for 12 counties along the state’s coastline. The declaration, which went into effect Thursday, frees up state resources and prohibits price gouging for goods and services.
Air Force evacuates aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base
The U.S. Air Force has begun evacuating KC-135 aircraft at the MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, CBS affiliate WTSP-TV reported. The planes were evacuated as a precaution and are expected to return when the storm passes. Officials do not expect to evacuate service members and staff from the facility.
“The safety of our service members, families, and aircraft are paramount,” said Colonel Stephen Snelson.
Rolling Stones reschedule Florida performance
Rolling Stones fans in South Florida will be able to get some satisfaction, just a day earlier than originally scheduled, CBS Miami reported. The Rolling Stones concert, scheduled for Saturday, August 31 at the Hard Rock Stadium, is being moved ahead to Friday night, August 30 because of the storm.
All tickets will be honored for the new date. Miami is the final stop on the Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” tour, which was already delayed once when Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery.
Kennedy Space Center prepares for Dorian
NASA civil servants and contractors at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are bracing for high winds and rain from Dorian. Ahead of the storm, they are securing rocket stages, spacecraft assembly areas and even hauling a 6.7-million-pound mobile launch tower, designed for the huge rocket being built for the Artemis moon program, back to the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building for safekeeping.
The 355-foot-tall gantry structure, carried atop a squat Apollo-era crawler-transporter, is scheduled to begin the 4.2-mile trip from launch complex 39B back to the protection of the VAB at dawn Friday — a journey that’s expected to take more than eight hours to complete.
The VAB was designed to withstand winds of 125 miles per hour without major damage. The highest wind ever recorded at NASA’s seaside launch pads during an earlier hurricane was around 115 mph.
— Bill Harwood
Trump cancels Poland trip ahead of the storm
President Trump on Thursday canceled his trip to Poland ahead of the storm. Mr. Trump made the announcement during a White House event launching the U.S. Space Command.
“To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm I have decided to send our vice president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place,” the president said. “It’s something very important for me to be here.”
Mr. Trump said he would reschedule his Poland trip for some point in the not-so-distant future.
Residents stock up as others leave town
Some Florida residents are stockpiling supplies, while others are packing up and leaving the state ahead of the storm. The shelves were empty at one Publix in the city of Lake Worth
“We have three kids at home and a cat and just trying to prepare. We were very relaxed but everybody’s getting into it, so we wanted to make sure we got prepared,” resident Carrie Dorman told CBS Miami.
Others were making plans to leave. Tommy Ligorie and his daughter were trying to get back to New York, not wanting to stick around to see where Dorian ends up.
“Unfortunately I called this morning to see if we could get flights out and it was all booked up. And the flights I did find were unfortunately way high and we couldn’t afford it, so we have to take the route and driving back,” Ligorie said.
NASA captures images of Dorian from space
Video from the International Space Station shows the Category 1 storm around 1:05 p.m. ET as it moved across the Atlantic and north of Puerto Rico. The space station shared video on its official Twitter account Thursday.
— Peter Martinez
83 flights within the U.S. canceled
Airlines have canceled 83 flights to, from and within the U.S., according to FlightAware.com. Seventy-eight flights were canceled Thursday and five have been canceled for Friday.
The number of cancellations should increase closer to Monday morning as Dorian makes landfall on Florida’s east coast. Expect flights to and from Orlando, Miami and other airports in that area to be most affected.
— Kris Van Cleave
Florida governor declares state of emergency
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Thursday for all of the state’s 67 counties. On Wednesday, he declared a state of emergency only for counties that were expected to be in Dorian’s path.
DeSantis encouraged residents to gather seven days of supplies, including water, food and medicine. “If you’re in the path of this storm — anywhere on the east coast of Florida — make your preparations,” he said at a press conference Thursday. “Take action.”
DeSantis said people who live in the area where Dorian makes landfall should expect to lose power. “If you live in an area that experiences flooding, well, you’re looking at potential serious significant water and flooding because of this event, so prepare for that,” he said.
The governor urged people to listen to their local officials and follow any evacuation orders.
“Life-threatening flash floods” possible
The National Hurricane Center warned early Thursday that heavy rain from Dorian could cause “life-threatening flash floods” in parts of the Bahamas and southeastern U.S. coast.
The center forecast 2-4 inches of rain in some parts of the Bahamas, with six inches in isolated spots, and 4-8 inches with an upside of a foot in other areas of the Bahamas and coastal southeastern U.S.
CBS News weather producer David Parkinson pointed out that, “With a new supermoon and the angle the storm is approaching from, widespread coastal flooding, including severe coastal flooding is likely. In addition, as the storm is coming in for landfall, it looks like it might lose some of the steering currents,” slowing it down and resulting in even more rain.
Florida residents begin gathering supplies
Miami resident Lanada Means said she purchased plywood at Home Depot on Wednesday to begin preparing for the storm. “My daughter messages me on Instagram and asked me if I knew about the storm, and I didn’t, so I came here on my lunch break. Tomorrow is gonna be crazy,” she told CBS Miami.
Carol Brafman said she is buying enough supplies for five family members. “They come to my house because I have a generator,” she told CBS Miami. “We’ve been through [Hurricane] Andrew and the last one we went north to Carolina. It’s not easy. None of us know.”
— Justin Carissimo
Flooding and power outages in U.S. Virgin Islands
There were some reports of power outages and flooding in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra, the Associated Press reported. But Culebra Mayor William Solís said only one community lost power Wednesday.
“We’re happy because there are no damages to report,” Solís told the AP.
U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. closed schools and government offices and issued a curfew from noon Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday morning. “This means that only emergency responders and those providing essential services would be permitted on the road at this time,” he said in a statement. “We ask for the public’s full cooperation during this time.”
— Justin Carissimo
80-year-old man dies in Bayamón
Puerto Rican police said an 80-year-old man died in Bayamón on Wednesday as he made preparations ahead of the storm, the Associated Press reported. The victim fell from the roof of his home after attempting to clear debris off of it.
— Justin Carissimo