The northwestern Bahamas would take a beating until then, with possible storm surges of as much as 18 to 23 feet - enough to flood the island's many low-lying areas - along with more than two feet of rain. The fate of Florida remains uncertain as the storm churns in the ocean just 175 miles away.
Dorian made landfall Sunday afternoon as a Category 5 hurricane on the southern end of the Bahamas' Elbow Cay.
Millions from Florida to the Carolinas kept a wary eye on the slow-moving Dorian amid indications it would veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the U.S. Southeast seaboard.
The maximum sustained winds are now at 165mph - dropping 20mph from its peak of 185mph on Sunday evening.
It was tied with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, based on maximum sustained winds.
In a statement, the National Weather Service forecast office in Melbourne, Florida, said "The situation has become more serious, especially for the east central Florida coastal counties", based on recent forecast guidance.
The Bahamas Press tweeted that the storm had killed one - Lachino Mcintosh, seven. Zone B includes the barrier islands, land areas north and south of the Jupiter Inlet, and other surge-vulnerable areas south along the Intracoastal Waterway to the Broward County line. While many people focus on winds, most hurricane deaths are caused by storm surge and drowning from flooding.
While another woman posted a selfie of herself being windswept on A1A beach in Florida.
After the Bahamas, the slow-crawling storm was forecast to turn sharply and skirt toward the U.S. coast, staying just off Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday and then buffeting SC and North Carolina on Thursday.
Florida weather officials warned late Sunday that Hurricane Dorian-the Category 5 monster that continues to batter parts of the Bahamas with 185 miles per hour winds- is the strongest storm to ever threaten the state's East Coast.
The hurricane was expected to move toward the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday.
The agency confirmed the hurricane is causing "catastrophic damage" to the Abacos and Grand Bahama Islands, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory published at 11 a.m. Forecasters say ocean levels could rise up to 20 feet (6 meters) in parts of the northern Bahamas with the storm surge topped with huge waves. As the Hurricane Center writes: "Residents in these areas should continue to monitor the progress of Dorian".
Dorian "is going off the charts in a hurry", Klotzbach said.
Authorities in Florida also ordered mandatory evacuations in some vulnerable coastal areas starting either Sunday or Monday from Palm Beach County north to at least the Daytona Beach area, and some counties to the north issued voluntary evacuation notices. Parts of Duval, St Johns and Nassau County are under mandatory evacuation. Dorian is moving toward the west near 7 miles per hour (11 km/h).
Officials say Jacksonville beaches will close Sunday night as they are expecting significant rip currents.
"The name of the game is forward speed", Truchelut said.
"Understand: Even if it doesn't directly strike Florida ... you're looking at major flooding events", Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Saturday.
If Dorian doesn't slow down and stop by Monday, the odds for a strike in Florida rise, said Jim Rouiller, chief meteorologist at the Energy Weather Group outside Philadelphia.
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