Hurricane Dorian's path towards the Florida coast stalled overnight as the Category Three storm held its eye over the Bahamas and pounded the island with wind speeds of 120 miles per hour and serve flooding that lead to the death of at least five people and caused billions in damages.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tuesday that Dorian is stuck 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, as it inches along at just 1 mile per hour, and has been downgraded to a Category Three storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. However, despite its reduced wind speeds, Dorian remains an "extremely dangerous" storm with the potential to bring "life threatening" surges to Florida's Atlantic coast over the next 36 hours.
"A slow north-northwestward motion is expected to begin this morning. A turn to the north is forecast by Wednesday evening, followed by a turn to the north-northeast Thursday morning," the NHC said. "On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island today."
"The hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late today through Wednesday evening, very near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday, and near or over the North Carolina coast late Thursday." the NHC added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged residents on Florida's Atlantic coast to "get out now while you have time or there's fuel available, and you'll be safe on the roads" during a Monday press conference, and has issued mandatory evacuation orders for parts of nearly every county on the state's eastern seaboard.
Travel in and out of the state's main airports in Orlando and Miami has also been affected, with Delta Airlines (DAL) - Get Report cancelling as many as 55 scheduled flights for today and American Airlines (AAL) - Get Report suspending takeoffs at seven airports in Florida and the Bahamas.
With the massive storm now expected to move up the Carolina coast as it slowly makes it way eastward, states of emergency have been declared as far north as Virginia, where Governor Ralph Northam urged state residents to "take all necessary precautions to make sure they are prepared as well."
"It cannot be stressed enough that only a small deviation to the left of the NHC forecast could bring the core of the extremely dangerous hurricane onshore of the Florida east coast within the hurricane warning area," the NHC said. "In addition, Dorian's wind field is predicted to expand, which would bring hurricane-force winds closer to the east coast of Florida even if the track does change."