(AFP) — Hurricane Dorian crept towards the southeast coast of the United States on Tuesday, weakening slightly but remaining a dangerous storm after leaving a trail of death and destruction in the Bahamas.
At least five deaths have been reported in the Bahamas from a storm which Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called a “historic tragedy” for the Atlantic archipelago.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Dorian, which has dumped as much as 30 inches (76 centimetres) of rain on the Bahamas, had been downgraded from a Category 3 to a Category 2 storm on the five-level wind scale.
At 11:00 am (1500 GMT), it said Dorian was packing maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (175 kilometres) per hour, down from 115 mph, the NHC said.
Dorian was located about 105 miles east of Fort Pierce, Florida, and moving in a northwesterly direction towards the Florida coast at a snail’s pace of two mph, it said.
The NHC said Grand Bahama Island was continuing to experience dangerous winds, life-threatening storm surge and extreme flooding from the heavy rain.
The hazardous conditions would continue through much of Tuesday on Grand Bahama Island, which is the northernmost island in the archipelago and home to its largest city, Freeport, the NHC said.
It said Dorian was expected to pick up speed and grow in size during the day and turn towards the north on Wednesday evening.
“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 and Thursday night,” the NHC said.