Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET
Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 2 after spending more than a day thrashing Grand Bahama Island. The core of the storm is finally “moving away from Grand Bahama Island,” according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. But the storm still poses a threat of “dangerous winds and life-threatening storm surge … through this evening.”
While the NHC also says the once major hurricane has lost strength since it came ashore on the Abaco Islands over the weekend, an earlier advisory says Dorian is growing in size.
NHC adds the storm is picking up speed, ever so slightly, now moving toward the northwest at about 5 miles per hour “and a slightly faster motion” is expected later today and tonight, with a turn north forecast by Wednesday evening.
Dorian is a little more than 100 miles off the shore of Fort Pierce, Florida, and has maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, according the NHC.
The storm spent most of Monday and into the morning Tuesday essentially stalled over the Bahamas, relentlessly pounding the islands with high winds and catastrophic flooding.
As Hurricane Dorian begins to slowly accelerate towards the U.S. mainland, effects will likely be felt in parts of Florida this evening. Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia could feel the effects of Dorian in the coming days.
Experts forecast Dorian will “move dangerously close” to Florida’s east coast later Tuesday through Wednesday evening.
Much of Florida’s Atlantic coast from Jupiter Inlet near West Palm Beach to as far north to Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville are under a hurricane warning, according to the latest advisory.
South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters Tuesday, all of his state’s coastline is “either under a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning.”
“South Carolina is still in the path of what is a very destructive and deadly storm,” McMaster said.
He warned the storm could produce “dramatic flooding in the low country,” especially in the port city of Charleston. The state’s Edisto Beach north to the South Santee River are under a hurricane warning, according the NHC.
NHC says Dorian will move “very near” the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night “and near or over” North Carolina later in the week.
A hurricane watch is in effect for North Carolina’s coast up to Duck and including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
On Tuesday North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Roy Cooper issued a mandatory evacuation order for all of the states islands, stating that those in Dorian’s path “will be exposed to substantial risk of injury or death.”
The order goes into effect 8 a.m. local time Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Dorian Forms in Atlantic, Likely to Grow