Hurricane Dorian has strengthened to a Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 220 km/h, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Friday.
And the storm is only expected to grow stronger.
The northwestern Bahamas have been issued a hurricane warning, exempting Andros Island, where there’s just a hurricane watch.
Authorities typically issue hurricane warnings when one is expected within the area that’s being alerted, about 36 hours before it’s projected to hit.
Hurricane watches are issued with an expected window of 48 hours, the NHC said.
Wind conditions consistent with a hurricane can be expected in the northwestern Bahamas by Sunday, with winds accelerating starting on Saturday night.
The storm could hit close to Florida’s east coast on Monday.
Attractions including Walt Disney World, the NASA launchpads and U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort could be vulnerable to the hurricane.
The NHC has warned of a “life-threatening storm surge” that could bring water levels up to 15 feet above normal tide levels in the northwestern Bahamas.
The coast can expect large, destructive waves, it said.
Increased rainfall could also lead to “life-threatening flash floods.”
Numerous resorts throughout the Bahamas have issued advisories warning guests about storm conditions — and closures, in numerous cases.
The Grand Lucayan Resort has closed until the threat from Dorian has passed.
Meanwhile, the Hope Town Inn and Marina was expected to close at 3 p.m. local time on Friday to finish its storm preparations.
The Big Game Club Resort said it was completing marina and resource evacuation on Friday morning, and the Firefly Sunset Resort said it was closing down as the hurricane approached.
The Abaco Beach Resort issued an advisory saying guests may experience high winds, rain and that resort amenities and services could be limited.
The High Commission of Canada in Jamaica, which oversees consular services in the Bahamas, issued a tweet advising people to know the risks of a storm, make a plan and have an emergency kit at the ready.
Tourists on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, were left scrambling on Friday, struggling to arrive at the airport before it shut down at 10 p.m. local time.
Bahamian residents, meanwhile, were left sealing their homes and businesses before the storm was expected to hit.
“We’ve been through it before, so we know how to prepare,” Amanda Ormerod, owner of a Grand Bahama chocolate shop.
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