LIVE: Millions ordered to evacuate as deadly Hurricane Dorian churns toward Southeast US coast
By Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer & AccuWeather Staff,
As Hurricane Dorian hits the Bahamas, residents can do nothing but hunker down for safety. However, before the storm even made landfall on Sunday, Sept. 1, the storm was causing damage as you can see from the video.
After wreaking historic havoc in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian on Monday was crawling towards the southeastern United States with major hurricane fury, disrupting Americans’ Labor Day celebrations from Florida up to North Carolina.
With uncertainty lingering about Dorian’s path through midweek, millions of people living along the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have been forced to evacuate. In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency on Sunday and urged residents to be prepared and cautious.
“North Carolina has endured flooding from two strong hurricanes in less than three years,” Cooper said in a statement. “Now is the time to prepare for Dorian. To the people of North Carolina, particularly those still recovering in the eastern part of our state, we are working hard to prepare and we are with you.”
In South Carolina and Georgia, Gov. Henry McMaster and Gov. Brian Kemp enacted mandatory evacuations for over 1 million people to take effect on Monday at noon. McMaster signed the Executive Order on Aug. 31, and Kemp signed his Executive Order on Sep. 1, ordering residents living east of I-95 to evacuate.
South Carolina’s evacuation order covers around 830,000 people, which McMaster recognizes might not be supported by all. In order to make transportation efforts smoother, all lanes on major coastal highways will become one-ways heading inland on Monday afternoon.
“We can’t make everybody happy,” McMaster said. “But we believe we can keep everyone alive.”
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a State of Emergency on Thursday to include all 67 counties of the state. One of his main intentions for the State of Emergency declaration was to prevent fuel shortage issues that have plagued the state in years past.
“We just got off a video conference call with President Trump and the FEMA folks, governors McMaster, Cooper, DeSantis and I about the path of the hurricane and the preparations,” Kemp said in a video posted on Twitter on Sunday. “It’s still a massive storm and still heading our way. We’re hoping it’s going to turn north, but we need folks to remain vigilant and flexible. We will certainly keep you updated over the next 12 to 24 hours.”
President Donald Trump spoke with both DeSantis and Florida Sen. Rick Scott last week, assuring both that the state would receive the support necessary. In order to stay in the States for the storm, Trump opted to send Vice President Mike Pence in his place to a previously scheduled trip to Poland.
According to initial estimates from the Red Cross, more than 13,000 homes have been destroyed in the Bahamas from Dorian. In coastal cities of the southeastern US, officials are working to prepare residents for similar extreme damage.
Coastal cities in Florida were some of the first to evacuate, as DeSantis moved to suspend tolls on numerous major highways in order to assist with the movement of coastal residents.
In Melbourne Beach, a barrier island centrally located on Florida’s Atlantic coast, residents refused to take Hurricane Dorian lightly, despite forecasts suggesting the storm may not make landfall there. AccuWeather National Reporter Jonathan Petramala reported that many of the homes and business there have been boarded up for days in anticipation of Dorian’s wrath.
“Folks are not ready to believe that this is going to stay off the coast,” Petramala said in a report filed for the AccuWeather TV network.
A road is flooded during the passing of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)