South Carolina on Sunday ordered nearly a million people living along its coastline to evacuate in anticipation of the arrival of Dorian, a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane that is currently battering the northern Bahamas.
The evacuation orders were announced on Sunday evening by Governor Henry McMaster, who is taking no chances despite forecasts saying that the storm will move parallel to the coast.
McMaster’s order goes into effect at noon Monday, when state troopers will begin reversing lanes so that people can all head inland on major coastal highways.
Authorities say the order covers approximately 830,000 people, many of whom will be evacuating for the fourth time in four years.
McMaster says he knows some people won’t be happy having to leave their home. But he says ‘we believe we can keep everyone alive.’
The National Hurricane Center forecasts the center of Dorian is to stay off shore while paralleling the South Carolina coast starting Wednesday afternoon.
But a small error in the forecast could send the eye and strongest winds into the state.
McMaster’s order was issued while Hurricane Dorian was pounding Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands in the archipelago east of South Florida.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian was centered at 8pm EDT on Sunday about 155 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
It remains a Category 5 storm with top sustained winds of 185 mph. The storm is moving west at 5 mph.
Hurricane center specialists say residents of Florida’s east coast now need to keep an eye on the storm in coming hours.
They add there is also an increasing likelihood of strong winds and dangerous storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina later in the week when Dorian is expected to track up the Southeast seacoast.
Mandatory evacuation orders in Florida for low-lying and flood-prone areas and mobile homes are taking effect starting either Sunday or Monday from Palm Beach County north to at least the Daytona Beach area, and some counties to the north issued voluntary evacuation notices.
Weekend traffic was light in Florida despite those orders, unlike during the chaotic run-up to Hurricane Irma in 2017 when unusually broad Irma menaced the entire state.
Current forecasts show only Florida’s east coast is affected, meaning residents may choose to flee westward.
Source: Daily Mail