Hurricane Dorian, now Category 4 on a scale of 5, was approaching Saturday in a hugely threatening way to the Bahamas but could save Florida.
According to the latest forecast from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian is expected to continue westward over the weekend before diving north along the shores of the Sunshine State.
“A lot of movement, very difficult to predict,” summed up US President Donald Trump in a tweet, noting that Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina would likely be on the front line mid-week ahead.
According to the NHC, the hurricane hit Sunday the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, in northwestern Bahamas. “Devastating winds” are to be expected, he warned.
“People have been preparing since Wednesday,” Yasmin Rigby, who lives in Freeport, Grand Bahama, told AFP that memories of hurricanes Frances and Jeanne (2004) and Wilma (2005) were still very much alive in the world. minds.
– “Be careful!” –
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has called for mobilization. “Those who do not want to evacuate put themselves in great danger, I conjure you: do not try to brave the hurricane”.
“People are worried about a rising water, everything is so flat in the Bahamas,” said Lucy Worboys, resident of the capital, Nassau. The return of her children, she explains, was postponed from Monday to Wednesday, possibly Thursday.
Donald Trump, who canceled the trip to Poland this weekend, followed Saturday the evolution of the situation since his golf in Virginia, on the banks of the Potomac, before joining Camp David for the evening. “It's one of the most powerful hurricanes (…) for decades, be careful!” He said.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in his state. “The strength and unpredictability of the storm compels us to prepare for all scenarios,” he said.
The state of emergency had already been declared in Florida and in a dozen counties in the state of Georgia. This measure makes it possible to better mobilize the public services of the State and to resort if necessary to the federal aid.
– “Get ready” –
If a form of relief prevailed in Miami, residents remained cautious and the city's distribution of sandbags to fight the floods continued.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has urged people to “stay alert”.
“I'm on my guard because it can still evolve, in the 12 or 24 hours before the hurricane reaches the coast, everything can change,” said David Duque, 30. “I live in Florida for 15 years, better to prepare than to wait without doing anything”.
Florida, consisting mainly of a peninsula in the southeastern United States, is on the front line of the hurricane season every year.
With a very flat relief, the coastline is particularly threatened by rising water. The center of the land is also characterized by low altitudes. For the inhabitants, the main threat is therefore floods.
– Emergency state –
The latest projections remove the prospect of major damage at the resort of West Palm Beach where Mr. Trump has his famous golf club Mar-a-Lago, which he calls his “Winter White House”.
This geographic proximity provided the former Prime Minister of Canada the opportunity for a spike to the Republican billionaire. “I'm dreaming of a frontal (hurricane) strike against Mar-a-Lago,” Kim Campbell said, recalling that Trump denied climate change.
“Mar-a-lago can handle itself, it's a very powerful place, and what worries me is the state of Florida,” said the US president on Friday night.
According to a relief coordinator, 12,000 soldiers are currently in Florida pending the arrival of Dorian.