Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 5 storm, the most powerful classification, as it heads toward the Bahamas, with Florida expected to be hit by early Monday.
The storm now has 160 mph winds, with gusts as high as 200 mph. Storm surges could top 20 feet in some areas.
Forecasts indicate Dorian will travel near the coast of Florida through Monday and then swing north, but will stay largely at sea. The coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas could still suffer significant damage from the winds and storm surge waters.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch today for the Florida coast from Deerfield Beach to the Brevard-Volusia county line north of Titusville. A tropical storm warning extends north from there. “Heavy rains, capable of producing life-threatening flash floods, are possible,” the center said.
Walt Disney World in Orlando is operating normally ahead of Hurricane Dorian. The park’s new Galaxy’s Edge attraction was even said to be crowded. But Disney is monitoring conditions, and has cancelled weekend sporting events and closing Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park today.
Guests at the following resorts have been contacted to plan for anticipated weather: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Florida Keys officials have asked visitors to leave if possible, but no mandatory evacuation is in effect, and hotels are serving guests.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) will halt commercial flights on Monday beginning at 2 a.m., the airport announced on Twitteron Friday. Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) will be closed after the last flight tonight and it will remain closed until further notice, the airport said in a statement late Friday. Its airfield will only be open for emergencies and the airport is “not a shelter.”
In the Bahamas, Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) in Freeport closed on Friday and will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The airport’s statement noted that the opening “is subject to prevailing conditions.”