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Dorian pushes north near Florida with Georgia, Carolinas on high alert

The hurricane was bringing winds, rain and the threat of storm surges from Florida to North Carolina as the Bahamas begin to asses storm devastation.

Sept. 4, 2019, 5:03 AM EDT / Updated Sept. 4, 2019, 6:33 AM EDT

NBC News

By Phil Helsel, Saphora Smith, Kurt Chirbas and Associated Press

Hurricane Dorian was on the move along the U.S. coastline early Wednesday, lashing the east coast of central Florida and eyeing the Carolinas.

The slow-moving storm devastated parts of the Bahamas where it killed at least seven people when it virtually stalled out over the northwestern islands.

Rain bands from the storm were drenching the northeastern coast of Florida at 5 a.m. Wednesday, the national hurricane center said. The storm is expected to come “dangerously close” to Florida’s east coast and the Georgia coast through Wednesday night, and forecasters with the National Hurricane Center say it will move near or over the South and North Carolina coasts Thursday through Friday morning.

Though the storm is now a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph — it was a Category 5 when it made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday — officials have warned residents to take precautions and to heed evacuation orders as it has the potential to produce storm surges of several feet.

Federal emergency declarations have been approved for four states — FloridaGeorgiaSouth Carolina and North Carolina — and the governor of Virginia had also declared a state of emergency.

The hurricane is expected to remain at about the same intensity for the next couple of days, and even if it does not make landfall, hurricane-force winds are expected to reach parts of the coast from central Florida to North Carolina, the hurricane center said.

The Latest on Dorian:

The forecast track of the hurricane continues to take it “dangerously close to the southeast U.S. coast,” the hurricane center said in a forecast discussion Wednesday morning.

“All interests from northeast Florida to the Carolinas should remain vigilant to the possibility of experiencing destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges from this hurricane,” the center said.

The center of Hurricane Dorian was around 100 miles east of Daytona Beach on Wednesday morning, and video showed winds and rain hitting parts of St. Augustine Beach, the coast southeast of Jacksonville, Cocoa Beach and more Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

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