An "Emergency shelter" sign points to the Pedro Menendez High School ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in St. Augustine, Florida, U.S., September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Hurricane Dorian headed to US after battering Bahamas: at least five killed in Bahamas

At least five people were reported to have been killed by Hurricane Dorian on Monday. The category 5 hurricane, inundating homes with flood water, is advancing to the U.S. coast. People in the area have been ordered to be evacuated.

Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, had been hovering over Grand Bahama Island for 36 hours by early Monday evening and was expected to stay put until at least Tuesday morning, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory at 5 p.m. EST (2100 GMT).

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that at least five people were killed in the Abaco Islands, telling they “are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of our northern Bahamas. ”

Dorian threatened to unleash a storm surge that could raise water levels by as much as 12 to 18 feet (4-5 meters) above normal on Grand Bahama Island, the NHC said.

As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

Dorian which was downgraded on late Monday morning, was expected to drift to the northwest late on Tuesday and stalk the coasts of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, the NHC said.

Nine counties in Florida have issued mandatory evacuation – they include: Duval County, home to Jacksonville, one of Florida’s two biggest cities, and some areas in Palm Beach County, home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged coastal residents to heed evacuation orders.

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