•Governors of southern states warned residents to leave immediately on Wednesday, as Hurricane Dorian crept up the south east coast of the US. Millions of people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas, with the storm projected to impact Georgia and South Carolina on Thursday.
•Dorian was moving along Florida’s northeastern coast at 9 mph Wednesday afternoon. Forecasters said it had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (169 kph) and was centered about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south of Charleston, South Carolina.
•Henry McMaster, governor of South Carolina, warned residents in the state’s evacuation zones: “You need to get out” on Wednesday. People living in the evacuation zones, which span almost the entire length of the Carolinas, still have time to get out, McMaster said, but: “Once the wind speeds reach up to 40 mph, we can no longer come in to get you.”
•Charleston could face historic flooding, the National Weather Service warned, with a combined high tide and storm surge potentially reaching 10.3ft at Charleston Harbor – just shy of the record 12.5ft set by Hugo in 1989.
•Dorian could cause more than 700,000 power outages in eastern regions of North Carolina and South Carolina, Duke Energy said, while Georgia Power said about 2,800 homes and businesses were already without electricity in the state.
That’s all for our live coverage – read the main news story here.
Dorian threatens to bring record flooding to Charleston, South Carolina and could swamp low-lying regions from Georgia to southeastern Virginia, Associated Press reports:
Dorian appeared likely to get dangerously near Charleston, which is particularly vulnerable since it is located on a peninsula. A flood chart posted by the National Weather Service projected a combined high tide and storm surge around Charleston Harbor of 10.3 feet (3.1 meters); the record, 12.5 feet (4 meters), was set by Hugo in 1989.
Stores and restaurants were boarded up with wood and corrugated metal in the city’s historic downtown, and about 830,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders on the South Carolina coast. More than 400 people were in state-operated shelters statewide, and more were expected.
The acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Peter Gaynor, said 4,000 federal responders; 6,000 National Guard members; and 40,000 utility workers were on standby for the hurricane.
“We are ready to go,” Gaynor said. “We’ll follow Dorian up the coast until it is not a threat to the U.S.”
David Jones, a reporter in Jacksonville, Florida – where Dorian has been parked offshore for some time now – posts this:
Utility companies say Hurricane Dorian could leave hundreds of thousands without electricity in the southeastern United States as it moves up the Atlantic Coast.
Duke Energy says the slow-moving storm could cause more than 700,000 power outages in eastern regions of North Carolina and South Carolina based on current predictions, Associated Press reports.
Duke says outages could last for several days, and problems are expected as far as 100 miles (161 kilometers) inland. Georgia Power says about 2,800 homes and businesses are without power in coastal areas of Georgia and several thousand utility customers are in the dark in northeast Florida.
Bricks of cocaine have been washing ashore in Florida after Dorian passed parallel to the coast, police said.
According to NBC news, at 8am this morning “a Melbourne police officer on foot patrol at Paradise Beach Park was alerted by a beachgoer that something suspicious appeared to have washed ashore”.
It turned out to be a kilogram of cocaine, police told NBC.
At Cocoa Beach, 20 miles north of Melbourne, a duffel bag containing 15 bricks of cocaine washed up on the sand.
“In the Orlando area, one kilo of cocaine is estimated to be worth $20,000 to $30,000,” according to NBC News.
South Carolina governor: 'You need to get out'
Henry McMaster, governor of South Carolina, has warned residents in the state’s evacuation zones: “You need to get out”. McMaster said there is still time for people to leave at-risk areas – which encompass more than 800,000 South Carolinians – but they should do so immediately.
“Once the wind speeds reach up to 40 mph, we can no longer come in to get you,” McMaster said, according to South Carolina news channel WBTW News 13:
McMaster repeated three times, people living in the evacuation zones still have time to get out “but you need to get out.” The governor had said on Tuesday people should have evacuated by Wednesday morning.
“The fact the center of the hurricane is not inland doesn’t mean much because hurricane winds still will affect the coast,” McMaster said. Hurricane Dorian is expected to hit the Beaufort and Hilton Head area around 6 to 8 a.m. Thursday morning and work it’s way up the coast.
The governor reported Charleston already is experiencing flooding brought on my king tide. “It is the water that kills people. It is the water that is the real danger. And it is clear we’re going to have a lot of water.”
“Hurricane Dorian will be pushing the water inland and the rain is calculated to be 10 to 15 inches, so we’re going to have a collision of water along the coast.”
Trump appears to display altered map of Dorian's trajectory
Donald Trump, or someone close to Donald Trump, appears to have gone to extreme lengths to prove the president’s completely wrong claim that Dorian was going to hit Alabama.
A closer look at the graphic Trump held up in his White House briefing earlier shows that a little black loop has been added to the National Hurricane Center’s projection of Dorian’s path.
That belatedly added loop rings Alabama into the path of Dorian. On Sunday Trump claimed, wrongly, that Dorian could hit Alabama.
The National Weather Service, a government agency, quickly responded that Alabama would NOT see any impact from Alabama. Rather than backdown, Trump yet again wrongly claimed Alabama might be effected.
Could this be an attempt to show the president was correct? (Even though he wasn’t?) It’s unclear at the moment. But we do know that it is against the law to alter a government weather warning – punishable by up to 90 days in prison.
Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.
This is the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, showing Dorian hovering east of the Florida panhandle.
Here’s some footage of the extensive damage in the Bahamas, where roughly 13,000 homes have been destroyed:
Trump on Dorian: 'Hopefully, we're going to be lucky'
Donald Trump has been speaking about the hurricane in the Oval office.
“We got lucky in Florida, very very lucky indeed. We had actually ... our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly,” Trump said. The president held up a piece of cardboard with a map of Dorian’s previously predicted path.
“It was going to be hitting directly and that would have affected a lot of other states. And it took a right turn and ultimately, hopefully, we’re going to be lucky.”
However Trump added: “We don’t know where the hurricane is turning.”
Trump said he hoped the US would “get lucky” in South and North Carolina and Georgia.
Rubio to ask Trump for help over visas
Florida’s Republican Senator and failed 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio has just tweeted the following: “I will be asking the Trump Administration to consider suspending certain visa requirements for citizens of the Bahamas displaced by #HurricaneDorian & with close relatives in the US.”
It’s not yet clear precisely where the Bahamas sits on Trump’s world list of countries ranging from beloved ally to sh**hole or how he might view such a suggestion of migration, however temporary, into the US, so good luck, Senator, for real, keep us posted.
The UK and Iceland will feel the effects of Dorian next week, according to AccuWeather meterologist Jason Nicholls:
A handy guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on dealing with the storm:
Nearly 400,000 people under mandatory evacuation order in North Carolina
Approximately 396,000 residents are under mandatory evacuation orders, according to North Carolina’s joint information center spokeswoman Laura Leonard.
On Monday Henry McMaster, the governor of South Carolina, ordered 830,000 to leave areas likely to be affected by the storm. Charleston was among the mandatory evacuation zones, along with parts of counties to the north.
Full details of the areas where evacuation orders are in place can be found on the North Carolina department of public safety website.
Rescue crews in the Bahamas fanned out across a blasted landscape of smashed and flooded homes Wednesday, trying to reach drenched and stunned victims of Hurricane Dorian and take the full measure of the disaster, Associated Press reports from Freeport:
National Security Minister Marvin Dames said rescue teams were fanning out as the winds and rain subsided, with more than 600 police officers and marines in Grand Bahama and 100 in Abaco.
“The devastation is unlike anything that we’ve ever seen before,” he said. “We’re beginning to get on the ground, get our people in the right places. We have a lot of work in the days and weeks and months ahead.”
Rescuers used jet skis, boats and even a bulldozer to reach children and adults trapped by the swirling waters, while the U.S. Coast Guard, Britain’s Royal Navy and disaster relief organizations tried to get food and medicine to survivors and take the most desperate people to safety.
Five Coast Guard helicopters ran near-hourly flights to stricken Abaco, flying people to the main hospital in the capital, Nassau.
Health Minister Duane Sands said the government was airlifting 25 doctors, nurses and other health workers to Abaco and hoped to bring in mental health workers soon.
“The situation is under control in Abaco,” he said. “In Grand Bahama, today will tell the magnitude of the problem.”
Hurricane warning extended to North Carolina-Virginia border
The National Hurricane Center has extended its hurricane and storm surge warnings up to the Virginia border.
In its 11am update, the NHC extended the hurricane warning to the Albemarle Sound, in north-east North Carolina. The center’s projection map shows Dorian passing the North Carolina coast at 2am Friday.
A storm surge watch is in effect into Poquoson, Virginia, 15 miles north-west of Virginia Beach.
As a reminder: a storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening risk from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. According to the NHC: “Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”
Images continue to emerge of the destruction Dorian left behind in the Bahamas.
Here’s a look at where Dorian was at 10am this morning, courtesy of the National oceanic and atmospheric administration:
Spared from the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, people in South Florida are donating water, food and household supplies in a relief effort spearheaded by descendants of some of Miami’s earliest settlers from the Bahamas, the Associated Press reports from Miami.
Floridians showed up in droves Tuesday to give cans of food, bottles of water and boxes of diapers to members of two historically black churches who were sorting them before they were to be flown to the devastated islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“We have to channel all that anxiety into something positive,” relief coordinator Jonathan Archer said. Archer is the former head of a parish in Long Island, Bahamas, and current rector of the Christ Episcopal Church in Miami’s historic Coconut Grove neighborhood, some of whose first settlers hailed from the Bahamas.
Some of the volunteers were frantically trying to text cousins, uncles, aunts and nieces who braved the powerful storm in their island homes. Few had any luck Tuesday.
“I am grateful that we weren’t hit but the severity of the damage in Abaco and Freeport just breaks my heart,” said Diane Alexander, a 57-year-old retired teacher who has cousins in Nassau. Alexander bought provisions for Dorian then decided to donate them when the storm no longer threatened a direct hit on Florida.
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that Google, which owns YouTube, would pay $170 million to settle allegations of illegally collecting data from children.
The New York Times reports:
The measures were part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New York’s attorney general. They said YouTube had violated a federal children’s privacy law known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. ...
To settle the charges, YouTube agreed to pay $170 million, of which $136 million will go to the F.T.C. and $34 million to New York. The sum represents the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the F.T.C. in a children’s privacy case, dwarfing the previous record fine of $5.7 million that the agency levied this year against the owner of TikTok, a social video-sharing app.
Under the settlement, which the F.T.C. approved in a 3 to 2 vote, YouTube also agreed to set up a system that asks video channel owners to identify the children’s content they post so that targeted ads are not placed in those videos. YouTube must also obtain consent from parents before collecting or sharing personal details like their child’s name or photos, regulators said. ...
But critics warned that the fine and measures against YouTube did not go far enough to protect children’s privacy.
Georgia and the Carolinas brace for Hurricane Dorian's impact
Good morning, live blog readers!
Hurricane Dorian is slowly making its way past Florida and up the coast toward Georgia and the Carolinas, which could face “destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges”, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Florida appears to have emerged from the storm with much less devastation than many feared, but the Bahamas were not so lucky. Other countries have offered aid to help with the recovery and rescue operations, but the Bahamian prime minister called Dorian “the greatest national crisis in our country’s history”.
And although Dorian has decreased in intensity since battering the Bahamas, it could still unleash intense rainfall and flooding in Georgia and the Carolinas, where the storm is expected to strike closer to the coastline. So all eyes remain on the path of the hurricane.