Hurricane Dorian threatens the US after devastating the Bahamas

By Fernando Alfonso III, Rob Picheta, Kara Fox and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 2:18 p.m. ET, September 8, 2019
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9:47 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Why we can't bring you more from Great Abaco Island right now

Communication out of Great Abaco Island and the Bahamas remains limited after Hurricane Dorian unleashed havoc in the Atlantic.

Flooded structures and downed power lines have made communications a logistical challenge. Dorian lingered over the islands for days, leaving catastrophic damage in the form of 30 inches of rain in some parts.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann experienced these challenges first hand during a visit to Freeport, Grand Bahama, where he saw the lengths ordinary citizens had gone for their neighbors and loved ones in need.

Weather conditions in the Bahamas have improved dramatically today. However, outer bands will continue to track across the islands giving the chance for sporadic rain throughout the day, according to CNN meteorologist Judson Jones.

9:30 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

7 counties in Florida are still under mandatory evacuation

Evacuation orders have been lifted for Brevard County, according to the Brevard County Office of Emergency Management.

Officials there are currently working now to consolidate shelters according to the agency’s site.

Dorian continues to move to north parallel to Florida's east coast, according to the National Hurricane Center's 9 a.m. update.

Seven counties remain under mandatory evacuation orders in Florida:

  • Clay County 
  • Duval County
  • Flagler County 
  • Nassau County 
  • Putnam County 
  • St. Johns County 
  • Volusia County 

9:25 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

NASA astronaut: "You can feel the power of the storm when you stare into its eye from above"

From CNN's Doug Criss

You don't have to be down on Earth to comprehend the destructive power of Hurricane Dorian.

Just ask NASA astronaut Nick Hague.

He took this dramatic photo of Dorian from the safety of his perch inside the International Space Station and shared it on Twitter earlier this week. The angle of the photo allows you to peer directly down into the monster storm's eye.

"The eye of #HurricaneDorain," Hague wrote in the post. "You can feel the power of the storm when you stare into its eye from above. Stay safe everyone!"

9:23 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Dorian landfall in the Carolinas is a distinct possibility

As Dorian moves north through this week, CNN meteorologists are reporting that the storm's most devastating parts could hit the Carolina coast.

Dorian's close proximity to the coast and the fact that its eye is 50 miles wide means that even if the storm's center doesn't make landfall along the southeast US, its eye wall — with wind gusts of 100 mph — could pass over land, particularly as Dorian heads north, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

"If this storm is 30 miles offshore, that means the Carolina coast does, in fact, get the eye wall," he said Wednesday morning. "It may not get the center of the eye, but who cares? The center of the eye is calm. It is the eye wall that is the most important part. And as it turns on up toward the north ... even if it's offshore, the eye wall could be very much onshore."

Landfall is a distinct possibility on Thursday from Charleston to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said.

The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center forecast in its latest storm update Wednesday.

Read more about what Dorian is expected to do as it moves toward Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

9:20 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Florida man killed while trimming trees ahead of Dorian

From CNN's Tina Burnside

A 55-year-old Ocoee man was killed while trimming trees from around his house ahead of Hurricane Dorian. The incident happened on Monday evening.

Ocoee Fire Captain Corey Bowls tells CNN that the man was about 15-to-20 feet into the tree when a limb broke, causing the man to fall. He was transported to a local hospital, where he died. 

This is the second storm related death in Florida. A 68-year-old Indialantic man died on Sunday while putting up plywood on his home.

9:11 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Universal Orlando Resort parks to open today

All Universal Orlando Resort theme parks and CityWalk will open as regularly scheduled today, according to a weather update from Universal.

We continue to closely monitor the weather. At this time, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s CityWalk will open as scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 3, however, Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park will be closed and Blue Man Group shows canceled.
We will continue to share operational updates as needed.

They've promised continual updates on Twitter.

9:01 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

The current conditions in Jacksonville as Dorian approaches: Gray and drizzly, with a light breeze

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher

The center of Dorian is just under 100 miles off the Florida coast, but Jacksonville is experiencing only a steady light rain and breeze Wednesday morning as the city prepares for the storm.

Conditions are gray and drizzly and expected to worsen through mid-morning and early afternoon.

The St Johns river is at normal levels. At this time, all bridges in the Jacksonville area are open. Bridges may close around noon today if winds reach 40 mph.

In Flagler County, a couple small bridges are closed to visitors. Police are checking IDs before cars can drive across in an effort to keep visitors off the beaches. This is part of mandatory evacuation order. 

Sidney Lanier Bridge & the Talmadge bridge, which are both just across the state line in Georgia, are the only bridges completely closed at the moment.

8:46 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Orlando International Airport will resume operations at noon

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Orlando International Airport (MCO) will resume operations at noon today after airport management consulted the National Weather Service (NWS) regarding weather conditions. 

This allows enough time for damage assessment, sweeping the airfield for debris, security preparations, and staff call backs for airport and federal agency employees, MCO said in a news release.

Passengers should contact their airlines prior to arriving at the airport to ensure their flights are available. 

8:41 a.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Brevard County causeways are open again

From CNN's Tina Burnside

All causeways in Brevard County, Florida, have reopened as of this morning, according to Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.