MILLIONS of Americans are braced for “killer” 8ft storm surges and flooding as Hurricane Dorian batters South Carolina.
The 115mph mega-storm pummelled the Bahamas for two days leaving widespread devastation and at least 20 people dead.
And the deadly vortex has now moved on to the US – and has strengthened back to a category 3 storm after dropping in power from category 5 to category 2.
Dorian began raking the south-eastern states early today, leaving tens of thousands without power and threatening to swamp low-lying coasts from Georgia to Virginia.
And authorities have issued a chilling warning to those still remaining in danger zones.
How hurricanes are measured
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed.
- A Category 1 storm has sustained winds of 74-95 mph
- A Category 2 storm has sustained winds of 96-110 mph
- A Category 3 storm has sustained winds of 111-129 mph
- A Category 4 storm has sustained winds of 130-156mph
- A Category 5 storm has sustained winds of 156mph+
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said: “We thought it was coming and here it is.
“Our message today is: if you are still in an evacuation zone, you still have time to get out. But time is running out.”
And His North Carolina counterpart begged: “Please don’t let familiarity get in the way of good judgement.”
More than two million residents along the south-eastern US coast have already fled inland ahead of Dorian’s arrival, NY Post reports.
It is feared the storm will bring “life threatening storm surges” and terrifying 115mph winds.
As the storm crept dangerously closer to Charleston, South Carolina, winds picked up sending rain sheets sideways.
Thunder boomed in the night sky and power flickered on and off in places after locals boarded up homes and businesses and headed for shelter.
Hundreds of thousands also were ordered off the Georgia coast, with Governor Brian Kemp warning: “We are very worried, especially about the barrier islands getting cut off.”
In North Carolina an 85-year-old man died after falling from a ladder while getting ready for Dorian.
Duke Energy said Dorian could cause more than 700,000 power outages in easternmost parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, and Georgia Power said about 2,800 homes and businesses were already without electricity.
The Navy ordered ships at its huge base in Norfolk, Virginia, to head to sea for safety, and warplanes at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, were being moved inland.
The commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic issued an emergency evacuation order for military personnel and their dependants in five North Carolina counties.
In Florida, there was widespread relief after the state escaped the battering it was initially predicted to take.
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Orlando, Florida’s international airport, reopened, after closing completely as Dorian approached.
Disney World and Universal also reopened after shutting their doors in the interests of visitor safety.
But the Magic Kingdom resembled a ghost town yesterday with many preferring to play it safe and stay away.
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