Hurricane Dorian upgraded to Category 5 storm, 160mph winds set for landfall

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Hurricane Dorian has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm by the US National Hurricane Center, with the potential to wreak destruction once it makes land. The storm is currently en route to the Bahamas.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Dorian to Category 5 on Sunday, placing it in the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Sustained winds of 160mph (257 kph) are expected, with the power to cause irreparable damage to all but the most reinforced concrete and steel structures.

Hurricane Michael was the last Category 5 storm to make landfall in the US, striking Florida last October. Michael reduced entire neighborhoods to rubble, triggered flooding and power outages, and caused more than 30 deaths.

Dorian is expected to pass over the Abaco Islands on Sunday afternoon, and Grand Bahama later in the evening. From there it is expected to slow down and bear north, grazing along Florida’s east coast. Though capable of less damage along this path than if it were to directly strike Florida, the NHC has still warned Floridians of “life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds.”

With several days to go before Dorian approaches the US mainland, residents in Florida have already begun boarding up their homes and stockpiling supplies. At least one county has issued an evacuation order.

For some residents of the Bahamas, the time to evacuate has passed. Hundreds of people on the low-lying cays of the Abaco islands failed to heed evacuation warnings, Eyewitness News has reported. 

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