Authorities in the Bahamas evacuated residents in the northern shore and low-lying islands Saturday, the Associated Press reported. Forecasters expect the storm to hit the Bahamas early on Sunday before curving outward.
Tourists in the Bahamas were sent to shelters in churches, schools and other buildings for protection, the AP reported.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis advised those still on the islands not to brave out the storm.
"Do not be foolish and try to brave out this hurricane," Minnis said at a news conference. "The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life."
The Prime Minister pleaded with residents in areas at risk – especially in Grand Cay and Sweeting Cay – to move to the mainlands. Dr Minnis said homes, houses and structures can be replaced, lives cannot.
He asked that those not willing to leave allow women, children and the elderly to go. Transportation – both public and private – is being provided. “Time will not be on our side,” the Prime Minister said. Residents are urged to carry identification and important information.
The Prime Minister is asking residents in the north of Abaco to move to the south and those in east and west Grand Bahama to move to shelters in the central area.
The storm could bring life-threatening levels of storm surge of up to 15 feet above normal tide levels in Great Abaco and Grand Bahama, the National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane Dorian, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm, is packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph with higher gusts. More than 20 million Americans could feel the storm's impact. Storm surges there could raise water levels 15-feet above normal.
As of 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Dorian's center was some 205 miles east of Great Abaco in the Bahamas and about 385 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm is moving west at about 8 mph.
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