At 9 a.m. Monday, monster Hurricane Dorian's western movement had slowed to an agonizing 1 mile per hour, "adrift in a stalled flow with no steering currents" and extending the already battered northern Bahamas' nightmare. The Cat 5 storm's northward turn isn't expected until early Tuesday morning.
Strong winds and waves were starting to rake Florida's East Coast even with Hurricane Dorian some 100 miles to the east.
Officials in nine Florida counties have called for mandatory evacuations by daybreak and voluntary evacuations were called for in others. Airports began to close, and about 1,000 flights have been scrubbed, with more cancellations coming each hour.
"The hope of a reprieve for Florida from Dorian’s 200-mph wind gusts lies with the intervention of a weak upper level low pressure system over the Eastern U.S. that should nudge Dorian away from the state," say weather forecasters.
The National Weather Service in Melbourne said Dorian "will drift west to northwest very slowly today, and then turn to the northwest later tonight. The storm will then begin to move northwest to north-northwest Tuesday" just offshore of the Treasure Coast.
“To see a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane closing in on our 3rd most populous state is wildly unnerving,” meteorologist and strategic planner for FEMA Michael Lowry said in a social media post.
According to an early morning briefing, National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Molleda in Miami told reporters, “If the turn is delayed just a little bit, hurricane-force winds could make it all the way to the east coast of Florida ..."
There still are no guarantees how far Dorian will turn or where, or if he will make a turn at all. Reported The Palm Beach Post Monday morning, "Brian McNoldy, a researcher at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric Science, called the faith on forecast models 'borderline insane.'"
Meanwhile, the Bahamas Press claims Marsh Harbour, Murphy Town, and Dundas Town Abaco are all reporting mass devastation -- "communities destroyed and citizens left homeless."
Beware of disinformation -- particularly whitewashing -- warns the newspaper:
"... In a statement from the Ministry of Health, ... 'there have so far been no reported deaths on the island of Abaco, which is currently being impacted by Hurricane Dorian, other than the recent fatality in Sandy Point, Abaco.'
"However, our team from Abaco confirms, 'The place is a disaster, no business is operable and bodies are floating around Big Cat. The concern is nobody knows how many people died, and they feel when the water subsides some bodies will be washed out to sea.'
"Today (the government) denied callers from the affected areas the opportunity to call into the national network and hosts controlled the commentary on national tv."
Dorian is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall anywhere in the Bahamas when it hit with 185 mph winds Monday, Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach told the Post. The second strongest was Hurricane Andrew in 1992, with 160-mph winds.
The storm's slowdown, devastating for the islands, nevertheless has given Floridians more time to prepare or to reconsider whether they want to evacuate.