Extreme flooding in Freeport from Hurricane Dorian

Video A tattered Bahamian flag hangs over debris after the monster storm Hurricane Dorian

It was moving northwest at 2 mph, below walking speed, and was about 105 miles east of Fort Pierce, Florida.

The storm's relentless winds and rain battered homes and businesses on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have a combined population of about 70,000 and are no more than 40 feet (12 meters) above sea level at their highest points.

Now a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, Dorian was expected to remain in that category until Saturday, when it should drop to a Category 1 with wind speeds of about 85 miles per hour.

The storm hovered over the islands for nearly 24 hours.

As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

Although Dorian wasn't forecasted to make landfall, the NHC noted that the wind field increased and any deviation of the track to the east would wring hurricane-force winds onshore along portions of Florida's east coast.

"It is scary", he said, adding that people were moving from one shelter to another as floodwaters kept surging.

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While the storm may not make a direct landfall over the United States, there will be big indirect impacts from tropical storm force winds, heavy rainfall, coastal flooding and storm surge from Florida up to the Carolinas through the week ahead.

Authorities in Florida also ordered some mandatory evacuations.

Palm Beach County, the state's third most-populated county and home to President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, was among those with partial mandatory evacuations.

A Tropical Storm Warning has now been issued north of Ponte Vedra Beach Florida to Altamaha Sound Georgia. It remained almost stationary 25 miles northeast of Freeport, Bahamas and 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida - the same position it was in at 9 a.m. Monday.

"It's like a ghost town". "I think people know the drill and have places set up to stay".

Dorian was tied with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, based on maximum sustained winds.

It will move very close to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas over the next few days. Allen in 1980 was the most powerful, with 190-mile (306-kph) winds, the NHC said.

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