Georgia teams offer free tickets to Hurricane Dorian evacuees

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter surveys damage from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas on Friday

Leaving at least 20 people dead in its wake in the devastated Bahamas, Dorian made its way up the Eastern Seaboard, sweeping past Florida on Wednesday at a relatively safe distance.

Minnis confirmed the storm's death toll had risen to at least 20 during a news conference in which he described the unthinkable damage that parts of his island nation had sustained.

'Marsh Harbour has suffered, I would estimate, in excess of 60% damage to their homes'. "Everything is gone, just bodies".

With telephones down on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, residents posted lists of missing loved ones across social media.

Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 3 storm, after exiting the Bahamas. But it weakened substantially in the days since, dropping from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm before increasing again late Wednesday.

Based on the latest radar and observations late Thursday morning, Dorian's center is spinning only about 50 miles east-southeast of the low-lying city of Charleston, South Carolina, and about 140 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. It was packing 115 miles per hour (185 kph) winds.

The NHC warned that Dorian would move near or over the coast of South or North Carolina on Thursday or Friday.

Officials said Thursday afternoon that more than 18cm of rain had fallen in parts of Charleston.

Strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain cover a walkway at the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida on September 3, 2019.

More than 185,000 homes and businesses were without power along the SC and Georgia coastal areas, according to the tracking site poweroutage.us.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Hundreds of shelter animals from coastal SC have arrived in DE ahead of Hurricane Dorian's expected landfall.

He and his family pumped water out of the yard and tried to reattach metal flood gates into the perimeter wall.

"The gates worked pretty well so far and we've managed to keep water away from the house", Stephens said. "If something happens, we can still get out of here", he told Reuters. The NOAA says "life-threatening storm surge and unsafe winds" are expected along the coasts of the Carolinas, as well as southeast Virginia and parts of the Chesapeake Bay.

In South Carolina, more than 1,500 people have sought refuge in 28 shelters as authorities anxious about the historic and vulnerable port city of Charleston.

Apart from that, the British Royal Navy, volunteers and aid organisations were helping authorities in rescue and relief operations.

Volunteers also ferried supplies to the islands in a flotilla of small boats.

"So, we're talking about Virginia", he said.

He also encouraged global tourists to visit the Bahamas, which relies heavily on its hospitality industry.

A Reuters photographer surveying the damage on Grand Bahama island said many hangars at Freeport airport and several aircraft appeared to be severely damaged.

"It truly breaks my heart to see the complete devastation that #HurricaneDorian is having on the Bahamas!"

As conditions began to deteriorate in Charleston early Thursday, emergency management officials requested that people who remained shelter in place, the Charleston Police Department said on Twitter.

"We expect it to be very devastating and the damage to be extreme", Neilly said.

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