Brandon Ennis runs away from waves caused by Hurricane Dorian crashing over the jetty of the Jupiter inlet, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, in Jupiter, Fla. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
© AP

Americans are bracing themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian as the powerful storm slowly makes its way across the Atlantic and toward the US coastline, after it brought “catastrophic” winds and storm surge to the Bahamas.

Dorian, which has been downgraded to category 2, had begun to move northwestward Tuesday morning about 105 miles away from the eastern coast of Florida, according to an update from the US National Hurricane Center. Over the next two days, forecasters at the agency expect Dorian to remain off the coast near Florida and Georgia before moving near or over the Carolinas.

The storm’s impact continued to be felt on Grand Bahama Island, adding to a prolonged period of devastating effects in the region.

Hubert Minnis, the Bahamian prime minister, said there had been five confirmed deaths in the Abaco Islands, in the northern part of the Bahamas.

The storm destroyed or severely damaged as many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas, according to the Red Cross.

The NHC said life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds were expected along portions of the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts, regardless of the exact track Dorian takes. It also said the risk of these effects continued to rise for North Carolina.

The governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency, and officials ordered mandatory evacuations affecting millions of Americans.

In this Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard Station Clearwater, boats litter the area around marina in the Bahamas after they were tossed around by Hurricane Dorian. The storm pounded away at the islands in a watery onslaught that devastated thousands of homes, trapped people in attics and chased others from one shelter to another. At least five deaths were reported. (U.S. Coast Guard Station Clearwater via AP)
Boats litter the area around a marina in the Bahamas after being tossed around by Dorian © AP

President Donald Trump, who cancelled a planned trip to Poland to remain in Washington, has approved emergency declarations for the three southernmost states, freeing up federal resources to co-ordinate and assist with relief efforts there.

Julia Aylen wades through waist deep water carrying her pet dog as she is rescued from her flooded home during Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Practically parking over the Bahamas for a day and a half, Dorian pounded away at the islands Tuesday in a watery onslaught that devastated thousands of homes, trapped people in attics and crippled hospitals. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)
A resident of Freeport in the Bahamas wades through waist deep water carrying her dog as she is rescued from her flooded home © AP

In Florida, as evacuations began, governor Ron DeSantis said highway patrol officers would escort fuel trucks to help maintain supplies at petrol stations. By Tuesday morning local time, roughly half of stations in the West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce area and more than a quarter of Miami-Fort Lauderdale stations were out of fuel, according to the website GasBuddy.

Local residents pack sand bags with the help of Clay County inmates and family before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Middleburg, Florida, U.S. September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona
Residents get help to pack sand bags in Middleburg, Florida, before the arrival of Hurricane Dorian © Reuters

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport announced it planned to reopen Tuesday afternoon after shutting down a day earlier, while Orlando’s airport was closed on Tuesday. Airlines have cancelled hundreds of flights.

A woman fills up a plastic gas can in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as Hurricane Dorian approaches on September 1, 2019. - Hurricane Dorian unleashed
A woman fills up a plastic fuel can in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as Hurricane Dorian approaches © AFP

US retailers and organisations such as the Red Cross and Team Rubicon have also been preparing for Dorian in recent days.

HIGHLAND BEACH, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 02: A Highland Beach police officer sits in his vehicle to check id's of people in cars as he only allows residents to enter the Highland Beach area as Hurricane Dorian continues to make its way toward the Florida coast on September 02, 2019 in Highland Beach, Florida. Dorian, once expected to make landfall along the Florida coast as a category 4 storm, is currently predicted to turn north and stay off the Florida coast, lessening the impact on the area. Dorian strengthened to a "catastrophic" Category 5 storm today, packing winds of 175 mph and bearing down on the northern Bahamas before an expected turn to the north along the eastern seaboard of the United States, according to weather forecasts. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Police check the IDs of people in cars in Highland Beach as Hurricane Dorian makes its way to the Florida coast © Getty

The American Red Cross said it was mobilising more than 1,600 trained volunteers, 110 emergency response vehicles and at least 99 tractor-trailer loads of supplies.

People gather donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Christ Episcopal Church on September 3, 2019, in Miami, Florida. - Dorian crept towards the southeast coast of the US on September 3, 2019, weakening slightly but remaining a dangerous storm after leaving a trail of death and destruction in the Bahamas. At least five deaths have been reported in the Bahamas from a storm which Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called a
People gather donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Christ Episcopal Church © AFP

Home Depot and Lowe’s, the home-improvement retail chains, activated command centres to help quickly move products to stores in affected areas. Lowe’s said on Friday it had shipped more than 600 truckloads of storm supplies to areas that may be affected by Dorian’s path.

UBS said insured losses from Dorian could total $25bn, up from a previous base-case estimate of $15bn.

Employees of the Island Root Kava Lounge board up the windows of the business in preparation for Hurricane Dorian in Melbourne, Florida, U.S., on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. Dorian came ashore in the Bahamas tied as the most powerful storm to hit land anywhere in the Atlantic. The fate of Florida remains uncertain as the storm churns in the ocean. Photographer: Zack Wittman/Bloomberg
Businesses board up windows in Melbourne, Florida, on Sunday © Bloomberg

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