Canadians advised to ‘avoid all travel’ to Bahamas, Florida as hurricane Dorian hits

The government of Canada is urging Canadians not to travel to Florida and the Bahamas as hurricane Dorian continues to wreak havoc in the Caribbean.

In advisories issued Sunday, the government urged Canadians to “avoid all travel” to the east coast of Florida, from north of Deerfield Beach to the mouth of the St. Marys River, and to the northwestern Bahamas.

“The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad,” the advisory reads. “We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously.”

On Friday, Canadian airline WestJet announced it would not be flying customers to or from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., “until it is safe to resume flying.”

In a post on its website, WestJet said customers flying from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa and Nassau are covered under the airline’s flexible change/cancel policy until Sept. 3.

Air Canada, in an update posted to its website on Friday, said the airline has implemented a policy that makes it possible for some customers with reservations affected by hurricane Dorian to make voluntary changes to their itinerary.

Dorian made landfall Sunday evening as a Category 5 hurricane in the northern Bahamas and continued its relentless assault into Monday morning.

By 10 a.m. on Monday, Dorian was sitting over Grand Bahama Islands, causing “extremely dangerous winds and surge,” according to the National Hurricane Centre.

The storm shredded roofs, tumbled cars and toppled power poles in its wake.

“These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction on the island,” the update reads.

The storm’s top sustained winds decreased slightly to 265 km/h as its westward movement slowed, crawling along Grand Bahama island Monday morning at 1.6 km/h.

Earlier, Dorian churned over Abaco island with battering winds and surf on Sunday.

Forecasters say the storm is most likely going to move from the Bahamas Tuesday morning and will curve to the northeast, parallel the U.S. seaboard.

Still, the potent storm was expected to stay close to shore and hammer the coast with dangerous winds and heavy surf, while authorities cautioned that it could still make landfall.

-With files from the Associated Press

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