Hurricane Dorian: Bahamas sees 'unprecedented devastation'

Disney leaves staff on their privately owned island Castaway Cay in Hurricane Dorian

"Luckily, no loss of life reported".

On Sunday, Dorian's maximum sustained winds reached 185 miles per hour (297 kph), with gusts up to 220 miles per hour (354 kph), tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to make landfall. That equaled the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were named.

Donald Rolle, an island administrator for southern Abaco, described the northern and central part of Abaco as "sheer devastation". We will continue to update as futher advisories are issued.

It is unclear, however, whether casualties have so far been reported.

The storm's top sustained winds decreased slightly to 265 km/h as its westward movement slowed, crawling along Grand Bahama island early Monday at 1.6 km/h in what forecasters said would be a daylong assault.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an order on Sunday for the mandatory evacuation of his state's entire coast.

Speaking from the government complex, which had been turned into a makeshift shelter after many on the island were "compromised" by the extreme weather, Darren Henfield, the Bahamian minister of foreign affairs, said: "In north Abaco, central abaco, by all accounts, we have received catastrophic damage".

Sand pours onto a road near the beach during the approach of Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019 in Nassau, Bahamas.

The mandatory evacuations are in effect for Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties beginning Monday at noon.

Disney leaves staff on their privately owned island Castaway Cay in Hurricane Dorian

Overwash - which happens when waves and surge reach higher than the top of existing dunes, carrying away large amounts of land - is now predicted for 28 percent of all beaches from Florida to North Carolina.

Dorian first came ashore Sunday at Elbow Cay in Abaco island at 12:40 p.m. ET, then made a second landfall near Marsh Harbour at 2 p.m.

On Grand Bahama, hurricane conditions could linger for hours, with isolated rainfall totals up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) and life-threatening storm surges of 18 to 23 feet (5 to 7 meters) possible in some locations.

"Residents on Grand Bahama Island should not leave their shelter when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye". One showed floodwaters rushing through the streets of an unidentified town at almost the height of a vehicle roof.

In some parts of Abaco, "you can not tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins", Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.

Speaking from an emergency call center in the city of Freeport, Don Cornish, the disaster manager for Grand Bahama said the storm sounds "like a freight train is passing", adding that there is flying debris and intensifying rain. "Power lines are down".

The Bahamas archipelago is no stranger to hurricanes.

Thompson, who was speaking from the emergency management center in the main part of Freeport, said some areas are reporting six-foot-high flooding, with the island's eastern region bearing the brunt. Grand Bahama, with a population of about 50,000, is only 100km (60 miles) east of West Palm Beach in Florida.

Strong winds and high surf were already being reported along Florida's east coast as the hurricane was about 177 kilometres from West Palm Beach, the NHC said, adding Dorian would come dangerously close to the state on Monday night (local time) through Wednesday evening.

Related:

Comments


Other news