After Hurricane Dorian's direct hit on Bahamas, a scene of 'total devastation'

Henrietta Brewer
September 2, 2019

Dorian is now the strongest hurricane on record in the northwestern Bahamas and is forecast to bring "catastrophic winds and storm surge" to the Abaco Islands.

Communities farther north in Georgia and SC raised alert levels on Saturday, with residents filling sandbags as authorities tested infrastructure and hurricane drills.

"With Dorian packing winds of 185 miles per hour, life-threatening storm surge will also plague the northern Bahamas in the coming days".

Category five hurricanes, with sustained wind speeds of at least 252km/h, are extremely rare, although four other storms - Michael, Maria, Irma and Matthew - reached this level in the last three years.

A tropical storm warning was issued between Deerfield Beach and Sebastian Inlet on southern Florida's east coast, while a tropical storm watch was issued between Deerfield Beach down to Golden Beach.

Although many residents have evacuated the area, some remain on the island. "I think we lost power sometime in between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Praying for the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama because I can't even imagine that storm hitting here at that strength".

According to Rigby, memories of past hurricanes were still fresh - including 2005's historic storm Wilma, when it took weeks for water, food and electricity to be back to normal.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew veered away from Florida without a landfall but still left massive destruction in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina from torrential rains.

"That's major hurricane winds, that's storm surge of 10 and even 20 feet in some of those areas", he said.

"It's been lurking, it's just been building out there, it's been moving very slowly, it's a bad thing, not a good thing, the slower it moves, the bigger it is and the bigger it gets", he said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned the state's densely populated Atlantic coast: "We're not out of the woods yet".

Palm Beach County ordered a mandatory evacuation for the eastern half of the county as of 1pm on Sunday.

"It is emphasized that although the official track forecast does not show landfall, users should not focus on the exact track".

"The chance of landfall in New Jersey - that's relatively low", said Nick Carr, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

This is making it hard for forecasters to make predictions about Dorian, according to the New York Times.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing about Hurricane Dorian at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yesterday in Washington.

Once the storm unleashes its fury on the archipelago nation, people will have to ride out Dorian before first responders can venture outside to rescue anyone.

"We don't know where it's going to hit but we have an idea, probably a little bit different than the original course", Trump said.

Meanwhile, hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area in Florida by late Monday or early Tuesday. Disney World and Orlando's other resorts held off announcing any closings.

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