Astronauts snap surreal images of Hurricane Dorian from the ISS

Pablo Tucker
September 4, 2019

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is now forecasting that Hurricane Dorian will inch up the Florida coast over the next few days, reaching Georgia on Thursday (Sept. 5) and North Carolina on Friday (Sept. 6).

While the threat of a direct hit on Florida has largely evaporated, Dorian was expected to pass dangerously close to Georgia and SC, and possibly strike North Carolina, on Thursday or Friday (local time).

Dorian is the strongest storm on the planet this year and the Bahamian Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis, described its power and the devastation in the country as "unprecedented".

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of the dangerously exposed barrier islands along the state's entire coast. "There is severe flooding, severe damage to homes, businesses, other buildings and infrastructure", he said.

At one point, the storm was moving as slow as one mile per hour, dumping rain on the islands and blasting them with high winds while refusing to move on. "Some people the water just sucked them", she said.

People living in affected areas should follow the National Hurricane Center and local offices of the National Weather Service for the latest predictions about the storm.

The United Nations and the International Red Cross began mobilising to deal with the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the wake of the most powerful hurricane on record ever to hit the Bahamas. Choppy, coffee-colored floodwaters reached roofs and the tops of palm trees.

Parliament member Iram Lewis said he feared waters would keep rising and stranded people would lose contact with officials as their mobile phone batteries died.

"It is scary", he said, adding that Grand Bahama's airport was 6 feet (almost 2 meters) underwater and that people were moving shelters as floodwaters kept surging.

Scientists say climate change generally has been fuelling more powerful and wetter storms, and the only recorded hurricane more powerful than Dorian was Allen in 1980, with 305kmh winds, though it did not hit land at that strength. "We're definitely in dire straits".

With their heads bowed against heavy wind and rain, rescuers began evacuating people from the storm's aftermath across Grand Bahama island late on August 3, using jet skis, boats and even a huge bulldozer that cradled children and adults in its digger as it churned through deep waters and carried them to safety.

While it was expected to stay offshore, meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that "only a small deviation" could draw the storm's unsafe core toward land.

A hurricane watch was in effect for Florida's East Coast from Deerfield Beach north to South Santee River in SC.

A few hours later, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered mandatory evacuations for that state's Atlantic coast, also starting at midday Monday.

A National Guard official, John Anderson, said many people were complying with the evacuation orders. "We know if you're stuck in an attic", she said.

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