Published: Thu, September 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Hurricane Dorian claims first casualty in the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian claims first casualty in the Bahamas

Jack Pittard, a 76-year-old American who has visited the Bahamas for 40 years, chose to ride out the storm - his first hurricane - in Abaco.

Hurricane Dorian struck the northern Bahamas as a Category 5 storm Sunday.

On Sunday, Dorian churned over Abaco Island with battering winds and surf and heavy flooding.

"The reports out of Abaco as everyone knows", spokesman Quincy Parker said, pausing for a deep sigh, "were not good".

Dorian made landfall Sunday afternoon as a Category 5 hurricane on the southern end of the Bahamas' Elbow Cay. "Continue to pray for us".

"In addition, Dorian's wind field is predicted to expand, which would bring hurricane-force winds closer to the east coast of Florida even if the track does change".

Here, in their own words, is what people are going through in the Bahamas as they deal with Dorian.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday that the storm "looks monstrous" and the United States east coast would "be ultimately impacted and some of it very, very severely".

The NHC said the hurricane would move dangerously close to Florida on late on Monday through Tuesday night. Numerous power cuts had been due to trees and vegetation falling on equipment and power lines.

"When scientists put the pieces together, they project that in general, hurricanes will become more intense in a warming world. much like we've seen recently with Hurricanes Harvey, Michael and Florence", the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, said in a blog post about Dorian. It's a choice many coastal residents in the Southeast US will have to make in the coming hours.

"On this track, the core of extremely unsafe Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island through much of today and tonight", the NHC 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.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations for parts of eight coastal counties effective at noon local time (6 p.m. CEST) on Monday. As the storm approached, most people went to shelters, tourist hotels shut down, and residents boarded up their homes.

The storm is now forecast to move "dangerously close" to Florida's east coast late Monday night through Wednesday night before moving up close to the coasts of Georgia and SC on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Videos on social media showed houses leveled by the winds.

The Bahamas archipelago is no stranger to hurricanes.

The country is one of those most regularly hit by hurricanes, and homes are required to be reinforced to withstand the winds of a category four storm.

"We can't make everybody happy", Mr McMaster said. Authorities in Florida have also ordered mandatory evacuations in some vulnerable coastal areas.

Dorian's movement over the next day will also help answer a big question: Will this devastating storm make landfall in Florida, or will it turn slightly north in time to spare Florida a direct hit?

"Surge-related flooding depends on the how close the centre of Dorian comes to the Florida east coast", the NHC said.

'Our thoughts are with the people in areas of The Bahamas that are being impacted by this storm and we stand ready to contribute to recovery efforts.

The only recorded storm that was more powerful was Hurricane Allen in 1980, with 190mph winds.

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