Dorian stalls over Grand Bahama, bringing high winds, torrential rain and storm surges

Hurricane Dorian has stalled over the Bahamas, lashing the islands with wind, rain and storm surges, and killing at least five people.

Thousands of homes were inundated by floodwater as rescue operations tried to reach stranded residents, many trapped on roofs.

Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, has been hovering over Grand Bahama Island for more than a day. It has weakened to a Category 3 hurricane but is still battering the Bahamas with winds of 120mph, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in an advisory issued at 2am EST (0600 GMT).

The ferocious storms centre was about 30 miles north-east of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island and about 100 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The NHC urged residents to remain in shelters as they continued to be pounded by the storms eyewall. The storms strongest winds are usually close to the eye.

In an earlier update, it said Dorian was continuing to thrash Grand Bahama and would cause extreme destruction into Tuesday morning.


Are hurricanes getting stronger?

2019 is the fourth year running that category 5 hurricanes have formed over the Atlantic Ocean. While the overall number of hurricanes has remained roughly the same in recent decades,there is evidencethey are intensifying more quickly, resulting in a greater number of the most severe category 4 and 5 storms.

The proportion of tropical storms that rapidly strengthen into powerful hurricanes has tripled over the past 30 years,according to recent research. A swift increase in pace over a 24-hour period makes hurricanes less predictable, despite improving hurricane forecasting systems, and they are more likely to cause widespread damage.

There isgrowingevidencethat the warming of the atmosphere and upper ocean, due to human activity such as burning fossil fuels, is making conditions ripe for fiercer, more destructive hurricanes.

Climate breakdown is tinkering with hurricanes in a variety of ways. More moisture in the air means more rain, while storms are intensifying more quickly but often stalling once they hit land, resulting in torrential downpours that cause horrendous flooding.

Rising sea levels are aiding storm surges whipped up by hurricanes onestudyfound that Hurricane Sandy in 2012 probably would not have inundated lower Manhattan if it occurred a century previously.According to the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the maximum intensity of hurricanes will increase by about 5% this century.

The expanding band of warmth around the planets tropical midriff also means a larger area for hurricanes to develop, resulting in fierce storms further north than before, such as Hurricane Florence. In the Pacific, this change means the focal point of typhoons is switching from the Philippines towards Japan. Oliver Milman

At least five people have been killed in the Abaco Islands, in the northern Bahamas, the countrys prime minister, Hubert Minnis, said on Monday. We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of our northern Bahamas, Minnis said. Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery.

Abaco and Grand Bahama, neither much more than 40 feet (12 metres) above sea level at their highest points, are home to 70,000 people.

Bahamian officials said they received a tremendous number of calls from people in flooded homes. One radio station said it received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a woman with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. At least two designated storm shelters flooded.

Iram Lewis, a Bahamian MP, told the Associated Press his greatest fear was that waters would keep rising overnight and that stranded people would lose contact with officials as cellphone batteries died.

It is scary, he said, adding that Grand Bahamas airport was 6 feet underwater and that people were moving shelters as floodwaters kept surging. Were definitely in dire straits.

Yasmin Rigby, who lives in Freeport, told Reuters: People who thought they were safe are now calling for help.

Minnis said the US Coast Guard was on the ground in Abaco and had rescued a number of injured people. Critically injured people were being taken to hospitals on New Providence, the countrys most populous island.

U.S. Embassy Nassau (@USEmbassyNassau)

@USEmbassyNassau has begun helping victims of Hurricane #Dorian in #TheBahamas. @USCGSoutheast sent helicopters to evacuate injured from Abaco, flying back to Nassau for urgent care. Please stay informed from reliable sources, and keep safe.

September 3, 2019

A witness staying in the hotel at the Abaco Beach Resort on the island of Great Abaco told Reuters that winds tore off the shutters and part of the roof, and the site was surrounded by a lake of water.

Dorian threatened to unleash a storm surge that could raise water levels by as much as 12 to 18 feet (4-5 metres) above normal on Grand Bahama Island, the NHC said.

As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said. Houses in a neighbourhood in Freeport were engulfed by six feet (1.8 metres) of water.

It looks like theyre boats on top of the water, said Rosa Knowles-Bain, 61, a resident who fled two days ago to an emergency shelter.

Bahamas map

The NHC said Dorian was expected to drift to the north-west late on Tuesday, moving dangerously close to the east coast of Florida, where strong gusts and high surf were already being reported.

At the White House, staff members reviewed hurricane planning with state and local officials. Donald Trump was being briefed hourly, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

Nine counties in Florida have issued mandatory evacuations. They included parts of Duval County, home to Jacksonville, one of Floridas two biggest cities, and some areas in Palm Beach County, home to Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort.

A woman seeks cover from wind, blowing sand and rain whipped up by Hurricane Dorian on Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Floridas governor, Ron DeSantis, urged coastal residents to heed evacuation orders. Get out now while theres time and while you have fuel available, he told a news conference from the states emergency operations centre in Tallahassee.

Orlando International airport, one of the largest in the state, planned to cease commercial operations at 2am on Tuesday because of the storm, it said in a statement.

More than 1,300 flights have been cancelled in the US as well as to and from the country. A further 1,000 flights are expected to be cancelled on Tuesday, according to the flight tracking site, FlightAware.

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will close early on Tuesday, it said in a statement.

Multiple coastal counties in South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have ordered mandatory evacuations ahead of the storm.



Recommended For You

Like it? Share with your friends!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.