Dorian Left Bahamas in Crisis, Mostly Spared the US
At least 20 people were killed in the Bahamas as Hurricane Dorian stalled over the islands last weekend, devastating residents with two days of winds up to 185 mph along with unrelenting rainfall.
More bodies are being discovered as the damage is still being assessed, but Dorian has left the region to deal with an all-out humanitarian crisis. Some areas were “decimated” by the storm, according to Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.
Flooded roads and fallen trees are making it hard for rescuers to get to possible survivors. All lines of communication in some parts of the islands are still down, so many are wondering if their missing loved ones are alive or dead.
While the destruction on the ground in the Bahamas is being described as “total devastation” and “apocalyptic,” not all hope should be lost. The Coast Guard reported rescuing 135 people and six pets from the debris left on the islands so far.
Eye on the U.S.
Dorian’s eye moved back out to sea after leaving the Bahamas and passed by the east coast of Florida, but weather officials believe it is positioned to come very close to, if not directly over, the Carolinas. The eye and eyewall of the storm are expected to bring severe flooding to the states — possibly the worst seen in some parts in over 30 years.
More than a million people were ordered to evacuate their homes in U.S. south-eastern states due to the storm, particularly in coastal regions and on barrier islands. Residents have been warned to follow instructions for evacuation and to “remain vigilant to the possibility of experiencing destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges from this hurricane,” according to officials.
The storm weakened slightly this morning and was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, but it increased in overall area and is still expected to bring brutal weather effects into tomorrow morning. Severe flooding has started in some areas, such as Charleston, S.C., and more than 220,000 power outages have been reported from Georgia to North Carolina.
Georgia seems to have been spared from major devastation, though. The governor announced this morning that the mandatory evacuation order for coastal counties in the state has been lifted and residents may return to their homes.
The Carolinas will not likely be so lucky. Tornadoes were reported in Wilmington, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. this morning, so parts of both states are also under tornado watch during the storm.
What’s to Come?
The hurricane center anticipated the core of the storm will move near or over the North Carolina coast tonight and into tomorrow morning. Hurricane experts predict storm surges could reach up to 8 feet in parts of the Carolinas and the National Weather Service has issued a public alert for high-risk of flash flooding due to severe rainfall alone.
So far, the only deaths reported in the U.S. have been due to accidents which occurred while residents prepared their homes for the storm, but officials warn that Dorian still has deadly potential for some residents.
UPDATE: Saturday, September 7, 2019 8:20 AM (EST)
The death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas has ascended to 43 and is only expected to increase as more areas are eventually cleared of debris. Witnesses in Abaco report the smell of death coming from destroyed homes in areas that received the heaviest damage from the storm.
There are still bodies on the ground and inside homes which have yet to be cleared. The official death toll for the islands is expected to be significantly higher than what is known right now once all of the dead have been gathered.
Furthermore, more than 76,000 people in the Bahamas are currently in need of aid, including medical necessities. There will be more storm-related deaths if the survivors do not receive the assistance they need.
Meanwhile, the storm had been downgraded to a Category 1 before it hit the coast of North Carolina. While severe flooding and power outages occurred, it seems the U.S. was spared from the more devastating impacts of Dorian.