Science

Hurricane Dorian bashes Bahamas, inches towards Florida coast

Hurricane Dorian bashes Bahamas, inches towards Florida coast”

Hurricane Dorian's devastating weekend over the Bahamas appears to have left the island of Grand Bahama much smaller than when the storm arrived, based on satellite footage showing the extent of the flooding.

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. United Nations officials said more than 60,000 people on the hard-hit islands will need food, and the Red Cross said some 62,000 will need clean drinking water.

"A friend of ours his house is 12 feet above the water and I heard he's got water on the first floor".

"Parts of the island have been decimated by Hurricane Dorian".

At least five deaths were reported, with the full scope of the disaster still unknown until the storm completely passes and rescue crews can get on the ground.

Dorian, which killed one person in Puerto Rico before bashing into the Bahamas on Sunday, is tied for the second-strongest Atlantic storm to make landfall with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

"We are in the midst of a historic tragedy", Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in announcing the fatalities.

The runway of Grand Bahama International Airport is deep under rainwater from Hurricane Dorian.

As of 10.30am NZT Dorian is centred about 70km north of Freeport in the Bahamas and is moving northwest at about 4km/h.

Mr Minnis said many homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.

The storm's relentless winds and rain battered homes and businesses on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have a combined population of about 70,000 and are no more than 12m above sea level at their highest points. The airport on Grand Bahama was on Tuesday said to be under 6ft (1.8m) of water.

Forecasters said it would come "dangerously close" in the next 36 hours to Florida's east coast, where more than a million people have been ordered to evacuate. Choppy brown floodwaters reached roofs and the top of palm trees on Monday.

While its winds had diminished to a category two storm, Dorian expanded in size and picked up speed on Tuesday (local time). Several schools along the Georgian coast have done the same. Its winds have weakened slightly, with maximum sustained gusts of 120 miles per hour (195 km/h), making it a Category 3 storm.

Authorities in Florida also ordered some mandatory evacuations. After days of warnings to flee a storm that at its peak was rated at the top of the scale of hurricane strength, many residents of Florida's coast remained unsure whether to wait it out or evacuate.

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



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