Hurricane Dorian continues to slam the Carolinas with winds of 110mph, ‘life-threatening’ floods and tornadoes, as its feared more than 700,000 people will be left without power.
Forecasters downgraded Dorian to a Category 2 storm late Thursday morning. The storm is now predicted to make landfall near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, on Friday with winds gusting up to 90mph.
Duke Energy projected that the hurricane could cause more than 700,000 power outages – some possibly lasting several days – in eastern areas of North Carolina and South Carolina, based on the storm’s current forecasted track
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the eye of Dorian is roughly 60 miles south of Myrtle Beach, where the city’s mayor, Brenda Bethune, signed a Declaration of Civil Emergency in anticipation of the storm.
She said she issued the declaration as a precaution in case she has to enact a curfew or other measures as the storm approaches.
As of 3pm Thursday, the hurricane had sustained winds of 110mph and was moving north at 8mph. Forecasters are predicting high storm surges and drenching rains that could trigger flooding and unleash environmental hazards in areas still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Florence. Some of the worst storm surge is expected in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The NWS said hurricane warnings are still in effect for the Carolina coasts up to Virginia, with a ‘potentially life threatening storm surge’ of up to 8 feet around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.
Officials said there are already 222,000 people without power between Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. In South Carolina alone, officials reported nearly 215,000 people were without power statewide. There are 33 shelters open in the state.
Horrifying images showed dozens of campers that were upended by a tornado that was brought on by Hurricane Dorian in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
Scroll down for video
Horrifying images showed dozens of campers that were upended by a tornado that was brought on by Hurricane Dorian in Emerald Isle, North Carolina
The beach town said in a news release that the waterspout touched down around 9am Thursday. Several campers were knocked on their side, their metal skin mangled and twisted
Some of the campers were flipped upside-down, with their tires now aimed toward the sky (pictured)
Power company lineman work to restore power after the tornado hit Emerald Isle North Carolina as Hurricane Dorian moved up the East coast on Thursday
First responders are on the scene (pictured) and so far, no injuries have been reported
Power company lineman work to restore power after a tornado hit Emerald Isle, North Carolina, as Hurricane Dorian moved up the East coast on Thursday. One of the mobile homes is seen upside down following the tornado
As of 3pm Thursday, the hurricane was centered about 60 miles east-southeast of Charleston, moving north at 8mph with winds of 110mph
The beach town said in a news release that the waterspout touched down around 9am Thursday.
Several campers were knocked on their side, their metal skin mangled and twisted. Some were flipped upside-down, with their tires now aimed toward the sky.
A blue beach chair was left dangling, suspended in the wires that held up a power line. Other power lines were downed across a parking lot, where trash was strewn everywhere.
By late morning, heavy rain was falling sideways, trees were bending and traffic lights were swaying as Emerald Isle hunkered down again.
The city was ground zero in 1996’s Hurricane Fran, which was the last major hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina. Emerald Isle also weathered Hurricane Florence in 2018 and a half-dozen other hurricanes in between.
A few of the homes were completely obliterated while others were flipped upside down. First responders are on the scene and so far, no injuries have been reported.
The NWS shared video from Wilmington, North Carolina, that showed a tornado touching down Thursday morning. Forecasters said the video was taken near Pender County Fire Station 18 along Highway 17 near Sidbury Road.
Airports in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Florence, South Carolina, were expected to remain closed until Friday morning.
According to FlightAware, more than 500 US flights were canceled by mid-afternoon Thursday, with the largest numbers in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.
Airlines have already canceled more than 200 flights scheduled for Friday, especially in an area from Norfolk, Virginia, to Savannah.
TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell says the agency has 120 employees who can be sent to the region to help screen passengers and baggage once air travel begins to return to normal.
Man is electrocuted in Florida while preparing for Dorian making him the fourth death in the US as death toll in Bahamas rises to 23
At least four deaths were reported on the US mainland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina, all involving men who were trimming trees or otherwise getting ready for the storm.
In one incident, a 38 year-old landscaper was electrocuted while trimming trees in preparation for the storm’s arrival.
The unidentified man worked for a landscaping company hired by a hotel in Naples, Florida. The Medical Examiner’s Office in Collier County says the man was trimming trees that had grown into power lines.
In Calabash, North Carolina, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office shared photos of the Farm of Brunswick residential area where a third tornado touched down Thursday morning.
Photos and video showed roofs torn off multiple homes in the area. Some homes sustained minor damage others had major damage. No injuries were reported.
A tornado watch was issued for parts of South and North Carolina until 4pm.
‘Get to safety and stay there,’ North Carolina Gov Roy Cooper said. ‘This won’t be a brush-by. Whether it comes ashore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause extensive damage in North Carolina.’
Deserted, rain-lashed streets in Charleston, South Carolina, vanished beneath water on Thursday.
Water pooled a few inches deep near the centuries-old waterfront. In certain low-lying blocks, it rose to a foot or more, as high tide approached and forecasters warned of storm surges of up to 8 feet.
Officials in Charleston say nearly 150 trees have been toppled as the area gets pummeled by Hurricane Dorian’s winds and rain.
The South Carolina city also says 108 roads are closed in Charleston, 26 due to flooding, and some 36 power lines have been knocked down.
One live wire on a flooded street outside the Charleston City Market was sparking, causing explosions that could be heard blocks away. Parts of the historic port city often flood with a normal high tide, so officials were expecting high water with the storm.
Forecasters said up to 15 inches of rain could fall in the Charleston area, and up to 20 inches possible nearby. As of Thursday afternoon more than 7 inches of rain had fallen in parts of Charleston.
A section of about 25 feet of green corrugated metal roofing lay crumpled on the ground Thursday afternoon in front of Holy City Church on James Island, near Charleston.
Other portions of the roof flapped in the wind, peeling back to reveal wooden roofing slats underneath. The green and brown trunk of a large tree next to the church was also uprooted in the winds and rain.
Officials in a coastal South Carolina county have suspended emergency services during high winds from Hurricane Dorian.
Georgetown County officials said in tweet Thursday afternoon that fire and EMS services had been called off ‘until wind speeds subside to a safe level’.
Officials also noted that anyone who called 911 during the suspension would be put on a waiting list. County officials also said Georgetown sheriff’s deputies had been pulled back from areas south of Highway 521 due to the high winds.
People are hunkering down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, preparing for what could be a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.
Three have been at least three tornadoes reported in North Carolina since 7am Thursday morning
Forecasters downgraded Dorian to a Category 2 storm late Thursday morning. The storm is predicted to pass Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina, where winds could reach upwards of 100mph. Horry County Fire Rescue walk through flood waters in a Little River neighborhood near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
In Calabash, North Carolina, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office shared photos of the Farm of Brunswick residential area where a third tornado touched down Thursday morning
This photo shows a home that was damaged by a tornado in the Farm of Brunswick residential area in North Carolina
Photos and video showed roofs torn off multiple homes in the area. Some homes sustained minor damage others had major damage
A boat near Ash Little River Road in North Carolina was flipped on its side by the tornado that touched down in the area
Photos showed campers along Ash Little River Road lying on their sides following the tornado
There have been no reports of injuries in the area, authorities said on Thursday
Astronauts shared this snap of them monitoring and capturing the path of Hurricane Dorian from the Space Station
This image was shared on social media and shows the eye of Hurricane Dorian from the space station. ‘Our hearts and thoughts are with those affected. Stay safe,’ the astronauts wrote in the caption
Access is the main problem: Ocracoke Island is reachable only by ferries, and while Hatteras Island has a new two-lane bridge to the mainland, parts of the barrier islands can be cut off by storm damage. Those who decided to ride out the storm are planning for days of isolation.
North Carolina’s transportation department said ferries shut down Wednesday after evacuating 1,441 people and 756 vehicles from Ocracoke. Leslie Lanier is expecting the island to ‘be in for a whole lot of mess’.
Speaking by phone Thursday, Lanier said she boarded up her home and bookstore after visitors evacuated, and has moved the books up to five feet off the floor. Now she thinks that may not be enough to avoid flooding from a storm surge.
Liz Browning Fox is on Hatteras Island, which often bears the brunt of bad weather. She lives on a 30-foot hill in Buxton, where she worries that a powerful storm could cut new inlets through the island from Pamlico Sound out to the open ocean.
Coupled with high tide, the storm’s arrival Thursday is expected to push water up the mouths of coastal rivers, causing low-lying areas to flood.
There could also be up to a foot of rainfall across much of Eastern North Carolina, raising concerns of flash flooding well inland.
The NWS shared video from Wilmington, North Carolina, that showed a tornado touching down Thursday morning
DRIVER ABANDONS JEEP AFTER IT BECAME STUCK IN THE OCEAN
A South Carolina driver ended up abandoning their Jeep that became stuck after it was driven into the water.
Myrtle Beach police said the driver tried to see how far they could take the Jeep out onto the beach when the vehicle became stuck, according to WBTV.
Video of the red Jeep shows large waves crashing against it. Officers said they aren’t able to do anything about the vehicle right now and the driver will have to wait until the hurricane passes.
A South Carolina driver ended up abandoning their Jeep (pictured) that became stuck after it was driven into the water. Myrtle Beach police said the driver tried to see how far they could take the Jeep out onto the beach when the vehicle became stuck. Officers said they aren’t able to do anything about the vehicle right now and the driver will have to wait until the hurricane passes
Some areas in the region expected to be affected by Dorian are still rebuilding from Florence, which caused widespread damage in September 2018 that included scores of flooded hog and chicken farms, inundated sewage treatment plants and breached dam at a power plant near a coal ash landfill.
Dorian’s eye was skirting the coast, potentially making landfall before brushing past Cape Hatteras.
It was shaping up to be a more glancing blow than Florence, which slowly moved inland a year ago, dumping record-shattering rains of more than 2 feet in places.
Jen Kendrick, spokeswoman for the NC Pork Council, said the members of her organization are well positioned to weather Dorian after a relatively dry summer.
‘Farmers in North Carolina have seen about 20 hurricanes in the past two decades and have learned much about preparation and readiness,’ Kendrick said.
Those preparations include relocating animals from flood-prone farms, stocking up on livestock feed in case roads are flooded and filling up the fuel tanks for the generators used to keep pumps going in the event of power outages.
Duke Energy said Wednesday that it had completed extensive repairs to the dam that breached during Florence at the L.V. Sutton Power Station near Wilmington, North Carolina.
The company said it had also competed excavation of a large coal ash dump that flooded last year, removing the gray ash containing toxic heavy metals to a landfill on higher ground covered with an artificial turf cap designed to repeal rainwater.
Water floods streets in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday as Hurricane Dorian moved along the southeastern US coast
Power lines spark in flood water on Market Street as Hurricane Dorian spins just off shore on Thursday in Charleston, South Carolina
Resident Dabny Babbs checks on the status of his sail boat docked along the Ashley River during Hurricane Dorian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Video showed flooding in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday as Hurricane Dorian neared the Carolinas
Though part of that landfill is still under construction, Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said they were not expecting any problems from Dorian at the Sutton site.
‘We feel very well prepared for this storm,’ Sheehan said.
Duke also operates the Brunswick Nuclear Plant near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The company said it will safely shut down the plant’s twin nuclear reactors at least two hours prior to the arrival of any hurricane force winds.
The company projects the more than 700,000 power outages are most likely to occur Thursday and Friday in the Raleigh-Durham area, South Carolina’s Pee Dee region, which includes Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg, and along the entire coasts of both North and South Carolina.
Duke Energy is moving an extra 4,000 repair workers from 23 states and Canada to the Carolinas in anticipation of the hurricane’s arrival.
There are already 5,000 Duke Energy lineworkers and tree personnel permanently based in the Carolinas – creating a total workforce of almost 9,000.
The re-energized storm swept past Florida on Wednesday at a relatively safe distance. From there, the Category 3 storm apparently grazed Georgia, then hugged the South Carolina coast with more serious effects before being downgraded.
An estimated 3 million people in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas were warned to evacuate as the storm closed in. Navy ships were ordered to ride it out at sea, and military aircraft were moved inland.
The NHC’s projected track showed Dorian passing near or over the Outer Banks on Friday, lashing the thin line of islands that stick out from the US coast like a boxer’s chin. Dorian was then expected to peel away from the shoreline.
In an assault that began over Labor Day weekend, Dorian pounded the Bahamas with Category 5 winds up to 185 mph, obliterating entire neighborhoods and triggering a humanitarian crisis. It weakened to a Category 2 before strengthening again late Wednesday.
South Carolina has already seen flooding and Governor Henry McMaster has warned running out for people needing to get out of the evacuation zone.
‘We thought it was coming and here it is,’ he said Wednesday ‘Our message today is, if you are still in an evacuation zone, you still have time to get out. But the time is running out.’
Coupled with high tide, the storm’s arrival Thursday is expected to push water up the mouths of coastal rivers, causing low-lying areas to flood
Forecasters are predicting high storm surges and drenching rains that could trigger flooding and unleash environmental hazards in areas still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Florence
The National Weather Service (NWS) said hurricane warnings were in effect Thursday for the Carolina coasts up to Virginia, with a ‘potentially life threatening storm surge’ of up to 8 feet around the North Carolina-South Carolina line
There could also be up to a foot of rainfall across much of Eastern North Carolina, raising concerns of flash flooding well inland
Dorian’s eye was skirting the coast, potentially making landfall before brushing past Cape Hatteras. This satellite image shows Hurricane Dorian on Thursday
Hurricane Dorian is expected to get closest to Charleston at 1pm EDT. As this is during high tide, it could worsen current flooding, pushing it further inland seeing homes damaged
Around one million South Carolina residents flocked to local shelters in an effort to escape Dorian, which has already taken 23 lives in the Bahamas and US.
At least four storm-related deaths have been reported. Three people died in Orange County, Florida, during storm preparations or evacuation, according to the Orange County mayor’s office.
In one incident, a 38 year-old landscaper was electrocuted while trimming trees in preparation for the storm’s arrival.
The unidentified man worked for a landscaping company hired by a hotel in Naples, Florida. The Medical Examiner’s Office in Collier County says the man was trimming trees that had grown into power lines.
Jailene Hernandez, a medical examiner’s investigator, says a co-worker witnessed the man get electrocuted.
In North Carolina, an 85-year-old man fell off a ladder while barricading his home for Dorian, the governor said.
About 830,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders on the South Carolina coast alone.
More than 1,500 people sought refuge in 28 shelters in South Carolina, where rain began falling late Wednesday in the historic port city of Charleston, situated on a peninsula that is prone to flooding even from ordinary storms.
A flood chart by the National Weather Service projects a combined high tide and storm surge around Charleston Harbor of 10.3 feet. The record is 12.5 feet, set by Hugo in 1989.
As Dorian crept dangerously closer to the city, the wind picked up, sending sheets of rain sideways.
Thunder boomed in the night sky, and power flickered on and off. More than two dozen blocks were closed by flooding in the city, where stores and restaurants downtown were boarded up with wood and corrugated metal.
Dorian also apparently spun off at least one tornado in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, damaging several homes, city spokesman Patrick Dowling said. No injuries were reported.
A flooded street is seen as Hurricane Dorian started to impact Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Driveways of homes and a street in front of the residences were flooded on Thursday as Hurricane Dorian approached the state
A flooded intersection is seen in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday as several residents evacuated the area ahead of Hurricane Dorian
A resident pumps water from the yard of his home during Hurricane Dorian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Brys Stephens struggles to install a metal flood gate along South Battery during Hurricane Dorian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster advised residents living in the evacuation area to leave before it was too late. Many have had to take refuge in shelters across the state
Hurricane Dorian is expected to get closest to Charleston at 1pm EDT, which is also during high tide. This could worsen current flooding further inland and enter homes. People are pictured walking in Charleston
Hundreds of shelter animals from coastal South Carolina arrived in Delaware ahead of the storm. About 200 were airlifted early Tuesday from shelters in danger of flooding. About 150 more were expected to arrive via land.
Authorities said hundreds of thousands of people were also ordered off the Georgia coast. But the mayor of Tybee Island, Georgia, said Dorian inflicted little damage overnight on the small beach community.
Jason Buelterman said the storm spared the 3,000 residents from flooding, with high tide about 3 feet lower than predicted.
The lone highway linking the island to Savannah on the mainland remained open throughout the night.
‘If the worst that comes out of this is people blame others for calling evacuations, then that’s wonderful,’ Buelterman said.
Hurricane Dorian is expected to get closest to Charleston at 1pm EDT. As this is during high tide, it could worsen current flooding, pushing it further inland seeing homes damaged.
On Thursday night into Friday morning, the Hurricane could see landfall as it moves north, likely hitting near Morehead City, in North Carolina.
The storm is expected to feel like a lower end nor’easter by the time it reaches New York City on Friday. Dorian will be a severe rain storm when it hits, hitting the city with 25mph winds.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 70s.
Crews with the Charleston Fire Department clear a fallen tree during Hurricane Dorian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
A car is surrounded by flood waters on Aiken Street during Hurricane Dorian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Aiken Street is flooded during Hurricane Dorian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Volunteers assemble cots in an American Red Cross shelter at R.B. Stall High School on Wednesday in North Charleston, South Carolina
On Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina officials reported the first death in the state related to Hurricane Dorian.
Governor Cooper said Wednesday that an 85-year-old man from Columbus County died from injuries when he fell off a ladder as he was trying to prepare his home for the approaching storm.
The state emergency operations center didn’t have the man’s name, but a spokesman said he died Monday at a hospital in nearby Fayetteville.
Cooper warned the public at a news conference about the threat of flash flooding, storm surge and more than a foot of rainfall as Dorian arrives Thursday along the southeastern coast.
Earlier this week, Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of the dangerously exposed barrier islands along the state’s entire coast.
The hurricane is also predicted to leave hundreds of thousands without electricity in the southeastern US as it moves up the Atlantic Coast.
The utility company says some outages could last for several days, and problems are expected as far as 100 miles inland.
It isn’t just electricity that’s being affected. Brunswick County in coastal North Carolina is shutting off water and sewer service in advance of Dorian.
Hundreds of people in low-lying areas evacuated to shelters ahead of the storm, supported by Red Cross volunteers.
A statement from Georgetown County says anyone who lives near the waterfront in the coastal town of Georgetown should evacuate.
The city of about 8,900 people is located on the coast north of Charleston. It’s situated along a bay and two rivers, the Great Pee Dee and the Sampit.
The county’s statement says the NWS contacted officials there to warn about the combination of storm surge and high tide at Georgetown on Thursday afternoon.
Rising seas caused by the storm could add as much as 6 feet to normal high tide levels. The county says anyone who doesn’t leave may be putting themselves at risk.
A hurricane warning covers about 500 miles of coastline.
The US Coast Guard is preparing boats and helicopters for any rescue operations that may be needed in South Carolina.
Capt John Reed said Wednesday that boats had been brought in from other Coast Guard stations along the Southeastern coast. They’ve been placed at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston.
A helicopter is stationed at Savannah, Georgia, about 100 miles away.
Aside from being ready for water rescues, Reed says the Coast Guard is focused on keeping areas around the Port of Charleston safe so the port can reopen as quickly as possible after the storm.
In 2017, $69billion worth of cargo moved through the port, which is a major employer and economic driver in South Carolina.
The storm is expected to produce 5 to 10 inches of rain in the Coastal Carolinas, 3 to 6 inches along the Atlantic Coast from Daytona Beach, Florida to the Georgia-South Carolina line and 3 to 6 inches in southeast Virginia.
Tayler Hofe board the windows of a surf shop in Avon, North Carolina, as Hurricane Dorian approaches on Thursday
Kevin Scalia secures particle board to his business as Hurricane Dorian approaches on Thursday in Buxton, North Carolina
A woman walks with her dog in Rodanthe, North Carolina, as Hurricane Dorian make it’s way to Cape Hatteras on Thursday
Tayler Hofe is seen boarding up the windows of his business in Avon, North Carolina, as Hurricane Dorian approaches
Officials in Florida said earlier on Wednesday that they were expecting some beach erosion (pictured at St Augustine’s Beach) following Hurricane Dorian
There are also areas in the Carolinas that may get up to 15 inches of rain and parts of Georgia may receive 9 inches.
‘This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods,’ the NHC warned Wednesday morning.
Officials in Florida said there was some beach erosion but there have been no reports of major damage as Hurricane Dorian passed near Daytona Beach on Wednesday.
Across the Southeast, interstate highways leading away from beaches in South Carolina and Georgia were turned into one-way evacuation routes.
Earlier this week, several airports announced closings, and hundreds of flights were canceled.
But on Wednesday, officials said Orlando International Airport resumed commercial operations beginning at noon.
Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort also opened for a full day on Wednesday after having closed early Tuesday.
SeaWorld Orlando reopened mid-morning Wednesday after being closed all day Tuesday.
The US Navy ordered ships based on Virginia’s coast to head out to sea to avoid Hurricane Dorian on Wednesday.
Navy spokeswoman Elizabeth Baker said by phone Wednesday that vessels docked at the world’s largest Navy base in Norfolk and other nearby installations are getting under way.
Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis said in a statement Tuesday that the ships will remain at sea until the threat from the storm subsides. Navy aircraft will either be secured in hangars or fly to more inland airfields.
The Navy’s order followed a similar one made by the US Air Force earlier Tuesday.
F-22 Raptor fighter jets and T-38 Talon training planes were ordered to leave Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.
They’re going to the Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base outside Columbus, Ohio.
South Carolina Department of Correction officials decided not to evacuate a coastal prison that houses about 950 inmates.
The department tweeted Monday that staff and inmates at the Ridgeland Correctional Institution in the Jasper County evacuation zone will remain at the prison during the storm. Inmates with extra medical needs were evacuated.
According to department officials, Ridgeland has enough supplies to last several weeks. The department says they believe Ridgeland is the safest place for staff and inmates. It says Ridgeland opened in 1995 and has never been evacuated.
Earlier this week, Dorian pummeled parts of the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, leaving widespread devastation at least 23 people dead. The full scope of the disaster is still unknown.
The US Navy ordered ships based on Virginia’s coast to head out to sea to avoid the storm This image shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98) as it heads out to sea from it’s berth at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia
This image shows the USS San Jacinto (CG-56) as it heads out of it’s berth at Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Dorian in Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday
The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), top, is seen as it heads out of the it’s berth at Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Dorian in Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday
Bahamians rescued victims of Hurricane Dorian with jet skis and a bulldozer as the US Coast Guard, Britain’s Royal Navy and a handful of aid groups tried to get food and medicine to survivors and take the most desperate people to safety.
Airports have been left flooded and roads impassable after the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas in recorded history parked over Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, pounding them with winds up to 185mph and torrential rain before finally moving into open waters Tuesday. The Grand Bahama airport was under 6 feet of water.
The storm’s punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes, crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics.
‘It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic,’ said Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a local hurricane relief group and flew over the Bahamas’ hard-hit Abaco Islands.
‘It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.’
The Bahamas’ prime minister expected more deaths and predicted that rebuilding would require ‘a massive, coordinated effort’.
‘We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history,’ Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a news conference. ‘No effort or resources will be held back.’
Five Coast Guard helicopters ran near-hourly flights to the stricken Abaco, flying more than 20 injured people to the capital’s main hospital. British sailors were also rushing in aid.
A few private aid groups also tried to reach the battered islands in the northern Bahamas.
‘We don’t want people thinking we’ve forgotten them. … We know what your conditions are,’ Tammy Mitchell of the Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency told ZNS Bahamas radio station.
Earlier this week, Dorian pummeled parts of the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, leaving widespread devastation at least 23 people dead. The full scope of the disaster is still unknown
The storm’s punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes (pictured, Abaco, Bahamas), crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics
An aerial view of damage from Hurricane Dorian on Thursday in Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas
With their heads bowed against heavy wind and rain, rescuers began evacuating people from the storm’s aftermath across Grand Bahama island late Tuesday.
One rescuer gently scooped up an elderly man in his arms and walked toward a pickup truck waiting to evacuate him and others to higher ground.
In the Bahamas, Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane said more than 13,000 houses, or about 45 per cent of the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco, were believed to be severely damaged or destroyed.
Officials from the United Nations 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.
‘What we are hearing lends credence to the fact that this has been a catastrophic storm and a catastrophic impact,’ Cochrane said.
Lawson Bates, a staffer for Arkansas-based MedicCorps, flew over Abaco and said: ‘It looks completely flattened. There’s boats way inland that are flipped over. It’s total devastation.’
The Red Cross authorized $500,000 for the first wave of disaster relief, Cochrane said.
Patients and their families crowd the entrance of the Marsh Harbour Medical Clinic in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
People search for salvageable items as they make their way through an area destroyed by Hurricane Dorian at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas on Thursday
Extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in an area called ‘The Mud’ at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas on Thursday
A hurricane victim is being treated by members of the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) team from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas
Members of the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) team from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay, moored off Marsh Harbour, delivering aid to Islanders of Great Abaco in the Bahamas
The UN World Food Program has purchased 8 tons of ready-to-eat meals for Bahamians in Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands and is organizing an airlift from Panama to set up two logistics hubs in the Caribbean nation.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that WFP is also providing satellite equipment to ensure connectivity for emergency responders across the affected islands.
Given the severity of Hurricane Dorian’s impact, he said WFP has set up a $5.4million emergency operation for three months to assist 39,000 people.
Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, with a combined population of about 70,000, are known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts.
To the south, the Bahamas’ most populous island, New Providence, which includes the capital city of Nassau and has over a quarter-million people, had little damage.
The US Coast Guard airlifted at least 21 people injured on Abaco. Choppy, coffee-colored floodwaters reached roofs and the tops of palm trees.
‘We will confirm what the real situation is on the ground,’ Health Minister Duane Sands said. ‘We are hoping and praying that the loss of life is limited.’
Sands said Dorian rendered the main hospital on Grand Bahama unusable, while the hospital at Marsh Harbor on Abaco was in need of food, water, medicine and surgical supplies.
NASA satellite imagery through Monday night showed some places in the Bahamas had gotten as much as 35 inches of rain, said private meteorologist Ryan Maue.
Parliament member Iram Lewis said he feared waters would keep rising and stranded people would lose contact with officials as their cellphone batteries died.
Dorian also left one person dead in its wake in Puerto Rico before slamming into the Bahamas on Sunday.
It tied the record for the strongest Atlantic storm ever to hit land, matching the Labor Day hurricane that struck Florida’s Gulf Coast in 1935, before storms were given names.