'Historic Tragedy' in the Bahamas

Slow-moving storm downgraded to Category 3
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2019 6:33 AM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2019 6:57 AM CDT
'Historic Tragedy' in the Bahamas
Waves crash in front of an American flag that is planted on a jetty during a high surf from the Atlantic Ocean, in advance of the potential arrival of Hurricane Dorian, in Vero Beach, Fla., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Authorities in the Bahamas say Hurricane Dorian has killed at least five people—but the country is still being battered by the slow-moving storm and many other people are in danger. The storm was just north of Grand Bahama Island early Tuesday, having only moved around 12 miles in a day, the BBC reports. Dorian has been downgraded from a Category 5 storm to a Category 3, but Bahamians have been warned that strong winds and storm surges will continue for at least another day. The US National Hurricane Center says the storm will "move dangerously close to the Florida east coast" late Tuesday through Wednesday evening and then head close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday. More:

  • In dramatic video captured by ABC correspondent Marcus Moore and his team, a group of people swim through floodwaters as the eye of the storm passes and people emerge from destroyed homes. Moore can be heard encouraging the group, who managed to make it safely across the rushing water.

  • Authorities believe thousands of homes were destroyed in the Abaco Islands, east of Grand Bahama, but it will be difficult to get a full picture of the destruction until the storm passes, the New York Times reports. "Initial reports from Abaco is that the devastation is unprecedented and extensive," says Prime Minister Hubert Minnis. "They are deeply worrying. The images and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking." He says the northern part of the country is experiencing a "historic tragedy."
  • The devastation was especially severe because the storm was almost at a standstill Monday, giving it more time to weaken structures. "We are afraid to even think of what those people on those islands went through with the storm slowing down and almost stopped for that amount of time, and being such a strong storm," says Geoffrey Greene, the country's chief meteorological officer.
  • Michael Pintard, the country's agriculture minister, shared terrifying video of water reaching halfway up the windows at his home in Grand Bahama as the storm passed. There have been reports of widespread flooding on the island, with the Freeport airport now under 6 feet of water.

  • Authorities say they received a "tremendous" number of calls from people in flooded homes, some of them trapped on roofs. US Coast Guard crews were sent to assist and airlifted at least 21 injured people to hospitals in the capital, the AP reports.
  • Hurricane Dorian has caused more than 1,300 flights in the US to be canceled, according to FlightAware.
  • Millions of Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia residents are now under evacuation orders, CNN reports. Authorities say most people are heeding the orders, but they are worried about those who have decided to hunker down.
  • The region's hurricane misery may not be over even after the storm passes, reports the Miami Herald. Authorities are monitoring four other systems in the Atlantic, including a disturbance a few hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands that has a 90% chance of cyclone formation in the next five days.
(More Hurricane Dorian stories.)

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