Parking itself over the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian pounded away at the islands yesterday. Floodwaters reached the second floors of buildings, trapped people in attics, and chased others from one shelter to another. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis calls the storm “a historic tragedy.”
Dorian hit Abaco Island on Sunday. The island suffered winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 220 mph. The U.S. Coast Guard helped by airlifting people off the island. The last time a storm was that strong was the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms got names.
As of Tuesday, Dorian was at a standstill with part of its eye over Grand Bahama Island. The storm’s swirling winds were 120 mph—still a highly dangerous Category 3 hurricane. Dorian’s winds and rain battered homes and businesses on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Those islands are no more than 40 feet above sea level at their highest points. Grand Bahama airport was under six feet of water.
Minnis says many homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Bahamian officials have received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes. At least two designated storm shelters flooded. Choppy brown floodwaters reached roofs and the tops of palm trees.
Over the long Labor Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of people in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina—more than 800,000 in South Carolina alone—had to evacuate. Officials there feared Dorian could bring life-threatening flooding even if the hurricane’s center stayed offshore.
Only God knows for sure where the wind will blow. (Psalm 135:7) But forecasters believe the storm will probably stay off the Georgia and South Carolina coasts tonight and Thursday. Still, meteorologist Daniel Brown cautions that “only a small deviation” could draw the storm’s dangerous core toward land.
With that in mind, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says, “We’re taking the ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude.”
(Strong winds from Hurricane Dorian blow the tops of trees and brush while whisking up water from the surface of a canal in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Monday, September 2, 2019. AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)