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09-03 Tuesday Dorian Update - 5 Dead in Bahamas After Powerful Hurricane Hits ☘ Hoey Team ☘ eXp Realty
Dated: September 3 2019
The Category 3 storm came to a standstill as it pummeled the Bahamas. It is expected to move “dangerously close” to the Florida coast Tuesday night.
Five people were dead on Abaco Island as ‘extreme destruction’ continued.
Hurricane Dorian continued its unrelenting assault on the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands on Monday, causing “extreme destruction” as storm surges rose 12 to 18 feet above normal tide levels and at least five people were confirmed dead.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis of the Bahamas said the Royal Bahamas police force confirmed the deaths late Monday. Details about how the people died were not immediately available.
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” Mr. Minnis said at an evening news conference. He added: “Our focus is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”
Mr. Minnis said the videos of vast destruction in the country were heartbreaking.
“Many homes, businesses and other buildings have been completed or partially destroyed,” he said.
“Downtown Grand Bahama is under three feet of water, including the ground floor of its hospital and the prime minister’s office,” Mr. Minnis added.
Because of the storm’s stubborn refusal to move past the Bahamas, officials with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, a relief group based in Barbados, may not be able to visit the islands until Wednesday afternoon.
Forecasters said at 2 a.m. on Tuesday that the hurricane was stationary, even as its winds swirled at 120 m.p.h. After moving toward the islands over the weekend, it came to a halt on Monday evening above them. The hurricane moved just 14 miles from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m, and sat about 105 miles off the coast of Florida.
The storm was expected to continue drubbing the islands — which have a combined population of about 77,000, the majority of whom live on Grand Bahama — through Tuesday, forecasters said, before resuming its course toward the Atlantic coast and turning up the coast.
“Tonight and tomorrow morning, we’ll start to see the pull to the north that we’ve all been anxiously awaiting, because we really need to get this thing off of the Bahamas and moving northward,” Ken Graham, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said in a Facebook video on Monday.
Louby Georges, the director of international affairs for Human Rights Bahamas, said at least one friend had run out of drinking water and others had left tearful voice messages for loved ones.
The islands’ water systems were expected to be compromised, so aid workers planned to send pumps and a two-week supply of food because food warehouses were most likely flooded.
Ronald Jackson, the executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, said that children made up about 15 percent of the islands’ population. Less than 10 percent are elderly.
Abaco is home to enclaves of vulnerable Haitian migrants, he said.
Dozens of worried families posted pleas for information about their loved ones on social media, and videos showed water rising around houses and devastated scenes of decimated homes, with roofs sheared from buildings and insulation strewn about the floor.
State Representative Shevrin Jones of Florida, whose district includes portions of Broward County, has been receiving updates from relatives in the Bahamas. He posted one message n which one of his cousins described finding a mother, father and son curled up together, dead. i
In one video from a relative, a man said he was stuck inside a house with no roof as water could be seen spraying inside.
Mr. Jones said in an interview that he planned to organize a trip of 20 to 30 people from South Florida to the Bahamas to join the search and rescue missions.
“Right now, it’s literally all hands on deck,” he said. “We just have to get over there and help them as soon as possible.”
The hurricane center advised people on both islands to remain in their homes or shelters until conditions improved, warning that it could take several hours.
The storm could still run ashore over Florida.
Forecasters continued to warn that hurricane conditions were expected across Florida and the southeastern coast of the United States. A hurricane warning was extended to about 240 miles of the Florida coast on Monday afternoon — from just north of West Palm Beach to the beach adjacent to Jacksonville — and tropical-storm-force winds blew on a South Florida beach.
For much of Monday, the closely monitored overlapped with nearly all of the state’s central and northern coast, meaning the eye could move over the eastern edge of the state during the next two days. While a revised forecast in the evening took South Florida’s coastline and Orlando out of the storm’s predicted path, forecasters have emphasized that even a minor diversion from its route could bring the storm onto land.
“It cannot be stressed enough that only a small deviation to the left of the N.H.C. forecast could bring the core of the extremely dangerous hurricane onshore of the Florida east coast within the hurricane warning area,” a forecaster wrote in a briefing on Monday morning, using the abbreviation for the National Hurricane Center.
At 2 a.m., forecasters said the hurricane would move “dangerously close” to the Florida coast, beginning late Tuesday night and continuing through Wednesday evening. Then, it is expected to continue toward the Georgia and South Carolina coasts beginning late on Wednesday.
President Trump “reiterated his full support for Florida” in a phone call with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday morning, according a statement from the governor’s office.
Even if the hurricane’s center does not reach the Florida coast, strong winds and rain are all but certain to disrupt life in that region. Much of Florida’s eastern coast is also susceptible to dangerous storm surges, and tropical gusts up to 57 m.p.h. were expected to reach parts of South Florida overnight.
“It’s like being stalked by a turtle,” said Ben Foster, the general manager of Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in downtown West Palm Beach, in describing the long wait for Hurricane Dorian to brush the state.
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ was the only restaurant open in the area at lunchtime on Monday, and it was bustling with about two dozen people watching the United States Open and “SportsCenter.” A group of men played a golf video game, a respite from boarded-up homes.
Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County, which includes Orlando, said 150 residents were staying in shelters in the county. He said the region would be hit with winds from the storm around midday on Tuesday and its effects would last through Wednesday afternoon.
Rain from the storm reached the southern coast on Monday, and the National Weather Service’s office in Miami that the first tropical-storm-level wind was recorded at 40 m.p.h. at Juno Beach Pier just before 1 p.m.
People were ordered to evacuate from parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Officials in states north of Florida are growing increasingly anxious about the storm’s path toward their coastlines and have ordered some coastal residents to evacuate.
Hurricane Dorian is now projected to approach South Carolina and Georgia as a major hurricane before barreling along the North Carolina coast as a Category 2 storm.
“We know that we cannot make everybody happy, but we believe that we can keep everyone alive,” Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina said at a news conference, announcing that residents in portions of eight counties must begin evacuating by noon on Monday.
North Carolina’s governor declared a state of emergency, and officials in at least two coastal counties, Hyde and Dare, issued mandatory evacuations for visitors and residents. State officials warned that heavy rain could cause life-threatening flooding from Wednesday night to Friday and that there was a possibility for tornadoes. The University of North Carolina, Wilmington by Tuesday evening.
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia declared a state of emergency on Monday. The storm could drift over Norfolk and Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon.
Norma Lemon, the owner of a Caribbean-themed restaurant on South Carolina’s coast, has evacuated three times in the last few years because of several hurricanes. She said on Sunday that she was at the thought of leaving her restaurant in Mosquito Beach again.
“It just feels like here we go again with this one, like it’s not going to be good, you know?” she said.
South Carolina could receive five to 10 inches of rain, with isolated areas inundated with up to 15 inches.
A chef is making 10,000 sandwiches in the Bahamian capital to feed survivors.
“We are making 10,000 sandwiches as we speak,” Mr. Andrés said in a telephone interview.
He said he had spoken with the prime minister and the secretaries of tourism and transportation, who told him that the airports were under 10 feet of water.
“The situation is as bad as you can imagine,” Mr. Andrés said. “Before food, they need to take care of rescue missions.”
Mr. Andrés, who runs World Central Kitchen, said he had arranged for teams to work out of hotels on Grand Bahama Island. They are hoping to be on some of the first flights to Abaco Island on Tuesday, he said.
What did he bring?
“Nothing,” he said. “We never bring anything. We bring ourselves. We are a brain. We are a software organization, not a hardware organization.
“There is always food,” he added.
In Palm Beach County, surfers ride it out while others take shelter.
As Hurricane Dorian’s outer rain bands moved over South Florida, the barrier island of Palm Beach, which is in a mandatory evacuation zone, felt eerily calm on Monday morning. Roads were empty. Businesses were closed and shuttered.
Still, a small crowd gathered along the beach, staring in awe at the wild gray waves crashing onto the shore.
“I just wanted to take a look at this — it’s crazy,” said Brandon Atkinson, 40, a West Palm Beach resident. “You admire it for the beauty but know its devastation.”
A handful of young surfers braved the water, despite warnings from the authorities.
“We’re not worried about the storm,” said one of them, adding that he had driven south from Vero Beach, Fla., and planned to continue driving south once the waves in Palm Beach got too big. “We’re probably going to surf all day.”
He encouraged his friends to join him, and they hopped onto the sand. “Come on — let’s surf,” he said.
Inside the West Boynton Park and Recreation Center in Lake Worth, Fla., PeggyAnn Cromartie sat with a pile of knitting as Dorian’s rains pelted the shelter outside.
“I wanted to be safe, because you never know what may happen,” said Ms. Cromartie, 72, of Pahokee, Fla. “It’s not really scary, but I thought about the flooding or the lights going out.”
She arrived on Sunday afternoon with her dog, Garfield, a 5-year-old Maltese, and shared half of a queen size air mattress with another evacuee. Dinner was a hot meal of chicken, rice, carrots and a bread roll, Ms. Cromartie said, and breakfast an assortment of cereal, bagels and coffee.
By Monday morning, the pet-friendly shelter was housing 75 people and 114 animals, including 75 dogs, 28 cats and several birds and rabbits. A sign posted outside warned that no livestock, reptiles or vicious dogs would be accepted. During Hurricane Irma in 2017, someone tried to come in with a chicken, said Yleana Arias, one of the shelter’s managers.
Randye Carol Pollack, 68, of Boynton Beach, Fla., brought her parakeet, Sweet Pea, and spent the night in a hard plastic chair by his cage, “to keep him company.”
“I didn’t sleep at all,” she said. She covered the cage with two blankets to keep him warm and said she was grateful for a place that would take them both.
Ms. Pollack planned to pass the time with a transistor radio and a magazine. Ms. Cromartie brought her knitting, crochet and her Bible.
Ms. Cromartie said she would pray for the Bahamas.
“God is very good,” she said. “He’ll see us through.”
A Florida utility company has assembled its largest response team ever.
Mr. DeSantis, the Florida governor, has said for days that coastal residents should expect to lose power.
Florida Power and Light Co., which serves about 10 million residents, announced that it had assembled 16,000 employees and contractors and asked them to be ready to respond to outages around the state.
“We’ve assembled the largest prestorm restoration work force in company history,” Eric Silagy, the company’s chief executive and president, said in a statement.
He added that the team would “work around the clock to restore power safely and as quickly as possible.”
As of Monday morning, there were no substantial power failures in the state.
Read more about Hurricane Dorian.
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