Torrential rains, floods and winds at 300 km/h: The Bahamas are suffering this Monday an unprecedented hurricane. The damage is severe
Hurricane Dorian was still raging Monday 2nd September 2019 on the Bahamas with torrential rains and winds nearing 300 km / h, a level unparalleled in the history of this Caribbean archipelago.
The hurricane continued its uncertain course towards the United States, where the authorities ordered the preventive evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people in the coastal regions.
Hurricane Category 5, described as “catastrophic” by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), landed on Sunday in Elbow Cay, on the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas, a country of some 700 islands.
“We are facing a hurricane (…) as we have never seen in the history of the Bahamas,” said Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister of this archipelago of some 700 islets between Florida, Cuba and Haiti. “It’s probably the saddest day of my life,” he added, in tears.
Videos posted on the website of the Bahamas’ Tribune 242 newspaper showed gigantic waves reaching the roofs of wooden houses, capsized boats floating in muddy water amidst tree branches, planks and other debris.
According to the Miami-based NHC, Dorian equalled the 1935 record of the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic when he landed, fearing scenes of devastation. However, no casualties were reported Monday at dawn.
“People are still traumatized by Matthew (in 2016) but it’s even worse,” said Yasmin Rigby, who lives in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.
The eye of the hurricane was Monday at 2:00 GMT 95 km east of Freeport and was moving at very low speed towards the west, said the NHC, which urged residents to stay safe.
“Do not leave your shelters during the passage of the eye, because the winds will increase quickly on the other side”
Since the White House, US President Donald Trump has called for the greatest vigilance against this climate phenomenon “very very powerful”.
“Very difficult to predict”
After the Bahamas, the hurricane is expected to move closer to the east coast of Florida (southeastern United States) Monday night and Tuesday, but it is difficult to predict how strongly it will hit the “Sunshine State”.
“Initially, he had to hit Florida directly,” President Donald Trump said Sunday when he arrived at the White House back from Camp David.
“It now seems that it will go back to South Carolina and North Carolina. Georgia and Alabama will also be affected”
“But his race could still change,” warned the tenant of the White House, who cancelled the trip he had to make in Poland this weekend.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in his state. “The strength and unpredictability of the storm compel us to prepare for all scenarios,” he said. He ordered the compulsory evacuation of the state coast, a measure affecting about 800,000 inhabitants.
The state of emergency had already been declared in Florida and in a dozen counties in the state of Georgia. This measure makes it possible to better mobilize the public services of the State and to resort if necessary to the federal aid.
A mandatory evacuation was also ordered for coastal counties of Palm Beach and Martin, Florida, and six coastal counties of Georgia.
12,000 soldiers mobilized
If a form of relief prevailed in Miami, residents remained cautious and the city’s distribution of sandbags to fight the floods continued.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has urged people to “stay alert”.
Florida, consisting mainly of a peninsula, is on the front line every year during the hurricane season.
With a very flat relief, the coastline is particularly threatened by rising water. The centre of the land is also characterized by low altitudes. For the inhabitants, the main threat is therefore flooding.
According to a coordinating relief officer, 12,000 soldiers are currently in Florida pending the arrival of Dorian.
Orlando Airport, where tourists want to visit Disney World, was scheduled to close at 6 am Monday morning.