Hurricane Dorian was finally inching away from the northern Bahamas after crawling over the islands for days, leaving catastrophic flooding and damage as it pounded the same areas over and over at an excruciating slow and nearly unprecedented pace.
Dorian—now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph—was growing in size Tuesday, Sept. 3, with tropical-storm-force winds now extending up to 175 miles out. Its winds and outer rain bands already are hitting parts of Florida’s Atlantic coast, which will feel more of the storm over the coming two days.
3 PM EDT: Here is the latest Tropical Cyclone Update on #Dorian, as tropical storm force winds are now occurring along the Florida east coast. See https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb for more information. pic.twitter.com/uFKnXiJlDB
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 3, 2019
A sustained wind of 39 mph and a wind gust of 49 mph were recently reported at a weather station in Sebastian Inlet, Florida, according to the 3 p.m. update from the NHC.
Dorian carved paths of destruction over the Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands, knocking homes to the ground and claiming the lives of at least five people since the weekend, including an 8-year-old boy.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said many homes, businesses, and other buildings have been destroyed or heavily damaged, calling the devastation “unprecedented and extensive.”
Dorian—a Category 5 storm when it hit the Abacos on Sunday, becoming the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the Bahamas—moved only 30 miles in 30 hours from Monday into Tuesday, mercilessly raking the same areas with destructive storm surge and winds.
That pace meant Dorian traveled the 2nd shortest distance in 24 hours by a major hurricane (Category 3 and above) since modern record-keeping began in 1850, according to Colorado State University researcher Philip Klotzbach.
By 11 a.m. (ET) Tuesday, the storm finally was heading slowly to the northwest after remaining basically stationary for hours just off Grand Bahama Island, whipping it with its eyewall. By the time the storm moves away, parts of the Bahamas will have received more than 30 inches of rain, forecasters said.
The storm is expected to head slowly north later Tuesday morning, forecasters said. Dorian is forecast to approach Florida Tuesday night through Wednesday evening, pass very near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday and then roll “near or over” the North Carolina coast late Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Dorian no longer is expected to make landfall in Florida, but coastal residents there will still feel its impact, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.
“Widespread tropical storm force gusts, heavy rain and heavy storm surge are still in the forecast for the Florida coast for the next couple of days,” all of which can lead to power outages, flooding and other disasters, Shackelford said.
Rains capable of flooding regions of the U.S. Southeast and lower mid-Atlantic will continue through Friday, with parts of Florida’s and Georgia’s Atlantic coasts set to receive 3 to 9 inches of rain, the weather service said.
— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) September 3, 2019
Severe Flooding and Devastation on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama
Video and witness accounts from the Abacos and Grand Bahama reveal utter devastation there: Buildings ripped apart and flooded, boats pushed ashore or sunk, and cars carried away by rushing floodwater.
Freeport’s main airport was mostly underwater, video shared Monday by Florida state Rep. Kionne McGhee showed. He was sharing video sent to him by Bahamian Parliament member Iram Lewis.
Hurricane Update: Iram Lewis,
Member of Parliament,
Central Grand Bahama sent me this video of Freeport International Airport: FPO pic.twitter.com/oDPIJXBnP9
— Dem House Leader (@kionnemcghee) September 2, 2019
On Man-O-War Cay, Gina Albury and 11 other people— including her husband and four children—were sheltered Tuesday in what’s left of a church, with no electricity. The top floor was destroyed—as were Albury’s home and many other buildings on the island, said Albury’s sister, Kate Racer-Russell.
Dorian Kills at Least 5 in the Abaco Islands
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says at least five people have died in the Abaco Islands as Hurricane Dorian pounded the region as a Category 4 storm.
Minnis said Monday that there are also people in nearby Great Bahama island who are in serious distress. He said rescue crews will respond to calls for help as soon as weather conditions allow.
He said many homes and buildings have been severely damaged or destroyed.
He said: “We are in the midst of a historic tragedy.”
Here’s the 6 pm EDT Tropical Cyclone Update: Extremely dangerous #Dorian continues to bring life-threatening conditions to Grand Bahama Island. The next intermediate advisory will be released by 8 pm. https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/x3cdXGzrsB
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 2, 2019
Epoch Times staff contributed to this article.