Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday, and videos first shared by The Washington Examiner show the “extreme destruction” left in its wake.
Homes were ripped apart and streets were practically submerged in the ocean as the deadly storm unleashed torrential winds, rain, and storm surge flooding. At least one person, a 7-year-old boy, was killed.
Hurricane Dorian makes landfall
With winds of up to 185 mph upon landfall, Dorian is one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, equaled only by the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, according to NBC News. Adding to the storm’s terror is its slow movement: MSN reported that the hurricane was “stalling” over Grand Bahama Island on Monday, where it was expected to unleash “extreme destruction” all day before creeping within a threatening range of the Florida coast in the evening.
After days of worrisome watching by millions, the hurricane showed the first signs of its wrath around noon Sunday. The storm made landfall as a Category 5 storm at Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of up to 220 mph, according to The Weather Channel.
The storm later landed on Great Abaco Island, where it walloped the town of Marsh Harbor around 2 p.m. By Monday morning, it was hovering over Grand Bahama Island.
Minister of Agriculture and Marco City MP Michael Pintard, who lives on Grand Bahama, showing some utterly frightening footage of his home during the passage of Hurricane Dorian. pic.twitter.com/gugVsLMroB
— Travis C-Carroll (@TravisCC) September 2, 2019
The Bahamas bunker down
Terrifying images of the hurricane’s power were shared online by meteorologists and people who stayed behind. In some of the images, it’s hard to tell where the ocean ends and residential streets begin. In some areas, the storm surge reached 18 to 23 feet above normal tide level.
Other videos appeared to show the brief, deceitful reprieve when the eye of the storm passed over Abaco, with demolished homes, inverted cars, flooded streets, and the eerie sound of car alarms painting a horrifying picture of destruction.
— Máximo Alexander (@MaximoSPQR) September 1, 2019
Authorities in Grand Bahama warned residents they would have to “bunker down” for several hours Monday while rescuers were prevented by the violent conditions from venturing out. Residents have frantically called in with reports of people stranded on rooftops, but officials say there is little they can do except remain calm for now.
For its part, U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned residents to not venture out when the eye of the storm passes, “as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye.” Additionally, it said, “these hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction.”
Florida, East Coast on watch
The storm was 120 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida and crawling through the Bahamas at just 1 mph as of Monday morning, and had been downgraded to a Category 4 with winds of about 155 mph. Although the storm isn’t expected to make landfall on the Eastern seaboard, hurricane watches and warnings are in effect all along the southeastern mainland, according to Fox News.
The storm is expected to scrape Florida’s east coast at a “dangerously close” distance Monday night through Wednesday, and it may affect Georgia and the Carolinas through the middle of the week as it veers northeast. Even Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency on Monday as forecasters warned the East Coast not to be complacent.
“It cannot be stressed enough that only a small deviation to the left of the NHC forecast could bring the core of the extremely dangerous hurricane onshore of the Florida east coast within the hurricane warning area,” the NHC said. “Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local emergency officials.”