“Devastating” Hurricane Dorian was battering parts of the Bahamas overnight with punishing 265 mph maximum sustained winds — down from 300 kph earlier — and inching along on its path of destruction, the National Hurricane Center said.
Storm surges in some places were raising water levels more than 6 metres above normal.
Dorian was ripping off roofs, overturning cars and tearing down power lines as people hunkered down in schools, churches and shelters.
Though the hurricane center was still forecasting that Dorian would stay just off the U.S. coast as it makes its way up the seaboard, evacuations were ordered for parts of Florida and, later on Monday, the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
Acting DHS chief Kevin McAleenan said Sunday that even if the storm remains just off the U.S. mainland, it could still cause major problems with high winds, a devastating storm surge and heavy rain.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Monday, Dorian’s center was some 65 kilometres east of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island and some 185 kilometres east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the hurricane center said. The storm was barely budging, moving west at about 1.6 kph.
According to The Associated Press, Dorian tied the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to come ashore in the Bahamas, equaling the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were named.
banner image via NASA