Titusville, Fla. (Reuters) – Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamian islands of Nice Abaco and Grand Bahama early on Monday, peeling off roofs, toppling vehicles and snapping energy traces as rising floodwater threatened to engulf homes.
The second-strongest Atlantic storm on file was forecast to pound the archipelago by the day, then transfer towards the east U.S. coast – the place authorities ordered greater than one million folks evacuated in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.
The slow-moving, class 5 storm left the Bahamian islands coated with twisted metallic and splintered wooden. There have been no rapid estimates of casualties.
Winds gusting as much as 200 mph (322 kph) destroyed or broken greater than 13,000 properties, the Worldwide Federation of Crimson Cross and Crimson Crescent Societies mentioned.
Residents posted photographs on-line of water rising up the aspect of their homes because the Nationwide Hurricane Middle warned of a attainable storm surge that would push damaging waves larger than many roofs within the islands.
As of 5 a.m., Dorian was stalled atop the Grand Bahama Island barely drifting westward at 1 mph (2 km/h).
The hurricane was about 125 miles (200 km) from the Florida coast, components of which have been being evacuated, because it crawled westward.
Palm Seaside County, the third most-populated county and residential to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, was amongst these with partial necessary evacuations. Different counties introduced voluntary evacuations.
“This appears prefer it might be bigger than all of them,” Trump mentioned throughout a briefing with the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA).
Farther north, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered necessary evacuations for components of eight coastal counties efficient at midday (1600 GMT) on Monday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ordered evacuations in all or components of six coastal counties additionally efficient at midday on Monday.
Even a glancing blow from one of many strongest storms ever to menace Florida may carry torrential rains and damaging winds, the NHC mentioned.
“The hurricane will transfer dangerously near the Florida east coast late Monday by Tuesday night time,” the NHC mentioned.
Dorian is the strongest hurricane on file to hit the northwestern Bahamas as a life-threatening Class 5 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.
It was tied with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on file, based mostly on most sustained winds. Allen in 1980 was essentially the most highly effective, with 190 mph (306 kph) winds, the NHC mentioned.
Julia Eaddy, 70, in Titusville, Florida, mentioned she and her husband had ridden out a number of hurricanes earlier than and weren’t fazed by the forecast. “I feel it will likely be extra of the identical,” she mentioned.
A number of gasoline stations round Titusville have been closed. Many grocery shops have been open however boarded up. Inside, cabinets emptied out quick.
Dorian is predicted to stay a hurricane for the subsequent 5 days and transfer northwest alongside or close to the U.S. east coast, forecasters mentioned.
Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Titusville, Florida; Further reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Steve Holland in Washington, Anthony Esposito in Mexico Metropolis and Wealthy McKay in Atlanta