Dorian causes ‘catastrophic damage’ in Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian, a powerful Category 5 storm, continued battering the Bahamas on Monday, all but grinding to a halt over Grand Bahama Island as the storm stalled it’s forward progress to just 1 mph.

On Sunday, Dorian turned deadly as it leveled a devastating strike Bahamas after strengthening to Category 5 force.

The storm, which left many communities underwater, made landfall on three different islands with punishing sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts that reached speeds of 225 mph.

Late Sunday night, the first fatality blamed on Dorian was confirmed in Abaco. Lachino McIntosh, a young boy, drowned and his sister remains missing, according to The Bahamas Press. There are conflicting reported about McIntosh’s age.

“All I can say is that my daughter called from Abaco and said that her son — my grandson — is dead,” the boy’s distraught grandmother, Ingrid McIntosh told Eyewitness News in the Bahamas. “That’s it. I don’t know what really happened. I think she said he drowned.”

She continued through tears, saying, “My grandson is dead,” and adding that she’d just seen the little boy two days ago. “He said, ‘Grandma, I love you.'”

The Bahamas Press reported that there was a “growing wall” of residents frantically looking for word of loved ones who they could not contact.

By early Monday morning, Dorian had stalled, inching west at just 1 mph, about 115 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida and only 30 miles east of Freeport in Grand Bahama Island. Dorian continued to maintain its status as a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph.

In Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, residents hunkered down in a church that was being used as a makeshift shelter. Photos and videos surfacing on social media showed began to reveal a peek at what the devastation on the small islands looks like.

Toppled trees, downed power lines, flooding in the streets, and severe structural damage to homes were a theme in the photos and videos that emerged.

Dorian’s relentless impacts continued to be felt across the northern islands on Monday morning. The Bahamas Press reported that Grand Bahama International Airport was inundated with at least 5 feet of water.

In addition to some places in the Bahamas seeing up to 30 inches of rain, severe storm surge could be devastating.

AccuWeather forecasters say Dorian will begin to drift to the northwest on Monday, slowly moving away from the northern Bahamas, though dangerous hurricane conditions will continue across Grand Bahama through Monday before conditions being gradually improving Monday night into Tuesday.

This prolonged period of very strong wind, heavy rain and inundating storm surge will be capable of producing catastrophic damage across Grand Bahama.

Dorian proved to be a historic hurricane, the strongest ever during modern record-keeping to make landfall in the Bahamas and, with sustained 185-mph winds, it’s now the second-strongest hurricane, by wind speed, ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.

Dorian now stands behind only Hurricane Allen, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Allen thundered over the Gulf of Mexico in August 1980 and reached sustained wind speeds of 190 mph before making landfall near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hurricane Dorian made its initial landfall at Elbow Cay, Abacos, in the Bahamas. The eye of Dorian then made a second landfall on Great Abaco Island near Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas.

The third landfall came later on Sunday night, the eye encroaching the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island. Maximum sustained winds were 185-mph during the first two landfalls, dropping to 180 mph for the third. Gusts of 225, as AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer pointed out, were equivalent to the winds of an EF4 tornado.

ByUPI Staff & Chaffin Mitchell