Published: Tue, September 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Bahamas "at war" with Hurricane Dorian, says PM

Bahamas

Monster storm Dorian stalked across the Bahamas on Monday as surging seawater and ferocious winds sowed chaos in low-lying island communities, claiming at least one life and spurring mass evacuations on the United States east coast. Strong gusts and top surf have been already being reported alongside Florida's east coast because the typhoon was once about 105 miles (170 km) from West Palm Beach, the NHC stated.

In central Florida, Mary McNiff, 92, was waiting in a wheelchair to board a bus that would evacuate her from her retirement community in Kissimmee.

That weakening is also the reason Hurricane Dorian is inching so slowly over the Bahamas.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting "life-threatening" storm surge that will lift tides as high as 12 feet to 18 feet above normal levels in areas on Grand Bahama Island, where the storm is expected to spend most of the day Monday. Many people were expected to be left homeless.

Darren Henfield, the Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a video update from the Bahamas in which he said: "From all accounts, we have received catastrophic damage to Abaco".

Thompson and other officials said they were getting distress calls about rising floodwaters but said rescuers could not go out in the violent weather. Millions of people living in the storm's path are under a mandatory evacuation.

Evacuations have begun in Florida, with residents urged by Governor Ron DeSantis to heed all warnings. "I was all set to stay home until they had to turn the water off", stated Watson, who added she was once now not nervous for her private protection however was hoping the typhoon spared the retirement neighborhood. This is in addition to Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International, and Orlando Melbourne Airport closures.

FlightAware.com reported that that airlines had cancelled 1,361 flights within, into or out of the USA by Monday afternoon - vastly above an average day - with Fort Lauderdale International the most affected, and airlines had already cancelled 1,057 flights for Tuesday, many involving Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports.

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Disney World announced it would close its four theme parks early.

The governors of Florida, Georgia and SC ordered mandatory evacuations for some coastal residents.

Even places as far north as North Carolina are potential targets for a U.S. landfall, forecasters said.

Although the NHC is forecasting "gradual weakening", Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for the next couple of days.

A few hours later, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered mandatory evacuations for that state's Atlantic coast, also starting at midday Monday.

The Bahamas Press reported that the main town of Abaco's Marsh Harbor was "completely destroyed" in Dorian.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Dorian is forecast to be 64 to 80km (40 to 50 miles) off Florida, with hurricane-force wind speeds extending about 56km (35 miles) to the west.

For now, much of the attention has been focused on the Bahamas, where updates have been hard to obtain as the storm pounds the island.

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