BAHAMAS – According to Aljazeera, Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the Atlantic, continued to pummel the Bahamas on Tuesday, leaving a deadly path of destruction.
More than 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at least five people had died as a result of the storm, but officials said the death toll could go up.
A radio station received over than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a grandmother with six grandchildren who cut a hole in the roof to escape rising floodwaters. Other reports involved a group of eight children and five adults stranded on a highway and two storm shelters that flooded.
“We know that there are about 75,000 people that do reside in the affected area, and many of them did evacuate, but we estimate that at least 20,000 people are going to be severely affected,” Stephen McAndrew, from the American Red Cross told Al Jazeera.
Police Chief Samuel Butler urged people to remain calm and share their GPS coordinates, but he said rescue crews had to wait until weather conditions improved.
On Sunday, Dorian’s maximum sustained winds reached 185 mph (297 km/h), with gusts up to 220 mph (354 km/h), tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to make landfall.
As a result, residents were warned not to leave shelters until the eye of the hurricane passed.
Delta Air Lines also said it canceled 55 flights that were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday after airports in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Melbourne and Daytona Beach closed.
In the United States, strong gusts and high surf were already being reported along Florida’s east coast as the hurricane was about 105 miles (170km) from West Palm Beach. The Dorian is expected to come dangerously close to the state from Monday night until Wednesday evening, and then move close to the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday night and Thursday.
“Nine counties in Florida have issued mandatory evacuations,” said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham. These included parts of Duval County, home to Jacksonville, one of Florida’s two big cities and some areas in Palm Beach County, home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
However, despite all this, the Atlantic hurricane season is still showing signs of more activity.