"Monster" hurricane shakes Bahamas – evacuations on US shores


Updated on September 02, 2019, 10:25 am

In the Bahamas hurricane "Dorian" leaves a picture of destruction. There he raged with 300 kilometers per hour, covered roofs and felled trees. Now he should move on to the west and meet the US on Wednesday.

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The highly dangerous hurricane "Dorian" is hit with destructive wind speeds of almost 300 kilometers per hour in the northern Bahamas. First television images of the archipelago southeast of the US state of Florida showed a picture of devastation – covered houses, fallen trees and dramatic floods.

Hurricane "Dorian": Coastal areas have been evacuated

"Dorian" swept across the islands of Great Abaco and Great Bahama on Sunday and was to move slowly west towards Florida. For the east coast of the US state was a hurricane warning, first coastal areas were evacuated. In the more norther state of South Carolina, 800,000 people were ordered to move to safety.

The full extent of the damage in the Bahamas was initially unpredictable. Experts at the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that "catastrophic destruction" is to be feared. The islands, which are only just above sea level, were threatened by life-threatening storm surges of up to seven meters in height and heavy rains. For the Bahamas, this is the biggest hurricane since the beginning of modern records. The island state authorities, with around 400,000 inhabitants, had asked tens of thousands of residents to move to shelters or higher elevations.

The Bahamas head of government, Hubert Minnis, called on all residents to seek protection in the face of the extraordinary strength of the storm. "This will put us to the test like never before," the local newspaper "Nassau Guardian" quoted him. "This is a deadly storm and a monster storm."

Satellite image shows hurricane "Dorian" off the coast of Florida.

© GOES-16 satellite / NOAA / dpa

Extremely dangerous hurricane

"Dorian" had been upgraded to a hurricane of the highest category on Sunday. On the way to Florida's east coast, the storm could ease off a bit on Monday, but even then it would still be an extremely dangerous hurricane.

Meteorologists expected "Dorian" to turn north off the coast of Florida on Tuesday, but despite this, a hurricane warning applied to much of the coast. In any case, threatened by the middle of the week life-threatening storm tides, heavy rains and dangerous winds, as the National Hurricane Center explained.

Even "a slight deviation" could bring the center of the storm into the immediate vicinity of the coast or ashore, as the meteorologists warned. Winds can occur in hurricane strength up to 75 kilometers from the center of the storm. Several Florida locations have already arranged evacuations for coastal and deeper areas. The same applies to coastal areas in Georgia. Also in the north adjacent states of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina during the week with heavy winds, heavy rainfall and floods are expected.

According to local media reports, Florida mobilized more than 4,000 members of the National Guard. The authorities prepared emergency supplies such as drinking water, food rations and generators. In order to facilitate evacuations, the motorway toll was temporarily lifted. Hundreds of specialists from other states have come to help restore power after the storm. Many citizens and businesses nailed wooden boards over their windows and positioned sandbags on the exterior doors. In some supermarkets, there were hardly any large bottles of drinking water to buy.

"Keep people alive"

In the northern state of South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster ordered the entire coastal zone to be evacuated from Monday noon (local time). According to civil protection, the order will affect around 830,000 people – certainly not a popular measure. "We can not satisfy all people, but we can keep everyone alive," McMaster told journalists. Schools and authorities in the areas would remain closed. Emergency supplies would be ready, including at least 150,000 sandbags, said an employee of Civil Protection. The hurricane should not arrive there before Wednesday.

"Dorian" is a "catastrophic" hurricane of magnitude five out of five, which typically leads to great destruction on land: According to experience, a large part of the houses is covered or collapsed, trees and electricity pylons buckle. The supply of electricity and drinking water as well as the communication network can collapse for days or weeks.

US President Donald Trump warned coastal residents on Sunday about the catastrophic consequences of the hurricane. "Its effects will be felt over hundreds of miles or more from the Eye of the Storm," Trump said Sunday after a meeting with FEMA. The hurricane was "one of the biggest we've ever seen".

The storm hits the US on an extended weekend – Monday is a holiday there.
© dpa

Meteorologists fear that the storm could sweep over Florida with wind speeds of up to 210 km / h. Even the US President Donald Trump canceled his visit to Poland because of the hurricane. One of the worst thunderstorms is expected in years.

Teaser image: © Ramon Espinosa / AP / dpa

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