Hurricane Dorian causing devastation in the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian causing devastation in the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian unleashed massive flooding across the Bahamas on Monday, pummeling the islands with so much wind and water that authorities urged people to find floatation devices and grab hammers to break out of their attics if necessary. At least five deaths were blamed on the storm. "We are in the midst of a historic tragedy," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said, calling the devastation "unprecedented and extensive." The fearsome Category 4 storm slowed almost to a standstill as it shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passed. Officials said they received a "tremendous" number of calls from people in flooded homes. A radio station received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a grandmother with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a 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. 

Forecasters warned that Dorian could generate a storm surge as high as 23 feet (7 meters). 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. "We simply cannot get to you," he told Bahamas radio station ZNS. On nearby Abaco Island, Parliament member Darren Henfield said he received reports of deaths but officials had not been able to confirm them.

United States, the National Hurricane Center extended watches and warnings across the Florida and Georgia coasts. Forecasters expected Dorian to stay off shore, but meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that "only a small deviation" could draw the storm's dangerous core toward land. The water reached roofs and the tops of palm trees. One woman filmed water lapping at the stairs of her home's second floor.

Dorian's winds reduced slightly on Monday to 155 mph, making it a Category 4 storm once again. It hovered over the Bahamas on Monday, causing widespread damage.

Port St. Lucie, Florida - The devastation Hurricane Dorian has winds begin to whip neighborhoods in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Monday. Officials warned those living in evacuation zones to heed the orders, but many residents were struggling to make a wrenching decision: to flee the approaching storm or face potential danger by hunkering down at home. That decision is becoming harder and harder as Hurricane Dorian creeps westward on an unpredictable path, with coastal residents throughout the southeastern US monitoring every minor change in direction. To stay or go? It's a choice many coastal residents in the Southeast US will have to make in the coming hours. Officials stress that evacuation orders shouldn't be taken lightly, and emphasize that people who stay may end up marooned if the storm hits and emergency crews can't get to them. 

"If you are ordered to evacuate, you need to do that," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told residents Monday morning. "From Palm Beach County all the way up to the Florida-Georgia border, all those coastal counties have issued evacuation orders. And its important that residents heed those calls," he said. "Get out now while you have time, while there's fuel available and you'll be safe on the roads."

In Florida's Indian River County, Maj. Eric Flowers said authorities are concerned about residents who refuse to evacuate. If those people encounter an emergency, first responders will not be able to help them if the storm gets too strong, he said.

At least seven Florida hospitals have begun evacuating or are making plans to evacuate, and nearly 100 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities along the state's east coast have been evacuated, officials said in a statement Monday. 

Georgia mandatory evacuations - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered mandatory evacuations from areas east of Interstate 95 in the following counties: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh. "I would like to ask everyone to heed those warnings, especially those that are on our barrier islands. You may be on your own if first responders are unavailable to get to you," Kemp said. "We have the ability with first responders to move trees out of roads and cut trees up and clear roadways ... but it's a whole different story if we have flooding on causeways and we cannot get vehicle traffic to you in a time of need. Please do not take this risk. If you're able to evacuate, please do so."

South Carolina mandatory evacuations - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued evacuation orders for parts of Jasper County, all of Beaufort County, parts of Colleton County, all of Charleston County, parts of Berkeley County, parts of Dorchester County, parts of Georgetown County and parts of Horry County.

Please visit the National Hurricane Center for more updates - Click Here.

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