The Guardian’s Oliver Laughland is now on Grand Bahama island and will file a dispatch later today. Here is the report, updated this morning, from Nassau, in conjunction with the Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt, who spent the night in Wilmington, North Carolina, as Dorian howled in.
“Like I was watching death in the eye”
Hurricane Dorian’s flood waters surpassed the floor boards, already five feet off the ground, so Freeport banana-farm owner Alpha Celestin, 61, busted a hole in his ceiling, propped a ladder there and climbed inside with two of his workers, the Miami Herald writes this morning, in a dispatch from Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The venerable daily paper reports that the degree of destruction on the northern reaches of the Bahamas is “unimaginable”.
The article continues that Celestin knew the other men couldn’t swim, so he tied Styrofoam from his ceiling around their chests to keep them afloat. They stayed perched there for 48 hours.
“This is the first time I’ve ever come so close to death, like I was watching death in the eye,” he told the paper. “I never knew of such a hurricane.”
“Everyone expected to pull a dead body from that house,” he said. “When I called they were very happy.”
Read the full report here.
Bahamas stricken but striving
A few meager possessions stuffed in plastic bags,
some of the haggard Bahamians who lost homes to the ravages of
Hurricane Dorian are waiting at a small airport hoping to catch planes
out of the disaster zone as an international humanitarian effort to
help the Caribbean country gains momentum and the official death toll has risen
to 30, the Associated Press writes.
A few hundred people sat at the partl- flooded Leonard M. Thompson
airport on Abaco island later yesterday, as small planes picked up the most
vulnerable survivors, including the sick and the elderly.
The evacuation was slow and there was frustration for some who said they had nowhere to go after the category 5 hurricane splintered whole neighborhoods.
“They told us that the babies, the pregnant people and the elderly
people were supposed to be first preference,” said Lukya Thompson, a
But many were still waiting, she said.
Despite hardship and uncertainty, those at the airport were mostly
The Bahamian health ministry said helicopters and boats were on
the way to help people in affected areas, though officials warned of
delays because of severe flooding and limited access.
At least 30 people died in the hurricane and the number could be
“significantly higher,” Bahamian health minister Duane Sands told The
Associated Press in a telephone interview late Thursday.
The victims are from Abaco and Grand Bahama islands and include some who died from injuries after being flown to New Providence island, he said.
The hurricane hit Abaco on Sunday and then hovered over Grand Bahama
for a day and a half.
First US landfall
Hurricane Dorian’s coming ashore at Cape Hatteras this morning marks the first landfall since the storm reluctantly departed the Bahamian archipelago, after hitting the northern reaches of the Bahamas over the weekend.
So after much trepidation all the way up the east coast of Florida, into Georgia and South Carolina (don’t mention Alabama), Dorian has made its initial and likely only US landfall on North Carolina’s Outer Banks barrier islands.
Flooding is happening there now, with reports of inundation on the small island of Ocracoke.
Ocracoke is towards the southern end of the wafer-thin barrier islands, offshore from where the Pamlico, Bay and Neuse rivers reach the ocean in North Carolina.
Stand by for fuller reports about the Outer Banks and a dispatch from our man in Wilmington shortly, while we take the opportunity meanwhile to update you on the disastrous situation in parts of the Bahamas.
Having just made landfall at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Dorian is spinning up the Atlantic Coast with winds up to 95mph.
Cape Lookout reported one-minute sustained winds of 81 mph, with a gust of 94 mph early Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical-storm-force wind, meaning it’s over 39mph, is now blowing up to 220 miles from the center of the storm.
Hurricane-force winds mean speeds over 74mph and they are shrieking along up to 45 miles from the center.
Hurricane howls over North Carolina Outer Banks
Good Morning, weather watchers. With Hurricane Dorian still upon us, we’ll continue to follow its progress and effects moment to moment today.
We have correspondents on location in North Carolina and on Grand Bahama, as well as our team keeping vigil at Guardian US HQ in New York, and we will bring you updates on the Atlantic coast and the Bahamas as they arise.
Dorian is still a category 1 hurricane and is currently shrieking up the barrier islands off the north-eastern part of North Carolina.
- The storm’s eye is 10 miles off Cape Hatteras, moving north-east at 14 mph.
- It is expected to continue at hurricane strength up the eastern seaboard, into tomorrow.
- Conditions ranging from flood risk in North Carolina and Virginia to heavy surf in New England are on the cards.
- The official death toll in the Bahamas so far is 30, but there is a tragic expectation of that possibly rising into the hundreds as the full impact of Dorian, which sat over Abaco and Grand Bahama as a category 5 on Sunday and Monday, continues to unfold.
- Many in the Carolinas had a sleepless night as howling winds and sideways rain pounded coastal areas, following some tornados whipped up by Dorian. Curfews in many areas lifted this morning and the extent of any damage and injury will become clearer. So far, four people are thought to have succumbed to storm-related death in the US.