WATCH: Hurricane Dorian claims at least five lives in Bahamas
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Washington - Hurricane Dorian killed at least five people and
caused "unprecedented" devastation in the Bahamas, the country's
prime minister said Monday as the monster storm remained almost
stationary over the two northern islands of the Caribbean chain for
more than 30 hours.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis gave an early accounting of the
situation on Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands at a news
conference, saying his country was "in the midst of a historic
Minnis said 21 other people had been injured and flown to a hospital
in the capital Nassau, with five in serious condition. Search and
rescue efforts were hampered by the storm Monday but would begin in
earnest by Tuesday morning, he added.
Dorian was downgraded from a category 5 hurricane - the highest level
- to a category 4 as it stalled over Atlantic Ocean archipelago,
pummelling the islands with winds strong enough to rip the roofs off
homes and topple trees, and a storm surge that brought intense
Videos posted on social media showed downed telephone poles, cars
flipped over and massive waves crashing ashore in heavy rain in the
Bahamas, an independent country within the British Commonwealth.
Dorian moved only about 10 kilometres in an eight-hour period, the
National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 8 pm (0000 GMT Tuesday)
update. Its eye was 40 kilometres north-east of Freeport and about
170 kilometres east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the centre added.
Dorian made landfall on the Abaco Islands on Sunday afternoon and
churned as a category 5 storm until it was downgraded Monday, though
it still had sustained wind speeds of 220 kilometres per hour.
The Miami-based NHC described Dorian as an "extremely powerful" storm
in its 8 pm update. Forecasters expect it to turn toward the
north-west by late Tuesday and move "dangerously close" to Florida's
east coast through Wednesday evening.
Evacuation orders were posted for parts of coastal Florida as the NHC
extended its storm surge warning northward into Georgia.
The potential storm surge of rising water moving inland from the
coast could cause life-threatening inundations, the NHC said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told a news briefing that people living
in areas under evacuation orders should leave.
"Get out now while you have time, while there is fuel available and
while you'll be safe on the roads," DeSantis said.