Hurricane Dorian has become the strongest storm in modern records to hit the northwestern Bahamas and is expected to pound the islands with up to two days’ of torrential rain, high waves and damaging winds, according to media reports.
A “catastrophic” scenario is unfolding in the northwestern Bahamas, where the storm’s eyewall, the ring of destructive winds around the center, struck Sunday. The storm made landfall at 12:40 p.m. ET in Elbow Cay, Abacos. At 2 p.m., the center reported the storm is “Heading with all its fury toward Grand Bahama,” the Washington Post reported about an hour ago.
With gusts over 220 mph, along with storm surge flooding of 18 to 23 feet above normal tide levels, Dorian ranks as tied for the 2nd-strongest storm (as judged by its maximum sustained winds) ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, behind Hurricane Allen of 1980.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Dorian made landfall on Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands as a Category 5 storm on Sunday with maximum sustained winds of over 180 miles/hour and gusts of more than 200 miles/hour.
“This is a life-threatening situation. Residents there should take immediate shelter. Do not venture into the eye if it passes over your location,” the NHC warned.
The hurricane Center said these hazards will cause extreme destruction in the affected areas and will continue for several hours.
Bahamas residents reported trees snapping and docks being destroyed before the brunt of the storm arrived.
The pummelling was expected to last for hours as the hurricane may slow to just 1.5km/h, prolonging its catastrophic effects, the NHC said..
Millions of people from Florida to North Carolina were bracing to see whether Dorian avoids a US landfall and, as predicted, veers north into the Atlantic Ocean after hitting the Bahamas.
Even a glancing blow from one of the strongest storms ever to menace Florida could bring torrential rains and damaging winds, and a Florida landfall is still a distinct possibility, the NHC warned.
Below are some videos of the early effects of Dorian on the Bahamas.