Hurricane Dorian has caused major damage in the Bahamas – destroying homes and ripping roofs from buildings – as it made landfall as the joint strongest ever Atlantic storm.
While there were no immediate reports of deaths, residents of places such as the Abaco Islands and Marsh Harbour, were sheltering in schools and churches, as the long-threatening Dorian made landfall as a category 5 storm with gusts of up to 220mph and a sustained speed of 185mph.
When it struck land twice on Sunday afternoon, first in the Abaco Islands at then close to Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island, it equalled a record set by a Labour Day storm from 1935. That storm – which occurred before hurricanes were given names – ultimately left major damage in its wake in the Florida Keys.
“It’s devastating,” said Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Bahamas’ ministry of tourism and aviation. “There has been huge damage to property and infrastructure. Luckily, no loss of life reported.“
“Pray for the people in the Bahamas,” Donald Trump tweeted after returning to the White House from Camp David, to better monitor the federal response to the storm. “Being hit like never before, Category 5. Almost 200 MPH winds.”
South Carolina’s governor has ordered an emergency evacuation of its coastal region – a decision that will affect one million people.
There have also been evacuations ordered in Florida, where governor Rick de Santis has deployed 4,500 members of the national guard.
A tropical storm warning has been issued on southern Florida’s east coast, while a tropical storm watch was also issued between Deerfield Beach down to Golden Beach.
To see how the drama played out please read below:
Additional reporting by agencies