Bahamas residents warned as as Hurricane Dorian bears down

Bahamas residents warned as as Hurricane Dorian bears down

September 1, 2019

Washington: Residents and tourists in the Bahamas have been urged to seek shelter as time runs out before powerful Hurricane Dorian hits, with authorities warning those who refuse to move are risking their lives.

"Hurricane Dorian is a devastating, dangerous storm approaching our islands," Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a nationally televised news conference.

A satellite image of Hurricane Dorian as it bore down on the Bahamas on Saturday, local time. New projections show it is likely to curve upward enough to potentially spare Florida a direct hit.Credit:AP

Packing maximum sustained winds of 240km/h, the Category 4 storm was forecast to hit the Bahamas on Sunday with nearly a metre of rainfall in places, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

People in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina were told to prepare for its arrival late on Monday at the end of a long holiday weekend.

The risk for South Florida appeared greatly reduced on Saturday, although governments warned the region may experience windy weather, choppy waters and flooding, made worse by the king tide. And forecasters constantly warn that hurricanes don't always follow predicted paths.

"It is way too early to let our guard down," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said during a news conference Saturday at the county's emergency management headquarters in Doral. "We still have a 50-70 per cent chance of tropical storm force winds and surges. Don't take down your shutters, not just yet."

People at a business in the Normandy area in Miami Beach, Florida, remove the plywood shutters covering the front windows on Saturday, as Hurricane Dorian’s latest track shows the storm has shifted east and north, increasing the possibility that the storm would not make landfall in Florida. Credit:AP

"Dorian will now create prolonged periods of large swells, surges along the north coast of Grand Bahama and the north and east coast of Abaco," said Jeffery Simmons, the deputy director of Bahamas' department of meteorology.

"We are asking residents in those areas to leave the coastline, we expect a storm surge of up to 15 feet, in addition to that we have a spring tide that can increase the surge by 2 to 3 feet," Simmons added.

Once the storm unleashes its fury on the archipelago nation, people will have to ride out Dorian before first responders can venture outside to rescue anyone.

Rescue workers "will not be able to move with 145 or 150 mile per hour winds … so those individuals that want to move I advise that they move now," said Minnis.

Grand Bahama and Abaco are hubs for the Bahamas' thriving tourism industry. The nation owes nearly 30 per cent of its direct gross domestic product and half of its jobs to the industry, Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Ministry of Tourism, said.

The country is still reeling from Hurricane Matthew, which ripped into the Bahamas in 2016, as some hotels have taken years to make repairs.


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