Hurricane Dorian has puzzled meteorologists with its rare behaviour.
The Red Cross estimates that as many as 13,000 houses might have been damaged or destroyed on Grand Bahama Island and the neighboring Abaco Islands, which also saw extensive flooding and where at least five people were killed.
A text message seen by AFP from a woman named Kendra Williams, who lives on Grand Bahama, said: "We are under water; we are up in the ceiling".
"This is unprecedented", said Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground.
Strong winds move the palms of the palm trees at the first moment of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Sunday Sept. 1, 2019.
Storm surges started to hit the Florida coast on Monday.
Dorian was expected to pound Grand Bahama for much of the day.
Dorian, packing sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour with higher gusts, was classified as a Category 3 storm, diminished from when it first slammed into the Bahamas as a most risky Category 5 hurricane and stalled over the popular vacation mecca. Data from reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 110 miles per hour with higher gusts. "Kind of anxious to get it over with", she said.
"People do understand that Dorian is nothing to mess around with", he said. This satellite has an advantage over other Earth-observing satellites in that it's not limited by clouds associated with storms like Dorian. We can rebuild your home.
According to the latest update from NOAA's National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian is just beginning to move again after it came to a complete standstill over Grand Bahama Island.
Parliament member Iram Lewis said he feared waters would keep rising and stranded people would lose contact with officials as their cellphone batteries died.
There are "still many outstanding rescue missions", on the island of Grand Bahama, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Peter Turnquestsaid, in reply to written questions. "We're definitely in dire straits". The storm will be close to the Georgia and SC shorelines Wednesday night into Thursday, before moving near or over North Carolina's coast Thursday night.
While it was expected to stay offshore, meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that "only a small deviation" could draw the storm's risky core toward land. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.
South Carolina's Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters Tuesday that all of his state's coastline is "either under a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning". It has barely budged from that position since Monday afternoon.
The storm is the second-most powerful Atlantic storm in modern history, lagging only behind Hurricane Allen in 1980.
The hurricane is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
He added that the sea surge from the storm was high and people were still trapped in their homes and attics.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. "And then they're looking for folks in distress that they can get to", he said.
"We have not seen much resistance at all", he said.
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