Hurricane Dorian death toll rises to 7 in the Bahamas after the Category 5 storm decimated islands

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Tuesday put the Hurricane Dorian death toll at seven, as the storm got ‘dangerously close’ to the United States east coast, where it was set to hit overnight after more than a million people were ordered to evacuate.

The NHS said in an 8pm EDT advisory that Dorian packed sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 kph) and was moving northwest at 6 mph as it churned about 105 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Hurricane-force winds had expanded to 60 miles from the storm’s core. ‘Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days,’ the NHS said. 

It was set to hit Florida with hurricane conditions before bringing its powerful winds and dangerous surf along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina by late Thursday. The governors of those states have ordered evacuations of coastal counties. 

   

An aerial view shows the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian after it hit the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on Tuesday. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Tuesday said seven people had been killed since the storm made landfall

Houses lay gutted after the storm continued to tear through properties on the islands on Tuesday, as shown in this aerial from yesterday

Houses lay gutted after the storm continued to tear through properties on the islands on Tuesday, as shown in this aerial from yesterday

A graphic shows how the Atlantic Ocean has swamped huge areas of Grand Bahama, the northernmost island, leaving just a thin strip of land above water

A graphic shows how the Atlantic Ocean has swamped huge areas of Grand Bahama, the northernmost island, leaving just a thin strip of land above water

An eerie picture shows Terminal B at Orlando International Airport in Florida after it was closed due to the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Dorian yesterday

An eerie picture shows Terminal B at Orlando International Airport in Florida after it was closed due to the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Dorian yesterday

A US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater handout released on Wednesday shows boats strewn across a marina in Andros Island, Bahamas, on Monday

A US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater handout released on Wednesday shows boats strewn across a marina in Andros Island, Bahamas, on Monday

President Donald Trump's Palm Beach home and resort, Mar-a-Lago, was pictured with windows shuttered down. There was a mandatory evacuation of the whole island of Palm Beach at the time on Monday

President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home and resort, Mar-a-Lago, was pictured with windows shuttered down. There was a mandatory evacuation of the whole island of Palm Beach at the time on Monday

Mar-a-Lago looked like a ghost town as the glamorous resort was closed down in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian making landfall on the south east US coast

Mar-a-Lago looked like a ghost town as the glamorous resort was closed down in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian making landfall on the south east US coast

The Hurricane Dorian death toll was at seven on Tuesday but the country was warned to expected more devastation. An aerial view of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas in this still image from video obtained via social media

The Hurricane Dorian death toll was at seven on Tuesday but the country was warned to expected more devastation. An aerial view of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas in this still image from video obtained via social media

A volunteer looks for the owner of a dog he rescued from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, on a flooded road near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas

A volunteer looks for the owner of a dog he rescued from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, on a flooded road near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas

Volunteers walk under the wind and rain from Hurricane Dorian through a flooded road as they work to rescue families near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Tuesday

Volunteers walk under the wind and rain from Hurricane Dorian through a flooded road as they work to rescue families near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Tuesday

As of 4pm Tuesday afternoon, most of Florida appeared to sit outside of the predicted path Hurricane Dorian is expected to take

As of 4pm Tuesday afternoon, most of Florida appeared to sit outside of the predicted path Hurricane Dorian is expected to take

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Tuesday said he had spotted 30 people trapped and trying to alert attention of rescuers near Coopers Town on Great Abaco

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Tuesday said he had spotted 30 people trapped and trying to alert attention of rescuers near Coopers Town on Great Abaco

President Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon: The US may be getting a little bit lucky with respect to Hurricane Dorian, but please don’t let down your guard. As it heads up the coast, lots of very bad and unpredictable things can happen! On the other hand, the Bahamas have been devastated. We are sending crews to help!’

He added a few hours later: ‘At the request of Senator Thom Tillis, I am getting the North Carolina Emergency Declaration completed and signed tonight. Hope you won’t need it.’

In the Bahamas, one Twitter post with the handle @mvp242 described how ‘victims are being loaded on flatbed trucks across Abaco,’ showing a rain-blurred photo of limp bodies strewn across a truck bed. 

The death toll is expected to rise. 

‘We can expect more deaths to be recorded. This is just preliminary information,’ Minnis told a news conference. 

Other messages on Twitter described whole communities being swept away and Minnis said he saw people waving for help in a community near Coopers Town on Great Abaco, after it had been cut off by flooding.

‘There were around 30 people trapped and waving yellow flags, sheets and shirts to bring our attention to their survival,’ Minnis said.

Hurricane Dorian has destroyed as many as 13,000 homes during its path of destruction through the Bahamas, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said, in the strongest storm ever to hit the Caribbean country. 

Panky Sands collects donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Greater St. Paul AME Church on September 3 in Miami, Florida

Panky Sands collects donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Greater St. Paul AME Church on September 3 in Miami, Florida

People gather donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Christ Episcopal Church on September 3, 2019, in Miami, Florida

People gather donations for Hurricane Dorian relief at Christ Episcopal Church on September 3, 2019, in Miami, Florida

Traffic is seen as curious locals visit the Vero Beach waterfront during tropical storm conditions Tuesday

Traffic is seen as curious locals visit the Vero Beach waterfront during tropical storm conditions Tuesday

A lone fisherman struggles to catch nothing but seaweed at the Vero Beach, Florida on Tuesday

A lone fisherman struggles to catch nothing but seaweed at the Vero Beach, Florida on Tuesday 

Dorian is expected to bring its powerful winds and dangerous surf along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina by late on Thursday. Vero Beach is pictured

Vero Beach is pictured

Dorian is expected to bring its powerful winds and dangerous surf along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina by late on Thursday. Vero Beach is pictured

A reporter is splashed by waves as strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain hit the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida on September 3. Weakening slightly but still packing a powerful punch, Hurricane Dorian churned towards the southeastern coast of the United States after delivering a devastating blow to the Bahamas

A reporter is splashed by waves as strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain hit the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida on September 3. Weakening slightly but still packing a powerful punch, Hurricane Dorian churned towards the southeastern coast of the United States after delivering a devastating blow to the Bahamas

With telephones – including emergency lines – down on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, residents posted lists of missing loved ones across social media platforms.

A single Facebook post inviting the names of missing people by local media outlet Our News Bahamas had 1,600 comments listing lost family members since it went live late on Tuesday morning.

The exact toll of the devastation in the Bahamas will not be clear until the storm completely passes and rescue crews can get on the ground, said Theo Neilly, the Bahamian consul general in Washington. Dorian has battered the Bahamas for the past three days. ‘We expect it to be very devastating and the damage to be extreme,’ Neilly said.

The catastrophic onslaught sent floodwaters up to the second floors of some buildings, trapped people in attics and led to others fleeing from one shelter to another.

Photos have captured just a glimpse of the devastation in the Bahamas. One image shows dozens of capsized boats at a harbor, while video shows stalled cars on flooded roads.

‘Marsh Harbor has suffered, I would estimate, in excess of 60 percent damage to their homes,’ Minnis said, referring to the port on Great Abaco. ‘The Mud, as we know, has been completely destroyed or decimated,’ he said in reference to a shantytown known as The Mud and The Peas.

One video shows Bahamians picking through debris as they try to salvage some of their belongings. 

Curious locals visit the Vero Beach, Florida, waterfront during tropical storm conditions as Hurricane Dorian's eye was exactly parallel

Curious locals visit the Vero Beach, Florida, waterfront during tropical storm conditions as Hurricane Dorian’s eye was exactly parallel

Dorian packs sustained winds of 110 miles per hour and is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days. Vero Beach is pictured

 Dorian packs sustained winds of 110 miles per hour and is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days. Vero Beach is pictured

Swimmers take to the Vero Beach, Fla., waterfront during tropical storm conditions as Hurricane Dorian's eye was exactly parallel

Swimmers take to the Vero Beach, Fla., waterfront during tropical storm conditions as Hurricane Dorian’s eye was exactly parallel

Vero Beach is pictured

Vero Beach is pictured

Turtle nest are being decimated in Vero Beach as Hurricane Dorian begins to pass along Florida's coast. Nearly all species of sea turtles are classified as endangered

Turtle nest are being decimated in Vero Beach as Hurricane Dorian begins to pass along Florida’s coast. Nearly all species of sea turtles are classified as endangered 

A boat is tossed in large waves off the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida on Tuesday

A boat is tossed in large waves off the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida on Tuesday

A man is seen fishing in Deerfield Beach, Florida on Tueday - Weakening slightly but still packing a powerful punch, Hurricane Dorian churned towards the southeastern coast of the US after delivering a devastating blow to the Bahamas

A man is seen fishing in Deerfield Beach, Florida on Tueday – Weakening slightly but still packing a powerful punch, Hurricane Dorian churned towards the southeastern coast of the US after delivering a devastating blow to the Bahamas

Strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain cover a pier at the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida

Strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain cover a pier at the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida

A reporter is splashed by waves as strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain hit the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida

A reporter is splashed by waves as strong gusts of wind and bands of heavy rain hit the Jensen Beach Causeway Park in Jensen Beach, Florida

Dorian’s relentless winds and rain battered homes and businesses on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have a combined population of about 70,000 and are no more than 40 feet above sea level at their highest points.

The Grand Bahama airport was said to be under 6 feet of water. The exact toll of the devastation in the Bahamas will not be clear until the storm passes and rescue crews can get on the ground. The storm hovered over the islands for almost 24 hours. 

Food may be required for 14,500 people in the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas and for 45,700 people in Grand Bahama, the U.N. World Food Programme said in a statement. The preliminary estimates were based on an assessment by representatives from Caribbean countries, the WFP and other organizations.

The U.S. Agency for International Development said on Twitter it was ‘airlifting critical relief items – like plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, and water containers’ from Miami to the Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard said four of its helicopters were assisting in the humanitarian effort.

Dorian, which killed one person in Puerto Rico before bashing into the Bahamas on Sunday, is tied for the second-strongest Atlantic storm to make landfall with Gilbert (1988), Wilma (2005) and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

Minnis earlier said: ‘We are in the midst of a historic tragedy. The devastation is unprecedented and extensive.’ 

An aerial view shows devastation after hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on Tuesday

An aerial view shows devastation after hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on Tuesday

Hurricane Dorian has killed at least five people and destroyed as many as 13,000 homes during its path of destruction through the Bahamas. This photo shows dozens of damaged boats at the Marsh Harbour Boatyards in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian has killed at least five people and destroyed as many as 13,000 homes during its path of destruction through the Bahamas. This photo shows dozens of damaged boats at the Marsh Harbour Boatyards in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas 

This photo taken by the US Coast Guard during a rescue operation shows floodwaters at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

This photo taken by the US Coast Guard during a rescue operation shows floodwaters at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas 

Coast Guard choppers are seen preparing to head out on rescue missions during a downpour from Hurricane Dorian. The Coast Guard airlifted at least 21 people who were injured on Abaco Island, which Dorian hit on Sunday with sustained winds of 185mph and gusts of up to 220mph

Coast Guard choppers are seen preparing to head out on rescue missions during a downpour from Hurricane Dorian. The Coast Guard airlifted at least 21 people who were injured on Abaco Island, which Dorian hit on Sunday with sustained winds of 185mph and gusts of up to 220mph

This satellite image obtained from NOAA/RAMMB, shows Tropical Storm Dorian as it sits over the Bahamas at 11:30UTC on September 3, 2019. - Dorian hovered over the Bahamas as surging seawaters and ferocious winds sowed chaos in low-lying island communities

This satellite image obtained from NOAA/RAMMB, shows Tropical Storm Dorian as it sits over the Bahamas at 11:30UTC on September 3, 2019. – Dorian hovered over the Bahamas as surging seawaters and ferocious winds sowed chaos in low-lying island communities

‘Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery,’ Minnis added. He said the US Coast Guard was on the ground in Abaco and had rescued a number of injured individuals. 

The Coast Guard airlifted at least 21 people who were injured on Abaco Island, which Dorian hit on Sunday with sustained winds of 185mph and gusts of up to 220mph, a strength matched only by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were given names. 

The Royal Family shared condolences to the victims of Hurricane Dorian in a statement shared on Instagram

The Royal Family shared condolences to the victims of Hurricane Dorian in a statement shared on Instagram

Critically injured people were being taken to hospitals on New Providence, the country’s most populous island. 

The storm was at a standstill, with part of its eyewall having hung over Grand Bahama Island since Sunday night. 

The Royal Family shared their condolences to the victims of Hurricane Dorian in a statement that was shared on Instagram.

‘Prince Philip and I have been shocked and saddened to learn of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, and we send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives following this terrible storm,’ a message from Queen Elizabeth II reads. 

‘At this very difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have seen their homes and property destroyed, and I also send my gratitude to the emergency services and volunteers who are supporting the rescue and recovery effort,’ the statement concluded. 

Efforts to reach officials in the Bahamas by phone on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Houses in a neighborhood in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island were engulfed by 6 feet of water.

‘It looks like they’re boats on top of the water,’ said Rosa Knowles-Bain, 61, a resident who fled two days ago to an emergency shelter.

Julia Aylen (pictured) was seen wading through waist-deep water while carrying her two pet dogs

Julia Aylen (pictured) was seen wading through waist-deep water while carrying her two pet dogs 

Residents wade through a street flooded with water brought on by Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas, where the storm's relentless winds have caused catastrophic damage and flooding

Residents wade through a street flooded with water brought on by Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Bahamas, where the storm’s relentless winds have caused catastrophic damage and flooding 

A family is escorted to a safe zone after they were rescued as Hurricane Dorian continued to rain in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday

A family is escorted to a safe zone after they were rescued as Hurricane Dorian continued to rain in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday

Volunteers rescue several families that arrived on small boats, from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday

Volunteers rescue several families that arrived on small boats, from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday

Volunteers walk under the wind and rain from Hurricane Dorian through a flooded road as they work to rescue families near the Causarina bridge in Freeport on Tuesday

Volunteers walk under the wind and rain from Hurricane Dorian through a flooded road as they work to rescue families near the Causarina bridge in Freeport on Tuesday

Other volunteers were seen on a motor-boat rescuing people trapped by the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport

Other volunteers were seen on a motor-boat rescuing people trapped by the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport

US Coast Guard personnel wheel an evacuee on a stretcher after the victim was rescued from Abaco Island during Hurricane Dorian on Tuesday

US Coast Guard personnel wheel an evacuee on a stretcher after the victim was rescued from Abaco Island during Hurricane Dorian on Tuesday

Rain brought on by Hurricane Dorian continued to pour in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday and devastated thousands of homes (pictured)

Rain brought on by Hurricane Dorian continued to pour in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday and devastated thousands of homes (pictured)

Bahamian officials said they received a ‘tremendous’ number of calls from people in flooded homes.

One radio station said it fielded more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a woman with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. At least two designated storm shelters flooded.

NASA satellite imagery through Monday night showed spots in the Bahamas where Dorian had dumped as much as 35 inches of rain, said private meteorologist Ryan Maue. 

Health minister Duane Sands said flooding has rendered the main hospital on Grand Bahama unusable.

Bahamian officials said they received a 'tremendous' number of calls from people in flooded homes. Footage showed the moment an ambulance became trapped in the heavy floodwaters of the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian

Bahamian officials said they received a ‘tremendous’ number of calls from people in flooded homes. Footage showed the moment an ambulance became trapped in the heavy floodwaters of the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian 

He said the hospital in Marsh Harbor is intact and sheltering 400 people but needs food, water, medicine and surgical supplies. 

Sands also said crews are trying to airlift between five and seven end-stage kidney failure patients from Abaco who have not received dialysis since Friday.

Parliament member Iram Lewis said he feared that waters would keep rising and stranded people would lose contact with officials as mobile phone batteries died.

‘It is scary,’ he said, adding that people were moving from one shelter to another as floodwaters kept surging. ‘We’re definitely in dire straits.’

Lewis also said the death toll, which is currently at 5, is likely to rise.

‘It is safe to say, unfortunately, that that number will go up,’ Lewis said, adding that extensive floodwaters were making it difficult for rescuers to reach stranded residents. 

A photo of Mar-a-Lago from Tuesday shows a storm surge brought on by Hurricane Dorian

A photo of Mar-a-Lago from Tuesday shows a storm surge brought on by Hurricane Dorian

United Nations officials estimate more than 60,000 people in the north-west Bahamas will need food following the devastation left by the hurricane. This photo shows a damaged resident building

United Nations officials estimate more than 60,000 people in the north-west Bahamas will need food following the devastation left by the hurricane. This photo shows a damaged resident building 

Parliament member Iram Lewis said he feared that waters would keep rising and stranded people would lose contact with officials as mobile phone batteries died. 'It is scary,' he said, adding that people were moving from one shelter to another as floodwaters kept surging. Two vehicles are seen submerged in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday

Parliament member Iram Lewis said he feared that waters would keep rising and stranded people would lose contact with officials as mobile phone batteries died. ‘It is scary,’ he said, adding that people were moving from one shelter to another as floodwaters kept surging. Two vehicles are seen submerged in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday 

Four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews were deployed to conduct search and rescue missions in the Bahamas. An ambulance is seen outside damaged homes as they rescue a resident

Four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews were deployed to conduct search and rescue missions in the Bahamas. An ambulance is seen outside damaged homes as they rescue a resident 

Officials in northeastern Florida have urged people to stay away from the beaches due to possible storm surge from Hurricane Dorian.

Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said Tuesday that waves of up to 20 feet are expected along the area’s Atlantic beaches as the storm moves toward the north.

He says there can still be ‘life-threatening if not deadly conditions at the beach’.

Lord said storm surge is expected along the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

At 4.00pm, Dorian was packing maximum sustained winds of 110mph, the NHC said. Dorian was located about 105 miles east of Fort Pierce, Florida, and moving in a northwesterly direction towards the Florida coast at 5mph

At 4.00pm, Dorian was packing maximum sustained winds of 110mph, the NHC said. Dorian was located about 105 miles east of Fort Pierce, Florida, and moving in a northwesterly direction towards the Florida coast at 5mph 

Dorian, which over the weekend had been one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, weakened to a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale early Tuesday. Shortly after 11am, the storm weakened even more to a Category 2 hurricane

Dorian, which over the weekend had been one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, weakened to a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale early Tuesday. Shortly after 11am, the storm weakened even more to a Category 2 hurricane

Over Labor Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina – more than 800,000 in South Carolina alone – were ordered to evacuate amid fears Dorian could bring life-threatening storm-surge flooding (depicted above) even if the hurricane's center stays offshore, as forecast

Over Labor Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina – more than 800,000 in South Carolina alone – were ordered to evacuate amid fears Dorian could bring life-threatening storm-surge flooding (depicted above) even if the hurricane’s center stays offshore, as forecast

A hurricane warning is still in effect for parts of Florida, including Titusville (depicted above)

A hurricane warning is still in effect for parts of Florida, including Titusville (depicted above)

Forecasters also released this map of areas where power outages are 'possible' and 'likely' (depicted above)

Forecasters also released this map of areas where power outages are ‘possible’ and ‘likely’ (depicted above)

This graphic shows the times and probability that Hurricane Dorian is likely to pass near multiple states along the East Coast

This graphic shows the times and probability that Hurricane Dorian is likely to pass near multiple states along the East Coast

While it is expected to stay offshore, meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that 'only a small deviation' could draw the storm’s dangerous core toward land

While it is expected to stay offshore, meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that ‘only a small deviation’ could draw the storm’s dangerous core toward land

While it is expected to stay offshore, meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that ‘only a small deviation’ could draw the storm’s dangerous core toward land. 

The NHC warned that Dorian remained dangerous despite the reduced wind speed.

‘The headline for this #Dorian advisory is NOT that the wind speed has slightly decreased,’ it said on Twitter. 

‘The combined wind, surge, and floods hazards are the same or even worse since the hurricane has become larger.’

Several large airports announced closures, and hundreds of flights were cancelled. 

Orlando International Airport ceased commercial operations because of the storm, it said in a statement. Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will close by 3pm on Tuesday, it said in a statement. 

In South Carolina, the major Interstate 26 road was turned into a one-way evacuation route away from Charleston on the coast, and Georgia governor Brian Kemp likewise planned to reverse lanes on I-16 on Tuesday to increase the flow of traffic away from the danger zone. 

Kemp said: ‘We’re taking the “better safe than sorry” attitude.’ 


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