ABC New reported that the category 5 Hurricane Dorian, which came ashore on Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands, is tied for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record, along with a hurricane on Labor Day in 1935 that struck the Florida Keys and moved up along the Gulf Coast of Florida.
The eye of the storm made a second landfall at 2 p.m. on the island near Marsh Harbour, and a third landfall an hour before midnight on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island.
Devastating conditions continued on the Abaco Islands overnight, with western portions of Grand Bahama, including the main city of Freeport, seeing the situation head south through the early morning.
Below is a report by The Guardian – Category 5 Hurricane Dorian pounds Bahamas – as it happened:
Hurricane Dorian has pounded the northernmost islands of the Bahamas with winds reaching speeds of more than 220mph (355kmh).
The first death was reported from the hurricane by Eyewitness News in the Bahamas, which spoke with a woman who said she had learned her eight-year-old grandson had died, likely drowned, and her granddaughter was missing. Both children were in the Abaco Islands.
Dorian is the biggest storm to hit the island chain in modern times and has been described as “catastrophic” and posing a “life-threatening” risk.
Meteorologists are finding it difficult to predict the path of the hurricane because of its wide “cone of uncertainty”. Though the Bahamas will probably suffer the most devastation, the big question in terms of scale of potential human suffering is where and when Dorian will hit along the east coast of the US, where population density is so much greater.
Georgia and South Carolina issued evacuation orders for their coastal communities on Sunday night as the National Hurricane Center warned of storm surges that could reach 18ft to 23ft (5.5m-7m) above normal levels.
On Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, footage emerged of floodwaters reaching halfway up the sides of family homes with parts of the roofs torn off. The island chain’s homes are built to withstand winds of at least 150mph (241km/h).
Bahamian prime minister Hubert Minnis said in a televised address: “This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people. I just want to say as a physician I’ve been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this.
Irene barreled through the Turks and Caicos Islands late Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane, blowing off some roofs, flooding roads and downing power lines.
In Puerto Rico, Irene caused heavy flooding, landslides and Gov. Luis Fortuno said on Wednesday that 765 people remain in shelters, two days after he declared a state of emergency.
In the Dominican Republic, flooding, rising rivers and mudslides have prompted the government to evacuate nearly 38,000 people.
In Bahamas, Capt. Stephen Russell tells The Associated Press that the Category 3 hurricane had at least caused 90 percent of the homes in the settlements on Acklins and Crooked islands severely damaged or destroyed >>> please click here for updated photos <<<.
Irene was expected to become a Category 4 hurricane by Thursday as it passes over the northwestern Bahamas en route to the eastern U.S. coast, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.