Hurricane Dorian, a powerful Category 5 storm, turned deadly as it roared over the Bahamas on Sunday. The storm made landfall on three different islands with punishing sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts that reached speeds of 225 mph.
Late Sunday night, the first recorded death in Abaco following Hurricane Dorian was confirmed. Seven-year-old Lachino McIntosh drowned and his sister remains missing, according to the Bahamas Press. His death occurred after his family attempted to relocate their home.
Dorian has proved to be a historic hurricane, the strongest ever during modern record-keeping to make landfall in the Bahamas and, with sustained 185-mph winds, it’s now the second-strongest hurricane, by wind speed, ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Dorian now stands behind only Hurricane Allen, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Allen thundered over the Gulf of Mexico in August 1980 and reached sustained wind speeds of 190 mph before making landfall near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hurricane Dorian made its initial landfall at Elbow Cay, Abacos, in the Bahamas. The eye of Dorian then made a second landfall on Great Abaco Island near Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. The third landfall came later on Sunday night, the eye encroaching the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island. Maximum sustained winds were 185-mph during the first two landfalls, dropping to 180 mph for the third. Gusts of 225, as AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer pointed out, were equivalent to the winds of an EF4 tornado.
“I have seen utter devastation here in Marsh Harbour. We are surrounded by water with no way out,” ABC News correspondent Marcus Moore told the news station. “Absolution devastation, there really are no words it is pure hell here on Marsh Harbour on Avoca Island in the northern part of the Bahamas.”
Since 1851 the Treasure Cay area in the Abacos Bahamas has experienced three major hurricanes, all of which were Category 3 hurricanes, according to the NWS Charleston. Prior to Dorian, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was the only other Category 5 hurricane to pass through the Bahamas.
“This is probably the saddest and worst day for me to address the Bahamian people,” the Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis wrote in a Twitter post Sunday afternoon. “We are facing a hurricane that we have never seen in the Bahamas. Please pray for us.”
In addition to some places in the Bahamas seeing up to 30 inches of rain, severe storm surge could be devastating.
The storm’s outer bands were reaching the Florida coast as of late Sunday night, bringing tropical downpours and gusty winds.
The first mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Sunday for St. Johns County, St. Lucie County and Martin County and parts of Palm Beach County, including where President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended traffic tolls after the first evacuation orders went into effect at 1 p.m. “Hurricane Dorian is one of the strongest storms that’s ever threatened Florida. If you live in a county with evacuation orders, please heed the call,” DeSantis implored Floridians.
President Trump has also been issuing warnings about the power of Dorian. “It seems to be one of the biggest hurricanes we’ve ever seen, and that’s a problem,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Sunday. “It seems to be going up toward South Carolina, toward North Carolina. Georgia’s going to be hit. Alabama’s gonna get a piece of it.” Trump added. He posted a similar statement on Twitter as well.
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