Aerial footage recorded by pilots surveying parts of the Bahamas pounded by Hurricane Dorian in the last 48 hours shows widespread destruction.
Hurricane Dorian came to a catastrophic daylong halt over the northwest Bahamas, flooding the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with walls of water that lapped into the second floors of buildings, trapped people in attics and drowned the Grand Bahama airport under 6 feet of water. At least five people died and 21 injured people were airlifted to the capital by the U.S. Coast Guard, Bahamas officials said.
Footage obtained by Accuweather and Live Storms Media show the deadly storm destroyed buildings on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama:
— WEAR ABC 3 (@weartv) September 3, 2019
An island under water:
Aerial video gives us a first glimpse of the Abaco Islands. Practically parking over the Bahamas for a day and a half, Hurricane Dorian pounded away at the islands. https://t.co/kePsYIVBO0 pic.twitter.com/GC92CdKspd
— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) September 3, 2019
Aerial footage shows the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian on The Bahamas, where the storm wreaked havoc for nearly two days, as it came to a virtual standstill over Grand Bahama. https://t.co/eGnmjWt0CI pic.twitter.com/6BokSswiTu
— ABC News (@ABC) September 3, 2019
The storm’s punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes, crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics.
Speaking to the Associated Press, local hurricane relief aide worker Lia Head-Rigby said scenes around the island nation resemble a war zone.
“It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic. It looks like a bomb went off,” she said. “It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.”
Meanwhile, rescue crews are struggling to save those left stranged by Dorian and are urging people to stay put until conditions become less dangerous.
“We wanted to go out there, but that’s not a risk we’re capable of taking,” Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency official Tammy Mitchell said in an interview with ZNS Bahamas. “We don’t want people thinking we’ve forgotten them. … We know what your conditions are. We know if you’re stuck in an attic.”
Practically parking over a portion of the Bahamas for a day and a half, Dorian pounded the northern islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with winds up to 185 mph and torrential rain before finally moving into open waters Tuesday on a course for Florida. Its winds were down to a still-dangerous 110 mph.
Over 2 million people along the coast in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina were warned to evacuate. While the threat of a direct hit on Florida had all but evaporated, Dorian was expected to pass dangerously close to Georgia and South Carolina — and perhaps strike North Carolina — on Thursday or Friday.
In a press conference Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents to be prepared as Dorian inches toward the Sunshine State at a snail’s pace.
“This is going to be riding Florida’s coast for the next day, day and a half,” DeSantis said. “We just ask people to stay safe, remain vigilant. There will be some effects in the state of Florida. There’ll be storm surge, there’ll be some flooding, you may see wind damage depending on how close this gets. But at the end of the day being safe is the most important.”