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Dorian Photos: Scenes of Devastation From the Bahamas

The northern Bahamas have been bashed by a hurricane of dreadful power, as severe flooding and winds reaching 180 miles per hour led to the deaths of at least five people and wrecked thousands of homes.

What made the storm so devastating was not only its enormous force — Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane when it landed on Grand Bahama island late Sunday — but also its excruciatingly slow pace. Dorian essentially stalled over the Bahamas, with its torrential downpours and destructive gusts washing over the islands for hour after hour.

While the damage inflicted Monday by the storm is certain to be grievous, the full scope of the disaster remains unknown, with phone, internet and power lines down on many islands.

Caribbean disaster response managers said they might not be able to deploy rescue-and-recovery teams to the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama until Wednesday, when the hurricane conditions were forecast to at last relent.

“We are afraid to even think of what those people on those islands went through with the storm slowing down and almost stopped for that amount of time, and being such a strong storm,” said Geoffrey Greene, the chief meteorological officer at the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.

Emergency offices have received at least 200 calls from people stranded on their rooftops or attics. Videos showed stunned residents of the islands looking at crumpled cars, crushed homes, mounds of debris and twisted trees.

“We are seeing unprecedented levels of water,” said Kevin D. Harris, director general of the Bahamas Information Center.

The images that have emerged show scenes of widespread ruin, with roads submerged beneath floodwaters, homes inundated with storm surge and boats scattered heedlessly across wrecked marinas.

While the storm has declined in strength to a Category 2 hurricane, it remains a significant threat as it crawls north toward the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

The Abaco Islands, which took much of the brunt of Dorian’s force, are populated by fishermen and manual laborers, as well as migrants from Haiti, and are less visited by the tourists who drive much of the economy of the Bahamas. There was deep concern for the Haitian migrants there, who often live in makeshift homes in shantytowns.

Grand Bahama island, over which Dorian hung suspended for hours, is home to a number of resorts popular with Americans. Freeport, the largest settlement on the island, is the second-largest city in the Bahamas.

“We are already hearing from residents that whole towns have been wiped out and devastated,” Mr. Harris said. “This is going to be a big search-and-rescue and rebuilding effort. I don’t think we have seen anything as bad as this. This one is for the history books.”

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