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Hurricane Dorian: Bahamas Residents Share Images of Destruction


An airport underwater. Roofs blown off. Streets washed out. Storm surges lapping second-story windows.

As parts of the Bahamas endured more than two days of Hurricane Dorian — one of the strongest Atlantic storms on record — residents shared photos and videos of the devastation on social media. Officials said, even on Tuesday, that they were still mostly unable to reach them.

As of Tuesday morning, Hurricane Dorian had been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour and storm surges as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels. But by then, the Bahamas had felt the force of the storm for nearly two days. U.S. officials stressed that the storm’s “combined wind, surge, and floods hazards are the same or even worse,” despite the downgrade.

By midday Tuesday, authorities in the Bahamas said rescue missions were still being hampered by rising floodwaters — a reality apparent in images circulating on social media.

A satellite image shared by imaging service ICEYE showed the scale of the flooding. The yellow lines were previously the coastline of Grand Bahama, the island over which the storm stalled most of Monday.

The National Hurricane Center said Dorian, at its worse, carried storm surges 18 to 23 feet above normal tide levels.

Throughout the storm, a number of Florida lawmakers have shared images they said were from contacts in the Bahamas. State representative Shevrin Jones shared a video on Sunday night that he said was from his family showing their roof blown off and storm surges swirling outside their windows.

Dorian did pack particularly strong winds — as a Category 5 it was measured as having 185 m.p.h. sustained winds, with gusts as high as 220 m.p.h. — but in the aftermath, flooding became a focus, especially as it began to hinder rescue and relief efforts.

On Monday, Kionne McGhee, a state representative in Florida, shared a video that he said was from a Bahamian member of parliament showing Freeport International Airport entirely under water.

And a video shared hours later by Mr. McGhee, which he said came from Michael Clifton Pintard, the Bahamas’s minister of agriculture and marine resources, showed the minister’s home being inundated by “20 feet of water.”

On Tuesday, flooding that accumulated over hours of pouring rain was a growing concern. Images shared on Tuesday showed flooding at Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport.

Elsewhere, residents began to emerge from their homes to describe the aftermath. “The devastation here is pretty crazy,” Jessica Mullen, a resident of Hope Town in Elbow Cay, said in a video shared on Facebook Live later on Monday night as she surveyed the damage. “We are really, really going to need a lot of help.”

A video Ms. Mullen shared on Sunday morning showed Dorian’s high winds and heavy rain, battering her windows before the hurricane made landfall.

The U.S. Coast Guard began making helicopter rescues and medical evacuations on Monday evening. A Twitter account associated with the Coast Guard’s 7th District Headquarters in Miami shared images from its aerial rescue crew deployed to Andros Island, part of the Bahamas south of Grand Bahama. The photos depict widespread damage.


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