METEO The hurricane, which strengthened further on Sunday, is expected to reach Florida on Monday evening
The first images that appear on social networks are scary. And the worst is yet to come… Falling on the Bahamas with torrential rains and winds approaching 300 km/h, Dorian became Sunday the most violent hurricane ever recorded in the northwest of the archipelago, causing “catastrophic conditions” in the Abacos Islands, the National Center for American Hurricanes (NHC) announced.
“We are facing a hurricane (…) as we have never seen in the history of the Bahamas,” said Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister of this archipelago of some 700 islets between Florida, Cuba, and Haiti. “This is probably the saddest day of my life,” he added, in tears.
Videos published on the Bahamas Tribune 242 website showed waves reaching the roofs of wooden houses, overturned boats floating in muddy water amid tree branches, planks, and other debris. According to the Miami-based NHC, Dorian equaled the 1935 record for the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic when it made landfall, raising fears of devastation. “People are still traumatized by Matthew (in 2016) but it’s even worse,” Yasmin Rigby, who lives in Freeport, Grand Bahama, told AFP.
Since the White House, US President Donald Trump has called for the utmost vigilance in the face of this “very, very powerful” climate phenomenon. “Pray for the people of the Bahamas,” he tweeted shortly afterward.
He could hit Florida on Monday night.
According to the latest forecasts from the US National Hurricane Centre, Dorian, with winds reaching 295 km/h, is expected to hit the Bahamas during the day. He should then “approach the east coast of Florida Monday evening and Tuesday”, but it is difficult to predict how hard he will hit the “Sunshine State” after a change of course.
“A lot of movement, very difficult to predict,” Donald Trump summed up Saturday in a tweet. “Initially, he was supposed to hit Florida directly,” he recalled Sunday morning when he arrived at the White House on his return from Camp David. “It now looks like it will go up to South Carolina and North Carolina. Georgia and Alabama will also be affected. “But his race could still change,” warned the White House tenant, who canceled his trip to Poland this weekend.
At 8 pm French time on Sunday, the cyclone was still over the Bahamas and was moving very slowly westward at a speed of 7 km/h, according to the NHC. The Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, has declared a state of emergency in his state. “The strength and unpredictability of the storm forced us to prepare for all scenarios,” he said.
A state of emergency had already been declared in Florida and a dozen counties in Georgia. This measure makes it possible to better mobilize the State’s public services and to use federal assistance if necessary. A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the coastal areas of Palm Beach and Martin counties in Florida.