In a slow, relentless advance, the catastrophic hurricane kept pounding at the northern Bahamas early on Monday, as one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded left wrecked homes, shredded roofs, tumbled cars and toppled power poles in its wake.
The storm’s top sustained winds decreased slightly to 180 mph while it spun along Grand Bahama island overnight in what forecasters said would be a daylong assault.
The National Hurricane Center early Monday warned of ‘catastrophic storm surge flooding’ on Grand Bahama Island. It urged residents to stay indoors.
‘This is a life-threatening situation,’ the NHC said.
‘Residents on Grand Bahama Island should not leave their shelter when the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye.’
The NHC warned of ‘storm surge 18 to 23 feet above normal tide levels with higher destructive waves.’
‘These hazards will cause extreme destruction in the affected areas and will continue for several hours,’ the agency said.
The agency is also urging residents in the Abacos to stay in their shelter until conditions subside later today.
Earlier, Dorian churned over Abaco island with battering winds and surf during Sunday.
There was little information from the affected islands, though officials expected many residents to be left homeless.
Most people went to shelters as the storm approached, with tourist hotels shutting down and residents boarded up their homes.
Meanwhile, in the United States, South Carolina and Georgia ordered nearly a million people living along its coastline to evacuate in anticipation of the arrival of Dorian.