Hurricane Dorian diminished to Category 2 storm status Tuesday as it slowly turned to the northwest, still a historic and violent storm mercilessly pummeling the Bahamas as the U.S. East Coast anxiously awaited its approach.
The latest forecasts put the hurricane farther off Florida’s east coast than previous projections.
“We still have hurricane warnings up because it’s just too close to call,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “Any little wiggle, wobble and it could get really close to the coast.”
In the Bahamas, at least five people have died and thousands of homes are in ruins from the “historic tragedy,” Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
“We know that there are a number of people in serious distress,” Minnis said. “We pray for their safety and will provide relief and assistance as soon as possible.”
Early Tuesday the center of the storm, which had completely stalled, was crawling along at about 2 mph. The storm is about 45 miles north of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The storm has barely budged since Monday afternoon, triggering severe flooding as parts of the country face the prospects of up to 30 inches of rain. Wind speeds lessened slightly but still roared at 110 mph, with gusts of 140 mph. A storm surge of up to 15 feet was swamping neighborhoods.
“These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island through today,” the Hurricane Center warned.
Brandisha Adderley, 29, said her home in Spring City, in the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas, was destroyed. Adderley, who lives with her 2-year-old daughter and her grandmother, said they went to the home of a neighbor and huddled in the one room that was not ruined by the storm.
“Thank God for our defense force” that rescued the group and took them to a shelter, she said. “There is no food, no water. There is no way out of our community. Everything is wet and destroyed.”
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