Speed Reads

Storm Watch

'Whole towns' in the Bahamas are feared wiped out by Hurricane Dorian

It's clear that Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas, but the extent of that destruction remains to be seen.

Dorian raged through the islands as a Category 5 storm over the weekend, and while it did weaken to a Category 2 by Tuesday, it still wasn't expected to leave the northern Bahamas until that night. Five people have been confirmed dead in the storm so far, but that number is expected to climb once the wind and rain slow up enough for rescue operations to begin, The Associated Press reports.

Grand Bahama Island and Great Abaco Island were among the hardest hit in the storm. Lia Head-Rigby, who runs a hurricane relief group, flew over Abaco and told AP that "it's total devastation. It's decimated. Apocalyptic. It looks like a bomb went off." A representative on the island told her "there's a lot more dead" than have been reported.

Bahamas Information Center Director Kevin Harris meanwhile tells The New York Times "we are already hearing from residents that whole towns have been wiped out and devastated." But it's been impossible to see the extent of the devastation or even conduct rescue operations in some areas because government and rescue vehicles are still underwater, the Times continues.

The storm's massive damage stems mostly from how it hovered over the Bahamas for days, continually slamming the islands until it turned northwest. Dorian is now headed for the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts.