Hurricane Dorian, now a still-dangerous Category 2 storm, finally left the Bahamas on Tuesday after nearly two days hovering over two islands in particular, Abaco Island and Grand Bahama, as a Category 5 monster, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bahamas. Seven people have been confirmed dead from Dorian and the death toll is expected to rise. "It looks completely flattened," Lawson Bates, a staffer for the nonprofit MediCorps, told The Associated Press after flying over Abaco Island. "There's boats way inland that are flipped over. It's total devastation."
"It's total devastation. It's decimated. Apocalyptic," Lia Head-Rigby, with a local hurricane relief organization, told AP. "It's not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again." Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called Dorian "one of the greatest national crises in our country's history." ABC News outlined the contours of the destruction on Tuesday night.
By the numbers, about 45 percent of the homes on Abaco and Grand Bahama, or more than 13,000 houses, were severely damaged or destroyed, Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane estimated. More than 60,000 people on those islands will need food and clean drinking water, United Nations and Red Cross officials said. Combined, the two islands have a population of about 70,000. New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas with more than 250,000 people, and the capital, Nassau, were largely spared.
NBC News provided some images of the storm-wrecked island without sound.
It seems like every year brings new terrible records in the annals of Atlantic hurricanes, and Dorian is strongest storm ever to hit land in the Atlantic, tied with a 1935 hurricane that hit Florida's Gulf Coast. The Bahamas sapped most of Dorian's wrath, but flooding and heavy winds are still expected from Florida through North Carolina.