‘Catastrophic’ Hurricane Dorian could linger for days after landfall in Bahamas – NBC News

Hurricane Dorian, a slow-moving, devastating Category 5 storm, made landfall on Sunday in the northwest Bahamas, where “catastrophic effects” were expected, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was forecast to have a long life, remaining a hurricane for the next five days. Hurricane watches and warnings were issued Sunday afternoon for parts of the Florida coast, where Dorian was expected to move “dangerously close” beginning Monday night through Tuesday night, forecasters said.

The storm made landfall on Sunday afternoon with estimated sustained surface winds of 185 mph and gusts reaching 220 mph at Elbow Cay, Abacos, in the northern Bahamas. The power of the storm was second only to that of Hurricane Allen in 1980, with its 190 mph winds.

“It is not very often that we measure such strong winds,” the hurricane center said.

Full coverage: Latest stories and video on Hurricane Dorian

Twelve to 24 inches of rain, and up to 30 inches in some areas, were expected in the northwestern Bahamas, which could lead to life-threatening flash floods, the center said. The Tourism Ministry said only certain parts of the northwestern Bahamas had conducted evacuation procedures, and it strongly advised visitors to leave.

Steven Strouss, a meteorologist for NBC News, said that since records began in the 1850s, the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island had never before been directly hit by a Category 5 storm.

At 7 p.m. ET, Dorian was about 70 miles east of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. It was moving west at just 5 mph and was expected to continue inching westward to west-northwest for the next day or two. Forecasters said it would then likely gradually turn northwest, meaning the core of the storm “will continue to pound Great Abaco this evening and move near or over Grand Bahama Island tonight and Monday.”

Bahamanian authorities said Sunday night that they had lost contact with the Abaco Islands because of an island-wide power failure that knocked out most telephone service. And they said they feared that Grand Bahama Island could be hit even harder.

“The path of Dorian across Abaco is a short distance,” Health Minister Duane Sands said on ZNS Bahamas radio.

Grand Bahama, by contrast, “is laid out lengthwise across the width of Dorian,” Sands said. “Now, Grand Bahama is in for a number of days. …

“We don’t know what we’re going to find,” he said. “The expectation is there will be catastrophic consequences on both Abaco and Grand Bahama.”

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