UPDATED: 12:25 p.m. EDT, Sept. 2 — While horrifying images of devastation were still coming out of the Bahamas as of Monday afternoon, Hurricane Dorian was downgraded to a Category 4 storm, offering people stuck there a chance to see a light at the end of the powerful weather pattern’s tunnel.
What were once winds of up to 200 miles per hour were now about 45 miles per hour slower, according to a new report from USA Today. However, the Bahamas, which has seen structures ruined, homes flooded and at least one death, wasn’t out of trouble yet.
“On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island through much of today and tonight,” the National Hurricane Center said in an update late Monday morning.
UPDATED: 5:54 a.m. EDT, Sept. 2 — The first death from Hurricane Dorian has been reported. An eight-year-old boy named Lachino Mcintosh reportedly drowned in the flooding from the storm in the Bahamas. His sister was reported missing, as well.
Dorian has reportedly “almost stalled” above the Bahamas, moving at about a speed of one mile per hour while unleashing winds that have fluctuated between 180 and 200 miles per hour.
Forecasters predicted that Dorian would move toward the southeastern seaboard of the U.S. on Monday. The storm was expected to hit parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday afternoon, proving all forecasts correct and then some by unleashing flooding and destruction across the Caribbean nation. Devastating images were quickly published across social media showing the effect of Dorian’s Category 5 wind speeds and rain on roads, homes and other structures.
“Dorian hit land in Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands at 12:40 p.m., and then made a second landfall near Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island at 2 p.m.,” the Associated Press reported. Dorian’s 185 miles per hour winds reportedly “tied the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to come ashore, equaling the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before the storms were named.”
While Bahamas residents were encouraged to evacuate, doing so wasn’t mandatory and some folks remained in place to try to weather the storm.
Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis spoke in no uncertain terms when he cautioned people not to underestimate Hurricane Dorian, according to the Nassau Guardian.
“This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people,” Minnis said during a press conference on Sunday. “As a physician I’ve been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this. We’re facing a hurricane… one that we’ve never seen in the history of The Bahamas, with wind velocity as high as 180 mph, with gusts in excess of 200 mph.”
But since most homes in the Bahamas are built to handle winds as fast as 150 miles per hours, “So this will put us through a test that we’ve never confronted before,” he said before emphasizing to the people who chose not to evacuate: “This is a deadly storm and a monster storm. “I can only say to them, that I hope this is not the last time they will hear my voice and may God be with them.”
The National Hurricane Center also had a message for the people who decided to shelter in place.
“This is a life-threatening situation,” the National Hurricane Center said. “Residents in the Abacos should stay in their shelter. Do not venture into the eye if it passes over your location.”
As the United States braced for Dorian’s expected path to continued toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, scroll down and take a look at some of the devastating scenes coming out of the Bahamas in what may foreshadow more of what’s to come along the American southeastern seaboard.