Quantcast

As Dorian Lashes the Carolinas, the Bahamas Grapple With ‘Unimaginable’ Losses

Climate
Aerial view of damage after Hurricane Dorian passed through on Sept. 5 in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian hit the island chain as a category 5 storm battering them for two days before moving north. Jose Jimenez / Getty Images

Hurricane Dorian lashed the Carolinas with wind, flooding and tornadoes Thursday, as the storm's death toll in the Bahamas rose to 30, The Washington Post reported.


The storm, downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning, was located 25 miles east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina at 5 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center. Its eye could touch the Outer Banks of North Carolina Friday morning. But while Dorian knocked out power for nearly 200,000 people in South Carolina, as well as 9,000 in North Carolina and 7,000 in Georgia, as The New York Times reported, overall its impacts on the Eastern U.S. have not been as devastating as feared.

"This is not going to be one of those storms that goes down in our history or in our record books," Thomas Bell, the spokesman for the emergency management agency in Horry County, South Carolina, told The Washington Post. "This was not a disaster or a catastrophe — especially compared to some of the storms we've seen recently, like Florence last year."

The same could not be said for the Bahamas, where officials and residents are still taking stock of the devastation. Officials ordered more body bags, morticians and coolers to the impacted islands as hundreds to thousands of people remain missing.

"The public needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll and the human suffering," Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said, as CNN reported.

The hurricane may have damaged or destroyed 45 percent of homes on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, BBC News reported. Thirty-five inches of rain caused widespread flooding, and Grand Bahama's only international airport was severely damaged.

Great Abaco is "virtually uninhabitable," BBC News said. There is no water, power or food on the island. Over all, the UN estimates that around 70,000 people in the Bahamas will need some form of disaster aid, The Guardian reported.

"I have nothing left. Absolutely nothing. Only the clothes that I have on my body right now," Great Abaco resident Kathlyn Russell, who was evacuated to Nassau Wednesday, told The Guardian.

Dorian's passage up the Carolina Coast was far less damaging, but still dramatic. Two tornadoes touched down in North Myrtle Beach and Little River, South Carolina and several in North Carolina, The New York Times reported. One, in Carolina Shores, North Carolina, caused property damage, but no injuries.

The storm also flooded streets in Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmington International Airport recorded 8.93 inches of rain Thursday. Messages on an electronic street sign in one Wilmington neighborhood alternated between "Be safe!" and "Not even your mom loves you, Dorian!"

Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest storm to ever impact the island chain. Hurricanes are becoming more extreme and destructive because of the climate crisis. BBC Weather's Tomasz Schafernaker explained. Schafernaker gave two reasons:

An increase in sea surface temperatures strengthens the wind speeds within storms and also raises the amount of precipitation a hurricane will dump

Sea levels are expected to increase by one to four feet over the next century, bringing the potential of far worse damage from sea surges and coastal flooding during storms


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less