15 shelters being readied on island
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Residents in Abaco yesterday began preparing for Hurricane Dorian as the Category 1 storm continues to strengthen into a “major hurricane”, and is expected to produce rainfall that may cause “life-threatening flash floods.”
Speaking to Eyewitness News Online, Abaco Island Administrator Maxine Duncombe said she was satisfied with the island’s preparedness up to this point.
“Abaco in general, we are used to preparing for hurricanes, and this storm is no different,” she said.
“We are monitoring the progress very closely because we know it is going to impact us this weekend. And so, in Marsh Harbour and Central Abaco, you will see that some of the businesses have already started to protect property by putting up shutters, and then you have persons [doing the same].
“The hardware stores are very busy. I was there this morning and people are making sure they get the necessary material to make sure their property is properly secured.”
Officials on the island met today at 2 p.m. to ensure the 15 shelters on the island are ready.
According to Duncombe, officials have a working list of residents who may need assistance, including transportation, in the event of evacuation.
Asked about the level of preparedness based on previous hurricane experiences, Duncombe said residents were taking the storm “very seriously”.
She said, “They are taking it very seriously and again, I would want to say to the general public and also to Abaconians in particular, to continue to monitor the progress of this storm; to stay vigilant, and to make sure you protect your life, and then your property.”
As of 8 a.m., the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) advised that a hurricane alert was in effect for the islands in the northwest Bahamas.
These include New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco, Grand Bahama, North Andros, Bimini and the Berry Islands.
As of 11 a.m., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-forced winds this weekend “continues to increase in the northwestern Bahamas”.
“Residents should have their hurricane plan in place and listen to advice given by local emergency officials,” the NOAA said. “There is an increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida east coast late this weekend or early next week, although it is too soon to determine where the highest storm surge will occur.”
The NOAA added that regardless of the exact track of Dorian, heavy rains are expected to occur over portions of The Bahamas, Florida, and elsewhere in the southeastern United States and into the middle of next week.
Dorian was moving northwest at 13 miles per hour, and was expected to continue on that general track through Friday, before shifting west, northwest on Friday night.
The system has maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, with higher gusts.
Dorian is expected to become a “major hurricane” Friday, and “remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend”.
Hurricane force winds are expected to extend outward up to 15 miles from the center of the system, and tropical storm winds up to 90 miles.
Dorian is also expected to produce up to two inches of rain over the central Bahamas, and three to six inches of rain over the northwestern Bahamas, and eight inches in isolation.
The NOAA noted that this rainfall may cause “life-threatening flash floods”.