- Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane, has struck Bahamas islands with its full fury
- Storm surge of up to 8 metres, says US National Hurricane Center
- 'Extensive damage' reported as the storm hammered the islands with ferocious wind, rain and storm surge
- Pictures and posts on social media show extensive damage sustained by residents
- Winds gusting at over 322 kph to 350kph (200 mph) recorded
At least one person was killed as Hurricane Dorian hammered northern Bahamas overnight on Sunday.
Early images and videos emerging from the Abaco Islands, which were hit especially hard, showed scenes of devastation as the powerful, slow-moving storm churned its way through the islands.
The footage showed roofs torn from houses and cars and debris bobbing along inundated streets battered by strong winds and heavy rains.
On the Abaco Islands, which endured more than a day of the hurricane’s wrath over the weekend, officials said it was too early to fully assess the damage because wind and rain still made it too dangerous to reach many of the smaller offshore islands.
One resident on the Great Abaco island posted a harrowing video on Monday showing water gushing through a roadway and extensive damage inside apartments. She said the roof came off her building.
The main government building in Marsh Harbour had become a makeshift shelter because many of the churches and schools that had been assigned to provide safety during the storm had been damaged.
People were also taking refuge in the public clinic of Marsh Harbour “which is packed to capacity,” according to one report.
What's a Category 5 hurricane?
A Category 5 Atlantic hurricane is one considered by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) to have had sustained wind speeds greater than 136 knots (252 km/h). Dorian is way stronger than the minimum Category 5 hurricane.
The US National Hurricane Centre calls it Dorian a “life-threatening” situation.
Late on Monday, the Red Cross warned that as many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed already.
It’s clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact as the eye of the storm has been over the island of Grand Bahama for about 12 hours.
What is a storm surge?
It’s a life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline, fanned by strong winds.
On Monday, the US NHC expects a storm surge of 5 to 8 metres (18 feet to 23 feet) above normal tide levels.
How bad is the damage?
It is early to say at this point. The Red Cross anticipates extensive need for shelter, and for short-term economic support
Red Cross is also anticipating need for clean water and health assistance.
Dorian’s path an uncertain. Forward motion 24 hours ago was 7 mph, but it has been essentially zero for a number of hours now.
Red Cross expect the worst from such a near-stationary major hurricane over low-lying populations.
High waves been reportedly extended much farther from center. Dorian is slowly moving towards the US coast where hundreds of thousands were ordered to evacuate.