About one million people have been ordered to evacuate their coasts by Monday. The governors of Georgia and South Carolina have issued evacuation orders after Hurricane Dorian ravaged Northwest Bahamas.
The mandatory evacuation announcements made by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will be taking effect by noon on Monday. The latter made the announcement late Sunday.
The order by the Georgian governor covers those residing in the east of Interstate 95 in the counties along the Atlantic coast. This includes most of Savannah’s 150,000 residents. It also extends to the coastal communities like St. Marys, Richmond Hill, and Brunswick.
In Camden County, the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay advised the 15,000 military and civilian personnel and their families to anticipate an announcement ASAP.
In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster expressed how hard it is to mobilize people to evacuate the area at the same time but it’s a much safer option than evacuating in stages. The state’s evacuation effort covers about 830,000 people.
“We know we can’t make everybody happy, but we believe we can keep everyone alive,” said McMaster
The governor has also ordered the closure of schools and state government offices in eight counties starting Tuesday.
In Florida, a mandatory evacuation covered nine counties. There are also seven other counties placed under voluntary evacuation orders. Residents have been warned to prepare for heavy rain, floods, and winds later in the week.
“If you are ordered to evacuate, safety comes first, and you don’t want to mess with a storm that is at going 185mph,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSanti.
In preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, Florida is also looking at closing its airports. The Palm Beach International Airport is already closed. Both the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Orlando Melbourne International Airport are scheduled to close at noon.
County school districts in Florida have also announced the cancelation of classes at least through Tuesday. Some colleges and universities across the state will also be closed. These include the University of Miami, University of Florida, and the University of Central Florida.
As evacuation announcements in the United States were made, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas specifically at Elbow Cay in the Abacos Islands at 12:40 p.m. ET and then at 2:00 p.m. ET. The category five hurricane is now the second strongest Atlantic storm in history.
The hurricane battered the Bahamas with wind speeds of 185mph, wind gusts of up to 225mph, and up to 30 inches of rain on Sunday.
Dorian brought extreme destruction to the Bahamas including damaging about 13,000 homes. It also tore down power lines and other infrastructures. The Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport was submerged under five feet of water.
There have been reports of casualties including bodies floating in the wreckage but there has been no official count yet. A seven-year-old boy from the Abaco Islands was reported to be among the numerous casualties.
According to The Bahamas Press, Lachino Mcintosh drowned while his family was attempting to move from their home. His sister is currently missing.
“From all accounts, we have received catastrophic damage to Abaco. We have reports of casualties. We have reports of bodies being seen. We cannot confirm those reports until we go out and see for ourselves,” said Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The island of Grand Bahama was hit the hardest. Experts have sent out warnings about a possible storm surge that could bring dangerous and destructive waves to the coast.
By Monday morning, Dorian slightly weakened with sustained speeds of 155mph. Dorian is expected to move towards the United States today. The storm is expected to come dangerously close to Florida’s east coast from Monday night through Wednesday evening.
“This storm at this magnitude could really cause massive destruction. Do not put your life in jeopardy by staying behind when you have a chance to get out,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.