UNITED STATES—September 10, 2019—Hurricane Dorian made its only U.S. landfall Friday morning over North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a Category 1 storm. The worst of the damage is on Ocracoke Island, where Dorian lashed the coast with 90 mph winds and up to 7 feet of storm surge, flooding the first floors of many homes, according to CBS News. About 800 residents who chose not to evacuate were stranded on the island, which is only ever accessible by boat or air. After the winds subsided late Friday afternoon, helicopters began making flights to rescue stranded residents.
Dorian passed east of Massachusetts on Saturday before the storm made its fifth landfall, this time in Nova Scotia Saturday evening as a post-tropical cyclone packing hurricane-force winds up to 100 mph, according to CBS News and other sources. The storm downed trees and power lines, leaving 400,000 customers without power at its peak, according to USA Today. Homes and buildings suffered wind damage, and in Halifax a giant crane fell on a residential development under construction.
Dorian became a named storm on August 24 and was classified a hurricane on August 28 as it approached the Virgin Islands. The storm rapidly intensified, becoming a Category 3 major hurricane on August 30 and reaching Category 5 status on September 1, just before striking the Bahamas. After nearly two weeks of flooding and destruction as Dorian carved a path over Caribbean islands and along the coast from Florida to Canada, the storm finally headed out to sea with the National Hurricane Center issuing its final advisory on Monday, September 9.
Recovery efforts are underway in all impacted areas, but none quite as urgently as the Bahamas, which endured Dorian’s most devastating blow. Crews continue search-and-rescue efforts as the official death toll has climbed to 50, according to The Washington Post. With possibly thousands still missing, that number is expected to significantly increase, but due to the nature of the storm, bodies may have washed out to sea and it’s possible that the precise death toll will never be known.
CNBC reported that more than 70,000 people in the Bahamas are homeless and in need of aid. Charities, government organizations, and cruise lines are responding with food, medical supplies, and volunteers, but the situation remains a humanitarian crisis as survivors wait to be evacuated, sometimes standing in line for hours for food and water, according to CBS News. Some early estimates put the damages from Dorian in the Bahamas alone at $7 billion.