Hurricane Dorian unleashed massive flooding across the Bahamas Monday, shredding roofs, hurling cars and forcing rescue crews to take shelter.
By late afternoon, the storm’s top sustained winds fell to 145 mph — down from 185 mph hours earlier — as it inched along on its path of destruction, the National Hurricane Center said.
Storm surges in some places were raising water levels more than 20 feet above normal. Authorities urged people to find floating devices as the storm triggered major flooding across Grand Bahama island. Dorian was ripping off roofs, overturning cars and tearing down power lines as people hunkered down in schools, churches and shelters.
Though the hurricane center was still forecasting that Dorian would stay just off the U.S. coast as it makes its way up the seaboard, evacuations were ordered for parts of Florida and, later on Monday, the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
Acting DHS chief Kevin McAleenan said Sunday that even if the storm remains just off the U.S. mainland, it could still cause major problems with high winds, a devastating storm surge and heavy rain.
As of 5 p.m. ET Monday, Dorian’s center was some 25 miles northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and about 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, the hurricane center said. The storm was stationary.