The popular US-based cruise blog Cruise Hive has released a video showing the full impact of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas as it happened during Sunday and Monday.
The storm was downgraded to a category 4 on Tuesday as it very slowly moved towards Florida.
Freeport, a hugely popular cruise port with 115 cruise calls scheduled for the rest of 2019 and 216 scheduled for 2020, bore the brunt of the storm’s force, with the eye of hurricane almost making a direct hit on the city.
The port is regularly featured on the itineraries of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, all of which were forced to alter itineraries ahead of the hurricane’s arrival on Grand Bahama Island.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbours in two of our northern islands, Abaco and Grand Bahama Island, which have been directly impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” said Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Director General Joy Jibrilu.
“At this time we are doing everything we can to support these islands as first responders begin rescue efforts and assess damage. We are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of all those in Abaco and Grand Bahama Island, and continue to be grateful that the majority of our 700 islands and cays have been unaffected,” Jibrilu added.
Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 when it reached the island early Monday morning after devastating Abaco Island to the east with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (almost 300kph).
— Shenique Miller (@sheniquemiller) September 2, 2019
The storm surge caused by Dorian has left many thousands of the island’s residents stranded because Grand Bahama is largely low-lying and flat.
It has been 14 hours now with #Dorian in #Freeport #Bahamas and horrible tragedies are unfolding as this video shows a family that is trapped in their attic with the waves about to overtake them. God please save this family. @weatherchannel @wunderground pic.twitter.com/4wdqU7y1vd
— Systemic Anomaly (@kennethdockery) September 2, 2019
Freeport’s International Airport was totally flooded due to the storm surge on Monday, with the runway and entire airfield submerged.
This is #Freeport international Airport, Bahamas captured this morning! The whole airport is under water from the #StormSurge and #HurricaneDorian #Dorian source @kionnemcghee pic.twitter.com/PwfjOcTcMW
— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) September 2, 2019
The storm now has maximum sustained winds of 150 MPH and is soon expected to start moving north just off the Florida east coast and on towards Georgia and South Carolina.
Port Nassau, one of the most visited cruise ports in the world by passenger numbers, was spared the worst of the storm and re-opened shortly after Dorian had passed, with little damage reported. However, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation said that Freeport would remain closed.
Islands in the Southeastern and Central Bahamas are also unaffected, including The Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Inagua.
Cruise line private islands that are located near Cat Island are Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays and were not affected by the storm.
However, Royal Caribbean’s recently re-opened Perfect Day at Coco Cay took quite a hammering, as seen in pictures released by the cruise line. The island never came closer than 100 kilometres from the eye of the hurricane as it passed, but precautions such as deflating the Up, Up and Away helium balloon were still taken.
The island closed to cruise ships on August 28th and Royal Caribbean is planning on reopening it on September 4th. The island was primarily closed so that the majority of the 400 Bahamian employees could return back to their homes around the Bahamas to prepare for the hurricane.
Some 50 kilometers closer to the eye of the storm was Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay, which also came through relatively unscathed. The island has a Category 4-level hurricane shelter on it for staff, but the cruise line said employees only had to take shelter for a few hours before returning home.