Mon, Sep 09, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Dorian begins lashing eastern Canada

STILL DANGEROUS:Nova Scotia yesterday braced for heavy rainfall and potential coastal flooding, while evacuation and relief efforts mounted in the Bahamas


People on Saturday await evacuation by boat at the port in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco, in the Bahamas.

Photo: AFP

Dorian arrived on Canada’s Atlantic coast on Saturday with heavy rain and powerful winds, toppling a construction crane in Halifax and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of people a day after the now-post-tropical cyclone wreaked havoc on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Residents of Nova Scotia braced for heavy rainfall and potential flooding along the coast, as officials in Halifax urged people to secure heavy objects that might become projectiles. Businesses were encouraged to close early in Halifax, the provincial capital and home to 400,000 people.

“The power went out hours ago, but we were well prepared,” said Tim Rissesco, who lives on the east side of Halifax harbor in Dartmouth. “We’ve got snacks and food and we’re hunkered down in the house playing board games and watching the rain and the wind.”

As Canada prepared for Dorian, floodwaters receded on Saturday from North Carolina’s Outer Banks, leaving behind a muddy trail of destruction.

The storm’s worst damage in the US appeared to be on Ocracoke Island, which even in good weather is accessible only by boat or air and is popular with tourists for its undeveloped beaches.

Longtime residents who waited out the storm described strong but manageable winds followed by a wall of water that flooded the first floors of many homes and forced some to await rescue from their attics.

“We’re used to cleaning up dead limbs and trash that’s floating around,” Ocracoke Island resident and business owner Philip Howard said. “But now it’s everything: picnic tables, doors, lumber that’s been floating around.”

Howard said by telephone that flooding at his properties on the North Carolina island is 33cm higher than the levels wrought by a storm in 1944, which he said had long been considered the worst. He raised his home higher than the 1944 flood level and still got water inside.

“It’s overwhelming,” he said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said about 800 people had remained on the island to wait out Dorian.

The storm made landfall on Friday morning over the Outer Banks as a far weaker storm than the monster that devastated the Bahamas. Yet despite having been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, it still sent seawater surging into homes on Ocracoke, many for the first time in memory.

Meanwhile, more than 1,100 Bahamians arrived in Palm Beach, Florida, after being evacuated by cruise ship from their hurricane-battered islands.

The Grand Celebration returned to its home port after setting sail on Thursday for Freeport, Grand Bahama, to deliver more than 101 tonnes of supplies and ferry dozens of health workers and emergency crews.

A loosely coordinated armada of passenger planes, helicopters and both private and government boats and ships — including redirected cruise liners — converged on the horribly battered the Abaco Islands to help with evacuations, both to Nassau and to the US mainland.

The US Coast Guard said that all Bahamian ports had now reopened and that it had deployed nine cutters to the islands. Six of its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters had so far rescued 290 people.

Bahamas residents said conditions on the devastated islands were brutal and that the smell of unrecovered bodies, along with mounting piles of garbage, was oppressive and unsanitary.

Hundreds or even thousands of people were still missing, officials said, as search-and-rescue teams continued their grim retrievals.

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