International desk, Sept 02: The most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas since records began has torn roofs from buildings and caused severe flooding.Category 5-storm Hurricane Dorian is pummeling the Bahamas after making landfall on Elbow Cay Monday afternoon. The storm is the strongest anywhere on the planet this year.
Meanwhile, the Georgia governor Brian Kemp has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and ordering a mandatory evacuation starting noon on Monday for residents east of the I-95 in the following counties: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh.
The order also directs the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and Georgia Department of Transportation to establish westerly contraflow on I-16, starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
Hurricane Dorian, a category five storm, has sustained winds of up to 180mph (285km/h).
A “life-threatening” storm surge of 23ft (7m) is also predicted in places, officials warn.
The hurricane is moving slowly westwards and may hit areas of the eastern US seaboard.
The US states of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency.
Areas of the Abaco islands were reported to be underwater after the storm hit the Bahamas’ Elbow Cay soon after midday (16:00 GMT) on Sunday.
The storm also battered Grand Bahama island with high winds and torrential rainfall.
Bahamas residents posted footage showing floodwaters engulfing some homes after high winds had torn their roofs off. Videos also show capsized boats floating in floodwaters filled with debris.
Dorian is expected to continue to move over Grand Bahama Island into Monday.
It is then due to move closer to Florida’s east coast late on Monday and through to Tuesday night local time.
On Sunday, US National Hurricane Center (NHC) director Ken Graham said the Bahamas would be under major hurricane conditions for 10 hours or more.
Authorities closed some airports in the outlying islands, but the main international airport remained open on Sunday.
Hurricanes, which vary in strength from category one to five on the Saffir-Simpson scale, tend to get stronger as they move over warm waters like those off the coast of Florida.
Source: News Agencies