As Abaco continued to be pounded by Hurricane Dorian, a catastrophic category 5 storm, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis cried as he described today as the “worst day of his life” and expressed hope that those who refused to evacuate will survive the storm.
“This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people,” he said during a press conference at the headquarters of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“As a physician I’ve been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this.
“We’re facing a hurricane… one that we’ve never seen in the history of The Bahamas, with wind velocity as high as 180 mph, with gusts in excess of 200 mph.”
He noted that Bahamian homes are built to withstand winds of up to 150 mph.
“So this will put us through a test that we’ve never confronted before,” he continued, adding that storm surges are projected to be as high as 20 feet.
“This is a deadly storm and a monster storm.”
Minnis issued an evacuation order to residents in vulnerable areas on Friday. He pleaded with residents again on Saturday to leave their homes. He noted today that many people did not heed his warnings.
“I can only say to them, that I hope this is not the last time they will hear my voice and may God be with them.”
According to the National Hurricane Center’s 12:45 p.m. advisory, Dorian made landfall in Elbow Cay, Abaco, at 12:40 p.m.
“The winds have increased to 185 mph with the minimum central pressure falling to 26.90 inches,” the advisory said. “This is a life-threatening situation. Residents there should take immediate shelter. Do not venture into the eye if it passes over your location.”
Minnis said the conditions in Abaco have deteriorated significantly.
“Marsh Harbour area of Abaco parts of it [are] already underwater,” he said. “In some areas you cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street, versus where the ocean begins. They are being hit by the brunt of the storm.”
Videos and photos posted to social media show several flooded communities.
“Grand Bahama, those individuals in the western area, this is your last warning to move to the central area of Freeport,” he said.
When asked about rescue efforts, Minnis said, “Winds of 180 mph, if I ask you tomorrow to go and rescue those people, would you go?”
“I don’t think anybody is that fool to go there, nor would I subject their lives to that. Especially when individuals were warned repeatedly to move.”
He said he expects teams to be in a position to move into Abaco by Wednesday.
It is unclear how many people did not evacuate or the numbers of people that are calling for help.