Rescue efforts in the Bahamas are being hampered by flooding.
Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 2 storm, is finally inching away from the Bahamas, where rescue missions were hampered on Tuesday because so many police and government vehicles were submerged in seawater that was only just beginning to recede.
The storm, which hit the northern Bahamas as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, has pummeled the islands for more than two days with unrelenting rain and wind, and has killed at least seven people there. It is highly unusual for a storm of Hurricane Dorian’s magnitude to halt and hover over land, as it did in the Bahamas.
By Tuesday evening its center had moved nearly 100 miles north of Grand Bahama Island and was creeping northwest. But tropical storm conditions were not expected to end in the Grand Bahama area for several more hours, said Kevin D. Harris, director general of the Bahamas Information Center.
Emergency offices received at least 200 frantic calls from people stranded on their rooftops or attics. Responders were trying to help after the eye passed over the island, but “some of the bigger vehicles, dump trucks and fire engines are trying to get through the water,” Mr. Harris said.
There was so much water that government offices, including the government radio station, had to move out of the lower floors of buildings. A government minister who was stuck in his flooded home was rescued, Mr. Harris said.
“Some folks were in more of a desperate situation than others,” he said. “We are seeing unprecedented levels of water. ”
He said there was deep concern for the Abaco Islands, which took the full brunt of the hurricane, because many Haitian migrants live there in two shantytowns, known as the Mudd and Pigeon Peas. Videos showed stunned residents of the island looking at crumpled cars, smashed homes, piles of debris and contorted trees.