NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – Bahamians are heeding the advice of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis as well as disaster and weather officials, as they continue to prepare for the passage of Hurricane Dorian that has now strengthened to a dangerous category 4 hurricane.
Local weather forecasters predict Hurricane Dorian will make landfall early Sunday morning packing winds in excess of 130 miles per hour (mph), storm surge and heavy rain.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama, J.. Kwasi Thompson urged residents in Grand Bahama and the Northern Bahamas to make every effort at securing themselves and their property, describing Dorian as “a very dangerous storm”.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in its 8:00 am (local time) bulletin said that Dorian was becoming stronger and was moving westward at 12 mph.
The storm is now 280 miles, east of the northwestern Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 145mph.
“A slower westward motion should continue into early next week. On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas today, be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and be near the Florida east coast late Monday,’ NHC said.
It said that data from the NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 145 mph (225 km/h) with higher gusts.
“Dorian is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. While some fluctuations in intensity are possible, but Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days.”
The NHC warned that Hurricane Dorian is expected to produce rainfall accumulations as much as 15 inches and that the rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour has warned vendors, shopkeepers and businesses against engaging in selling goods at higher prices to the public as a result of the storm, noting that “the laws regarding price gouging and price hoarding will be scrupulously enforced during the passage of Hurricane Dorian through The Bahamas.
“Vendors are warned that Price Inspectors are currently moving about New Providence and Grand Bahama and other islands in the Northwest Bahamas to monitor the sale of key items, such as water, batteries, flashlights, lanterns, gas, food items, etc. for the violation of price-related laws. Violators will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” it added.
The Ministry said it had already received “complaints from members of the public that some businesses are taking advantage of the public as the hurricane approaches by hiking prices,” adding “these complaints are being thoroughly investigated”.
Prime Minister Minnis Minnis has reiterated the need for residents of the northern cays of Abaco to mainland Abaco to evacuate and urged residents of West End, East End and Sweeting’s Cay and Water’s Cay in Grand Bahama to move to the interior of the island.
“Let me be extremely clear, those who refuse to evacuate, place themselves in great danger from this very powerful and potentially life-threatening hurricane, which will bring dangerously strong and high storm surges – one of the greatest threats from a hurricane,” he added.