Hurricane Dorian leaves behind death and destruction
By: Robert Foreman
Hurricane Dorian proved to be a slow-moving and unpredictable storm yet still left death and destruction in its wake. The southern states that were in the path of the storm, such as Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia all declared states of emergency prior to landfall. This included mandatory evacuations in numerous communities that were along the coast. Many people watched with both fear and awe as the storm gradually morphed from a Category 1 hurricane into the much-feared Category 5. Unfortunately for the Bahamas, the storm made landfall there as a Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds reaching 185 mph along with massive rainfall and heavy storm surges.
To compound matters, the storm stalled over the Bahamas and battered the islands for a day. This only magnified the destruction, which some estimate will carry a price tag of $7 billion. At present, there are over 40 recorded deaths, but that number is expected to rise dramatically as the search and rescue efforts continue. Over 70,000 people have been left homeless on the islands and they are now going about the grim task of searching for missing loved ones and assessing how they are going to rebuild their lives.
After bashing the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. While no longer a Category 5 storm, it still brought 150 mph winds, heavy rains, flooding and power outages to the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. Additionally, the storm created multiple tornadoes in some areas that only increased the swath of destruction and misery. Living in North Carolina, I did what many did and prepared for the worst. Even though I live inland, there was heavy rain, high winds and nearby areas that were hit with tornadoes. Thankfully, everyone I care about weathered the storm with no real issues. However, there are plenty of people who were not as lucky and it will take them months, if not years, to return to a sense of normalcy.
One such person is Adrian Farrington of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. During the storm, he placed his 5-year-old son on the roof of their home for safety. Unfortunately, the boy was swept away into shark-infested waters despite his father’s best efforts to save him. Sadly, Farrington, like many other victims of the storm in the Bahamas, may never recover the bodies of their loved ones due to the storm surge that likely washed them out to sea.
While the storm brought many indelible images, one that quickly made the rounds on social media was that of a red SUV that had been abandoned on the beach in South Carolina. It turned out that the owner did not realize his vehicle had been abandoned by the family member that he had loaned it to until he was contacted by law enforcement. While the owner of the vehicle has chosen to remain anonymous, the numerous social media memes created by his abandoned red Jeep will be a rare moment of levity in the wide-spread tragedy that will be Hurricane Dorian’s final legacy.
Of course, whenever there is a natural disaster we must always remember the true heroes and that would be the first responders. As with any major crisis, the first responders have worked tirelessly for long hours to save lives. What many people tend to forget is that these first responders also have homes and families that are impacted by these natural disasters yet they still head out to save the lives of perfect strangers. These first responders are not just limited to police officers, fire fighters and EMTs. This includes the numerous public and private contractors and workers who restore power during outages, who work to clear fallen trees and debris and perform the many other duties that help communities rebuild after a massive disaster. No one should ever take the sacrifice that these brave men and women are making for granted. While others are rushing to avoid the disasters, they are rushing toward the disasters never knowing if it will cost them their lives.
After wreaking havoc in the Bahamas and in some of the southern states, Hurricane Dorian moved up the Eastern Seaboard as it headed toward Canada. Still an unpredictable system, it seems to lose and then regain strength. I think it would be fair to say that everyone will be happy when Hurricane Dorian is gone for good and is unable to cause any more harm. For those wishing to offer assistance to those impacted by the storm, there are numerous charities that you may contact including the Salvation Army and the National Association of the Bahamas. People can also make donations via the Red Cross at RedCross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.