The destructive power of Hurricane Dorian and its long-lasting effects


Elizabeth Thorell, Content Editor

For most people in San Diego, hurricanes are the last things on their minds. No one thinks of just how horrible they can be. Hurricane Dorian, which took place in early September of this year, single-handedly razed nearly forty-five percent of the homes in the Bahamas and left thousands of people missing. This hurricane, which started on August 31 as a Category 4 hurricane, raged for several days before beginning to calm down after the first week of September. Initially, the hurricane was approximately fifteen nautical miles across. By the next day, the eye of the hurricane alone was about twenty-five nautical miles across. The storm itself extended outwards forty-five miles in each direction. 

The storm was first noticed by the AMSR2 instrument on the Global Change Observancy Mission. This is a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite. This observation led to growing attention to the matter and eventually garnered international attention due to its potential for damage in a number of areas. Storm warnings were issued as far as Maine in the United States and in some areas of eastern Canada. 

The hurricane began as a Category 4 hurricane before rapidly shifting to a Category 5 hurricane. By the afternoon of September 1, the wind speeds hit 185 miles-per-hour, with even higher speeds for short gusts. On September 2, the wind speeds picked up even more hitting over 200 miles-per-hour before lowering eventually to 145 miles-per-hour by the end of the day. Due to the fact that the hurricane slowed down while over the Bahamas, it remained hovering over them for approximately forty hours in the end. The hurricane remained over the Bahamas going into September 3 when it became a Category 3 level storm with sustained wind speed of about 120 miles-per-hour. By September 4, the storm was moving north, but it had led to over three feet of rain on the Bahamas. This led to it being the most destructive hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas. With a surge of eighteen to twenty-three feet above normal tide levels, the people there faced massive amounts of damage. In the end, about 13,000 homes were destroyed and there was about 7 billion dollars in property damage. Thousands of people were reported missing and over fifty were confirmed to be dead. 

As it moved north on September 4, the center of the storm was moving closer to Florida and traveled parallel to it. It eventually hit South Carolina on the morning of September 5 as a Category 2 hurricane. The eye of the storm was temporarily over Charleston in South Carolina which led to a hurricane warning in North Carolina to Virginia, storm surge warnings for Virginia, a tropical storm warning for north of Virginia all the way to Maine and southern Canada. 

The storm was off of the coast of North Carolina on the sixth of September which led to about fifteen inches of rain there. Due to the intense winds at about ninety miles-per-hour, over 150,000 people were without power throughout North Carolina. The forecast at the time called for the storm to hit Nova Scotia, Canada the following weekend after Wednesday, September 6. 

Overall Hurricane Dorian, as the most destructive hurricane to hit the Bahamas and an incredibly destructive hurricane in general, completely uprooted thousands upon thousands of lives and will continue to do so for a long time. Many roads, bridges, beaches, and whole areas were completely destroyed in the Bahamas which will certainly affect the tourism industry there for a long time to come. As tourism contributes to approximately forty percent of the country’s GDP, this disaster could end up causing serious adverse effects in addition to the damage that they already have to contend with. 


More photos of before and after can be seen here: