WASHINGTON – Hurricane Dorian, one of the longest-lasting hurricanes in history, departed United States territory this Saturday on its way toward Canada after 10 days of torrential rains and powerful winds.
Less than 10 percent of hurricanes have remained active so long in all the time they have been recorded.
Though the southeastern coast of the United States was hit hardest, particularly the states of North and South Carolina, the worst devastation was inflicted on the northern islands of the Bahamas where it first made landfall, causing a number of deaths that currently stands at 43, though the search and recovery work is still ongoing.
In the Carolinas, hit by winds of over 95 mph (150 kph), tens of thousands of people are without electricity in a landscape submerged in heavy flooding, but the damage was less than expected.
One of the areas most affected by the storm is the long series of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
On one of them, Ocracoke, almost a thousand people are estimated to remain isolated.
“Currently the island has no electricity, and many homes and buildings are still underwater,” Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told a press conference, adding that officials “have heard reports from residents who say the flooding there was catastrophic.”
In a statement reported in the local press, Ocracoke resident Steve Harris told the Associated Press that “we went from almost no water to 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) in a matter of minutes.”
Despite that, North Carolina authorities expressed their relief at the lack of reports, for now, of any lives lost, and compared the situation with that left by Hurricane Florence, which a year ago left more than 30 dead across this state, South Carolina and Virginia.
Dorian is currently moving northeast at 25 mph (40 kph) and is 160 miles (260 kilometers) southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and 310 miles (500 kilometers) southeast of the city of Halifax, Canada, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.
Landfall in Nova Scotia is forecast and will affect the rest of the maritime provinces in eastern Canada late on Saturday, though the NHC expects that by then it will have downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.
“Dangerous storm surge impacts are likely in portions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, southwestern Newfoundland and eastern Nova Scotia,” the NHC predicted about its impact on Canada.
Dorian, still a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale out of a total of 5, will continue its move toward the North Atlantic until Sunday, when it will be “dissipated,” according to the NHC.
Forecast for this Atlantic season are some 10 to 17 tropical storms with names, which means their winds will be 39 mph (63 kph) or more, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States.
This is a season with a 45 percent probability of greater than normal storm activity, which will include some 12 named storms, of which six will upgrade to hurricanes, including three very serious ones.
Up to now in the current hurricane season, which began last June, there have also been tropical storms – Chantal, Andrea, Erin, Fernand and Barry – with the latter upgrading to a hurricane before making landfall last July in Louisiana, where it inflicted a great amount of material damage but took no lives.