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Hurricane Dorian
September 11, 2019

The U.S. reportedly will not grant temporary protected status to people from the Bahamas displaced by Hurricane Dorian. A Trump administration official told NBC News about the decision Wednesday, two days after acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said the White House was considering whether to do so.

The status would have allowed Bahamians to work and live in the United States until it was considered safe for them to return home. "If the history shows that it's taken a lengthy time to get the Bahamas back to where these people can turn to, I'm sure that that will be a discussion that we'd be having," Morgan said Monday about the possibility of extending the status. President Trump also said Monday he was considering extending it, but, at the same time, he expressed wariness about immigration from the Caribbean nation, suggesting that some people would exploit the situation.

The decision has already received criticism, on both moral and practical grounds.

Bahamians reportedly can still come to the U.S. temporarily, provided they are carrying the correct travel documents, but they will reportedly not be granted work permits. Read more at NBC News. Tim O'Donnell

September 6, 2019

Aid is slowly starting to make its way to people in the Bahamas who are still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.

A Category 5 storm when it hit the Bahamas on Sunday, Dorian and its 185 mph winds caused total destruction in parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. The Bahamian health ministry on Thursday said the death toll is now at 30, and is expected to climb significantly.

United Nations Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock said that there are 70,000 Bahamians "in immediate need of life-saving assistance." Small planes have been shuttling the sick and elderly off the islands, and the U.N. is sending eight tons of ready-to-eat meals. Food, bottled water, generators, diapers, flashlights, and other supplies have been dropped off by a British Royal Navy ship and a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and the United States is sending troops from the Rhode Island National Guard to offer assistance.

The firm Karen Clark & Co. estimates total property losses, minus cars and infrastructure, could top $7 billion. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, and some residents say they still see bodies trapped in the debris. Grand Bahama and Abaco are home to many fishermen, laborers, and hotel workers, and Grand Bahama resident Gordon Higgs told The Associated Press they will all be "out of jobs for months. They'll be homeless, no food. Nothing." Catherine Garcia

September 5, 2019

Hurricane Dorian regained strength over the Atlantic on Wednesday and had become a Category 3 storm by Wednesday night, with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour and expected flash floods and storm surge. By Thursday morning, Dorian was about 80 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, churning north at 8 mph. There was already flooding in Charleston, and the National Weather Service forecast a combined high tide/storm surge of up to 10.3 feet around Charleston Harbor, just shy of a 12.5-foot record set in 1989.

Power companies report that more than 128,000 customers are without power on the coast of South Carolina, and Duke Energy said Wednesday it expects 700,000 outages in the Carolinas because of Hurricane Dorian.

Dorian devastated the Bahamas over the weekend, making landfall as a Category 5 storm and stalling over the country's northern islands for nearly two days. The confirmed death toll in the Bahamas is 20, and one death has been attributed to Dorian in Puerto Rico, Florida, and North Carolina. Peter Weber

September 4, 2019

Hurricane Dorian continues to skirt the southeastern coast of the U.S., and it's now moving from northeastern Florida toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

Currently a Category 2 storm, Dorian is forecast to get very close to Charleston, and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said Wednesday that the state will "experience hurricane-force winds, in at least gusts." Low-lying regions could see flooding, and millions of people living along the hurricane's path have been told to evacuate. As of late Wednesday afternoon, Dorian is moving at 8 mph.

Officials said an 85-year-old North Carolina man died when he fell off a ladder while preparing his house for the storm. Dorian killed at least 20 people in the Bahamas, where it made landfall Sunday as a Category 5. The storm caused widespread destruction there, and the death toll is expected to rise. Catherine Garcia

September 4, 2019

Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as it travels along the East Coast of the United States, but that doesn't mean it no longer poses a serious threat, especially when it comes to storm surge. Parts of the Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coasts could experience surges of up to seven feet.

When the storm was battering the Bahamas its winds topped out at 185 mph. That number dipped to 105 — which is still formidable — while Dorian hovered about 90 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida, on Wednesday morning. But the storm actually expanded in size, meaning its winds cover a larger area. That means they're still more than capable of generating giant waves and pushing large amounts of water toward the shore, The Washington Post reports.

There's also the fact that when Dorian's pressure dropped and it stalled over the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, its winds churned up the Atlantic Ocean. Some of that water is also reportedly on its way to the Southeast. "Don't focus too much on the fact it is weakening in terms of category," said Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's office in Charleston, South Carolina. She added that water levels could also increase depending on how heavy the coastal rainfall is. Tim O'Donnell

September 4, 2019

Hurricane Dorian, now a still-dangerous Category 2 storm, finally left the Bahamas on Tuesday after nearly two days hovering over two islands in particular, Abaco Island and Grand Bahama, as a Category 5 monster, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bahamas. Seven people have been confirmed dead from Dorian and the death toll is expected to rise. "It looks completely flattened," Lawson Bates, a staffer for the nonprofit MediCorps, told The Associated Press after flying over Abaco Island. "There's boats way inland that are flipped over. It's total devastation."

"It's total devastation. It's decimated. Apocalyptic," Lia Head-Rigby, with a local hurricane relief organization, told AP. "It's not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again." Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called Dorian "one of the greatest national crises in our country's history." ABC News outlined the contours of the destruction on Tuesday night.

By the numbers, about 45 percent of the homes on Abaco and Grand Bahama, or more than 13,000 houses, were severely damaged or destroyed, Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane estimated. More than 60,000 people on those islands will need food and clean drinking water, United Nations and Red Cross officials said. Combined, the two islands have a population of about 70,000. New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas with more than 250,000 people, and the capital, Nassau, were largely spared.

NBC News provided some images of the storm-wrecked island without sound.

It seems like every year brings new terrible records in the annals of Atlantic hurricanes, and Dorian is strongest storm ever to hit land in the Atlantic, tied with a 1935 hurricane that hit Florida's Gulf Coast. The Bahamas sapped most of Dorian's wrath, but flooding and heavy winds are still expected from Florida through North Carolina. Peter Weber

September 3, 2019

President Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Alabama was among the states "most likely" to be "hit (much) harder than anticipated" by Hurricane Dorian. About 20 minutes later, the National Weather Service disagreed.

A few minutes after the NWS's Birmingham office corrected Trump, according to a time line put together by CNN's Brian Stelter, the president told reporters "we don't know where it's going to hit, but we have an idea," and "Alabama is going to get a piece of it, it looks like." And about an hour later, Trump said at a FEMA briefing that Dorian "may get a little piece of a great place: It's called Alabama," adding that Alabama "could even be in for at least some very strong winds and something more than that, it could be. This just came up, unfortunately."

The government has never publicly forecast that Alabama would take a hit from Dorian, and neither had any publicly released model.

So Trump appeared to have made a mistake, as several news organizations noted Monday. On Monday night, Trump couldn't let it go.

You can read Stelter's parsing of Trump's hinky language at CNN, and/or you can consider sparing some thoughts or money for the people of the Bahamas, who were most definitely hurt by Hurricane Dorian. Peter Weber

September 2, 2019

Hurricane Dorian became the strongest storm on record to strike the Bahamas on Sunday, and is expected to remain a Category 5 storm as its eye hovers over Grand Bahama Island throughout Monday morning. Winds of over 200 mph are possible during the day, The Weather Channel reports. CNN correspondent Patrick Oppmann, reporting from Freeport, said the sound in the Bahamas is "like a jet engine, just screaming winds that pick up but never really go away."

Florida, meanwhile, is bracing for the storm, although it is still unclear how much of the brunt of Dorian is going to slam the coast; the state is expected to begin to receive hurricane-force winds of more than 74 mph overnight. Mandatory evacuations were issued in seven south Florida counties, as well as in parts of Georgia and South Carolina, The New York Times reports.

"This storm is one of the strongest storms that has ever threatened Florida," Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) told The Weather Channel, with Dorian's velocity second only to Hurricane Allen in 1980. Jeva Lange

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