Weaker Dorian lashes Canada with wind; trail of destruction in North Carolina
TORONTO — Dorian’s powerful winds arrived on Canada’s Atlantic coast Saturday, toppling a construction crane in Halifax and knocking out power for more than 300,000 people a day after the storm wreaked havoc on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Residents of Nova Scotia braced for heavy rainfall and potential flooding along the coast, as officials in Halifax urged people to secure heavy objects that might become projectiles. Businesses were encouraged to close early.
“We do not want the citizens of Halifax roaming downtown as the water is coming in,” said Erica Fleck, assistant chief of community risk reduction in Halifax, the provincial capital and home to 400,000 people.
A crane toppled and crashed into the side of a downtown apartment building under construction. In the city’s south end, a roof was ripped off an apartment complex, and firefighter Jeff Paris said several apartment buildings were being evacuated. Those forced from their homes would be taken to emergency shelters, he said.
Wall of water
As Canada prepared for Dorian, floodwaters receded Saturday from North Carolina’s Outer Banks, leaving behind a muddy trail of destruction. The storm’s worst damage in the U.S. appeared to be on Ocracoke Island, which even in good weather is accessible only by boat or air and is popular with tourists for its undeveloped beaches. Longtime residents who hunkered down to wait out the storm described strong but manageable winds followed by a wall of water that flooded the first floors of many homes and forced some to await rescue from their attics.
“We’re used to cleaning up dead limbs and trash that’s floating around,” said Ocracoke Island resident and business owner Philip Howard. “But now it’s everything: picnic tables, doors, lumber that’s been floating around.”
Howard said by phone Saturday that flooding at his properties on the North Carolina island is 13 inches higher than the levels wrought by a storm in 1944, which he said had long been considered the worst. He raised his home higher than the 1944 flood level and still got water inside.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Howard, who owns the Village Craftsmen, a store that sells handcrafted pottery, glass and kitchen items. He said much of the merchandise on the lower shelves is ruined. Pieces of pottery were floating around inside.
Inside his house, the floorboards were buckling and curling up after being warped by the water, he said.
Gov. Roy Cooper said about 800 people had remained on the island to wait out Dorian. The storm made landfall Friday morning over the Outer Banks as a far weaker storm than the monster that devastated the Bahamas. Yet despite having been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, it still sent seawater surging into homes on Ocracoke, many for the first time in memory.
Evacuees reach Florida
More than 1,100 Bahamians arrived in Palm Beach, Florida, after being evacuated by cruise ship from their hurricane-battered islands.
The Grand Celebration cruise ship returned to its home port after setting sail Thursday for Freeport, Grand Bahama, to deliver more than 112 tons of supplies and ferry dozens of health workers and emergency crews.
As it approached Canada, Dorian briefly strengthened to a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph before weakening to a strong Category 1 storm with winds of 93 mph on Saturday afternoon, Canadian officials said.