Hurricane Dorian Bears Down On The Bahamas

Sep 1, 2019
Originally published on September 1, 2019 11:15 am
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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

We're watching Hurricane Dorian today as it churns in the Atlantic, closing in on the Bahamas. It's now a Category 5 with sustained winds of 180 miles per hour. Bill Albury lives in Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands miles from the center of the storm. We checked in with him about an hour ago.

BILL ALBURY: Well, we have not got the eyewall over us yet, but it's fast approaching. I think it will be here in the next hour or two. But we have some very, very strong hurricane-force winds. They were gale-force winds earlier, but they're now probably exceeded 75 miles an hour. So we're gusting to 80 or even higher, probably 85. And we're all bunkered down in anticipation of the storm. At the moment, it's on the northern side of the harbor, but we anticipate the eyewall to come directly over Marsh Harbour. So we don't know what we're going to get on the backside. So we're just all very anxious. And tide is extremely high at the moment, but it is receding or supposed to recede as time goes on today. So that might help us a bit. But, you know, that's usually - the storm usually pushes a big wall of water with it anyway. So I don't know if we'll even enjoy that low tide.

FADEL: So do you have power right now?

ALBURY: No. Power has been off since very early this morning, about 3 a.m. in most of the township. Maybe in some of the outer-lying areas, like southern Abaco, which is not going to be as extremely impacted as we are here, they may still have some power on the outskirts. But right in the main township, it's been off since 3 a.m. Most people are on backup power at this time if they have backup power.

FADEL: How long have you lived in the Bahamas?

ALBURY: All my life. I'm a sixth-generation Bahamian.

FADEL: Wow. And so you've been through storms like this before.

ALBURY: We have been through storms like this, but, you know, every storm is completely unique and different. So you just never really know what to expect no matter how many storms you've weathered. Every one is - has its own unique characteristics. And this is no exception.

FADEL: And how are you preparing for this one?

ALBURY: Well, everyone over here takes hurricanes very, very seriously. No one takes it lightly and says, oh, I'll get through. I'm not worried about it. Everyone battens down. The houses are generally well built, and the hurricane codes for building here are very strict. So I think - you know, certainly in the past, most of the structures have maintained their integrity. Everyone shutters up, closes up and sits it out. So we'll see if we can get through this one like that. But this is going to be a very strong storm.

FADEL: You sound worried.

ALBURY: Well, I'm concerned, to say the least, because I do have a restaurant that's right on the water in the harbor that I just left earlier today, Snappas, and I don't think that's going to fare very well even if we make it OK in the house because that's directly on the water. We're about 25 feet above sea level at my home on the other side of the harbor. So I think that we will fare better than anyone on the water in the harbor like the restaurant and we built it up. We lost it in Hurricane Jeanne and Frances in 2004...

FADEL: Oh.

ALBURY: ...And built it back about three to four feet higher than we had it before. But, you know, when you're on the water, that's the price you pay. So we'll see what happens.

FADEL: Bill Albury is in Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Thank you so much. Stay safe.

ALBURY: Thank you very much. I appreciate the call. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.