Hurricane Joaquin leaves path of destruction in Bahamas
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The powerful Hurricane Joaquin moved away from The Bahamas on Saturday, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Packing winds up to 140 miles per hour at its strongest point so far, the system churned over several islands in the central and southern Bahamas for most of Friday, as the dangerous category four storm toppled power lines and caused widespread structural damage to homes, businesses and docks. There were also reports of major flooding across several islands.
Long Island, San Salvador, Samana Cay, Crooked Island, Acklins, Great Exuma and Rum Cay experienced the worst of the storm. However, several other areas including Cat Island and North Eleuthera were also adversely impacted.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials said on Friday they lost contact with Long Island and Crooked Island.
“All houses along the coastline [of Acklins] were waterlogged. In other words, water entered all of the homes on the coastline,” said local MP Alfred Gray.
Gray said the island’s administrator, Harvey Roberts, was unable to get to several settlements, as the roads were impassable due to downed power lines and other debris.
Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) officials in the Family Islands reported island wide outages remaining in Inagua, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, and Long Island as a result of deteriorating weather conditions.
“BEC teams also report outages in some parts of Exuma and Cat Island due to the impact of Hurricane Joaquin,” said a BEC statement. “Limited communication with some of the impacted islands and poor weather conditions have prevented any further assessment of damage in those communities. BEC advises that once the all clear is given, a comprehensive assessment of the damage will be completed. This will be followed by repairs and eventual restoration.”
San Salvador resident Paul Turnquest said the damage on that island is extensive.
“There will be quite a bit of structural damage to the homes here in San Salvador because of the high winds and the thing about it is there is a lot of rain as well,” Turnquest said.
According to NEMA, winds on San Salvador exceeded 130 mph.
“This is my 26th year [living here],” Turnquest said.
“I have never seen this before.... I weathered Hurricane Floyd and more recently Hurricane Francis and this is the worst one we’ve ever seen.”
By Krystel Rolle-Brown
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter