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Hurricane Dorian Takes Aim At The Southeastern U.S.

Sep 5, 2019
Originally published on September 5, 2019 10:43 am
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's check on two spots along the Eastern Seaboard, two of the places that have had to prepare for Hurricane Dorian. The eye of this giant storm is out over the Atlantic Ocean, moving about 8 miles per hour. Its counterclockwise winds have been blowing ashore in places including Savannah, Ga., which is where we find NPR's Bobby Allyn. Bobby, hi there.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: How's the weather where you are?

ALLYN: You know, it's really mild, to be honest. I mean, I was just outside, and it's not raining. There are some kind of strong gusts, but for the most part, you wouldn't really know that a hurricane is due east of us here in Savannah. It's - honestly, it's kind of peaceful right now. It's strange to say, but that's the way it is.

INSKEEP: It's a lovely city - Savannah, Ga. What has it been like the last 24 hours as people try to get out of the way?

ALLYN: Yeah, so the city's completely boarded up. There are sandbags around homes and businesses. You know, some half a million people are under evacuation orders now. So the city itself is kind of deserted. It's a bit of a ghost town. When you go out to some of the barrier islands on the Georgia coast, you're getting stronger winds. You're getting rain. But again, even there, the flooding is not as extensive as originally forecast. And it seems that Dorian, much like its impact on Florida, is not as intense as some people were originally predicting.

INSKEEP: Now, I was looking at the map from the National Hurricane Center, and I guess if you're standing, as you are, Bobby, in Savannah, if you were to look almost due east, the eye of the storm would be right out there somewhere, right?

ALLYN: That's exactly right. You know, it was a Category 5 storm when it was over the Bahamas and really decimated the islands there. And it weakened, and then it strengthened again. So now it's about a Category 3 storm. I think the winds are, you know, more than a hundred miles per hour, so it's a serious storm to be reckoned with still. But for folks along the Georgia coast here, everyone's kind of buckling down and just hoping this goes away by this evening, as it's supposed to, and then it will start bearing down on the Carolinas, of course.

INSKEEP: And, of course, the next state up is South Carolina. How are things there?

ALLYN: So in South Carolina, you know, already, there are thousands of people without power. You know, I'm seeing online that, you know, there's water flooding in the streets. The winds are extremely strong. You know, there's even a chance, Steve, that this is going to strike the coast, whether in South Carolina or in North Carolina. Forecasts say that this might actually clip the coast. And if that happens, then they're in for some really, really severe impacts that could be catastrophic.

INSKEEP: You mentioned half a million people under evacuation orders. What are you hearing from some of those people?

ALLYN: Yeah. So a lot of people are gone. Some people stayed, including this guy I talked to, Eric Simmons. And he lives on Tybee Island, which is just off the Georgia coast. That's a barrier island. It's one of the most vulnerable spots because it's the easternmost point of the Georgia coast. But I found him as he was about to grab a slice of pizza at a pizza shop, and he told me, look; I've got no plans of leaving.

ERIC SIMMONS: It's just some wind. If it was going to be a direct hit, then, yeah. But we're all right. We've got, you know, our luggage and stuff in the back of the truck here. And if we want to go, then we can go. I got a place in Jesup so - but right now, I'm just hungry.

INSKEEP: Although, I got to mention, I mean, he's probably fine, but if you're on a barrier island, you can't really be sure of getting off that island if a hurricane really were to strike, right?

ALLYN: Yeah, that's right. And the mayor of that island was really concerned because, you know, during some past hurricanes - Matthew and Irma - one of the problems was people who stuck around and, you know, were seeking shelter. The winds were so bad they couldn't even send helicopters in to save people. So they were thinking of those past hurricanes and thinking about terrible situations of how rescuers couldn't get to people and trying to avoid that again. But unlike Matthew and Irma, this storm, Dorian, did not get as close to the Georgia coast, so it was largely spared.

INSKEEP: NPR's Bobby Allyn in Savannah, Ga. Thanks so much.

ALLYN: Thank you, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.