Donald Trump has been filmed playing golf at this private resort as ferocious Hurricane Dorian forced a million evacuations in the US, with a state of emergency declared in four states.
The “monster” of a storm which has flattened the Bahamas and left “unprecedented damage” is expected to move “dangerously close” to Florida on Tuesday (local time).
The eye of one of the strongest hurricanes to have battered the Bahamas is currently hovering over the archipelago and moving west at a pace slower than walking – about 2km/hour.
The unpredictable storm has been downgraded to a category four with wind speeds of about 240km/h and is expected to continue moving in a west, west-north-west direction but its path is hard to determine.
As Hurricane Dorian approaches the US eastern seaboard, homes have been evacuated, airports and ports have shutdown and more than 1000 flights have been cancelled.
Hospitals have begun evacuating patients and residents have been warned to expect life-threatening storm surges and dangerous winds.
States of emergency were declared for the states of Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina which authorise the Federal Emergency Management Agency to co-ordinate disaster relief efforts.
#Dorian is now stationary just offshore of Grand Bahama Island. It remains an incredibly dangerous category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 145 MPH. Dorian's wind field is expanding, and tropical storm force winds now extend 150 miles from the center. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/wXVSWPXj2B
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 2, 2019
Mr Trump was briefed on the hurricane during a visit to Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington on Sunday where he said: “We don’t even know what’s coming at us. All we know is it’s possibly the biggest.
“I have — I’m not sure that I’ve ever even heard of a Category 5. I knew it existed.
“And I’ve seen some Category 4’s — you don’t even see them that much.”
He has since been spotted playing golf on a course he owns but Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said the president was “fully engaged” with federal, state and local officials.
CNN reports Mr Trump’s trip to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Monday was the 227th day he has spent at one of his golf clubs as president.
The president urged everyone in Dorian’s path to obey warnings and evacuation orders issued by local authorities, saying public safety “must always come first”.
As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.
"Catastrophic damage." "Extreme destruction." "A deadly storm and a monster storm.” Images and video from the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian show its devastation. https://t.co/bBwNwlsBzW pic.twitter.com/comjcbSfaY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 2, 2019
The Abaco Islands which were slammed by Dorian have a population of about 17,000.
Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis described the damage to his nation, which is regularly hit by hurricanes, as “unprecedented”.
Grand Bahama is still feeling the impact of the Category 5 #HuricaneDorian. Based on reports out of Abaco, the devastation is unprecedented. Winds have decreased to 165MPH but Dorian remains an extremely dangerous storm. Our focus right now is rescue, recovery and prayer.
— Dr Hubert Minnis (@minnis_dr) September 2, 2019
Homes on the archipelago are built to withstand a category four storm but Dorian was the highest-level category five when it arrived on Sunday (local time) with wind speeds nearing 300km/h.
Minister of State Kwasi Thompson told ZNS Bahamas radio station that officials were getting a tremendous number of calls from people in distress as the powerful storm slowed to almost a standstill.
Police Chief Samuel Butler urged people to remain calm and said rescue crews could not help anyone at the moment because of the storm’s sustained winds of 250km/h.
“We simply cannot get to you,” he said.
Dorian also is expected to cause a storm surge of up to 7 metres as ZNS radio station shared reports from callers saying some people were stuck on roofs and other areas.