Skip to main content

Halifax, Sept. 8: Residents help clear a tree felled by post-tropical storm Dorian, which knocked out power for hundreds of thousands in the province after it made landfall there.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

The latest

  • Utilities crews across Atlantic Canada were scrambling to restore power Monday after post-tropical storm Dorian left the region scarred by strong winds and torrential rain. Nova Scotia Power reported early Monday morning that nearly 200,000 of its customers were still waiting to be reconnected, while thousands more in the other Atlantic provinces faced a similar fate.
  • “To everyone dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian: Canadians are with you,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Sunday, saying he had been in touch with the premiers of Nova Scotia and PEI, which were hit most directly by the storm over the weekend.
  • Dorian left behind a trail of death and destruction in the southeastern United States and the Bahamas. At least 44 people were killed in the Bahamas, five in the continental U.S. and one in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. The Bahamas casualties included Canadian teacher Alishia Sabrina Lioli. The Windsor, Ont., resident’s family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to bring her body to Canada, with any extra funds used to help rebuild the school where she worked.
  • The Red Cross, the United Nations and governments throughout the Americas are amassing millions of dollars for relief efforts in what could be one of the costliest natural disasters since 2017, when hurricanes Harvey and Maria hit the Caribbean and U.S. coasts.


What do hurricane categories mean?

STORM SURGE (feet)

4

6

9

13

18+

5

250+

Catastrophic

4

WIND SPEED (km/h)

210

Extreme

DAMAGE

3

178

Extensive

2

154

Moderate

1

119

Minimal

980+

979

964

944

Less than

920

PRESSURE (mbars)

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: NOAA

STORM SURGE (feet)

4

6

9

13

18+

5

250+

Catastrophic

4

210

Extreme

WIND SPEED (km/h)

DAMAGE

3

178

Extensive

2

154

Moderate

1

119

Minimal

980+

979

964

944

Less than

920

PRESSURE (mbars)

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: NOAA

STORM SURGE (feet)

4

6

9

13

18+

5

250+

Catastrophic

4

210

Extreme

WIND SPEED (km/h)

DAMAGE

3

178

Extensive

2

154

Moderate

1

119

Minimal

980+

979

964

944

Less than

920

PRESSURE (mbars)

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: NOAA

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones, a type of storm that forms in the Atlantic or eastern North Pacific in which wind and moisture spin very fast around a low-pressure centre. But not all tropical cyclones are hurricanes: To get that designation, a cyclone has to have a top sustained windspeed of at least 119 kilometres an hour. From there, hurricanes are classified using the Saffir-Simpson windspeed scale. It goes from Category 1 to Category 5, but 5 has no upper limit, so there is no such thing as a Category 6 or higher. As the storm dies down, it eventually loses hurricane status, becoming a post-tropical storm (63 to 118 km/h) and then a post-tropical depression (62 km/h or less).

At its peak intensity, Dorian was a Category 5 on Sept. 1 when it was approaching the Bahamas, then stalled there and stayed at Category 4. It hovered between Category 2 and 3 status as it raked across the U.S. coast, but weakened as it left North Carolina and headed toward Nova Scotia. It was still just barely a hurricane when it made landfall at Nova Scotia’s Sambro Creek on Sept. 7, then crossed the province and the Gulf of St. Lawrence as a post-tropical storm.

How do hurricanes form? Globe science reporter Ivan Semeniuk explains


A view of damaged buildings on Great Abaco Island on Sept. 5, days after Dorian stalled in the ocean nearby.

Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

In a church in Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco, Dorian survivors take shelter inside a church.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The devastation so far

The Bahamas destroyed

The storm’s most destructive impact has been on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, whose combined population is about 70,000. Neither island is much more than 12 metres above sea level at their highest points. Over the Labour Day weekend, the islands were flooded with walls of water reaching the second floors of buildings, and on Sept. 1 gusts of up to 355 kilometres an hour flattened homes. Forty-four people have been confirmed dead so far, including Alishia Sabrina Lioli of Windsor, Ont., who taught at a school in the Abaco Islands.

Story continues below advertisement

Alishia Sabrina Lioli.

Facebook

The storm has left the Bahamas in a humanitarian crisis. As many as 13,000 homes may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said. Food may be required for 14,500 people on Abaco and 45,700 people on Grand Bahama, the UN World Food Programme said in a statement. Churches in South Florida, some of whose parishioners are descended from Miami’s earliest settlers from the Bahamas, spearheaded a donation drive of water, food and household supplies to be flown to the devastated islands.

dorian’s aftermath

A satellite photo taken of the western part of Grand Bahama Island after the passage of Hurricane Dorian shows the extent of devastating flooding. The yellow line denotes the coastline before the storm and how far the water has advanced. The black areas are what remain of dry land.

Fla.

DETAIL

Grand Bahama

Nassau

BAHAMAS

CUBA

0

150

KM

Original coastline

GRAND

BAHAMA

Grand Bahama Int’l Airport

Grand Bahama Hwy.

Freeport

0

4

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU;

REUTERS; ICEYE

dorian’s aftermath

A satellite photo taken of the western part of Grand Bahama Island after the passage of Hurricane Dorian shows the extent of devastating flooding. The yellow line denotes the coastline before the storm and how far the water has advanced. The black areas are what remain of dry land.

DETAIL

Grand Bahama

Fla.

Nassau

BAHAMAS

CUBA

0

150

KM

Original coastline

Grand Bahama Int’l Airport

GRAND BAHAMA

Grand Bahama Hwy.

Queen’s Hwy.

Freeport

0

2

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; REUTERS; ICEYE

dorian’s aftermath

A satellite photo taken of the western part of Grand Bahama Island after the passage of Hurricane Dorian shows the extent of devastating flooding. The yellow line denotes the coastline before the storm and how far the water has advanced. The black areas are what remain of dry land.

Fla.

Grand Bahama

DETAIL

Nassau

Original coastline

BAHAMAS

CUBA

0

150

GRAND BAHAMA

KM

Grand Bahama Hwy.

Grand Bahama Int’l Airport

Queen’s Hwy.

Freeport

0

2

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; REUTERS; ICEYE

Rainfall in millimetres, Aug. 30 - Sept. 3

200

400

600

800

1,000

1,200

1,400

Dots show

settlements

Area that experienced

winds 120 km/h or greater

PATH OF

DORIAN’S

EYE

GRAND

BAHAMA

Marsh

Harbour

Sept. 3

Sept. 2

ABACO

Sept. 1

Freeport

DORIAN

0

30

Detail

KM

BAHAMAS

SOURCE:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rainfall in millimetres, Aug. 30 - Sept. 3

200

400

600

800

1,000

1,200

1,400

Area that experienced

winds 120 km/h or greater

Dots show

settlements

PATH OF

DORIAN’S

EYE

Marsh

Harbour

Sept. 3

Sept. 2

GRAND

BAHAMA

Sept. 1

Freeport

ABACO

DORIAN

0

30

Detail

KM

BAHAMAS

SOURCE:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rainfall in millimetres, Aug. 30 - Sept. 3

200

400

600

800

1,000

1,200

1,400

Area that experienced

winds 120 km/h or greater

Dots show

settlements

PATH OF

DORIAN’S EYE

Sept. 3

Marsh

Harbour

GRAND

BAHAMA

Sept. 2

Freeport

Sept. 1

DORIAN

ABACO

Detail

0

30

BAHAMAS

KM

SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Carolinas flooded

Florida was spared a direct hit from Dorian, but states farther to the north were not so lucky. In Charleston, S.C., floodwaters rose to 30 cm or more in parts of the historic city as the storm, now weakened to a Category 1, came close to the coast. More than 330,000 homes and businesses lost power in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Johnny Crawford navigates his kayak down a flooded street in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 5.

Meg Kinnard/The Associated Press

The Maritimes shaken

By Sept. 7, Dorian reached the Nova Scotia coast near Halifax, knocking out power for as many as 200,000 people there and thousands more in PEI, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Canadian Forces personnel and hydro crews from other provinces mobilized to help clear roads of fallen trees and restore power.

A construction crane is seen toppled in downtown Halifax on Sept. 8.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

The staggering cost

Analysts have projected a colossal bill to clean up Dorian’s damage: Catastrophe modelling company Karen Clark & Company said the Bahamas’ total insured and uninsured losses could be US$7-billion, while UBS Group said the storm is likely to cause at least US$25-billion in losses for insurers overall. That would make it the insurance industry’s most expensive natural disaster since 2017.

U.S.

Dorian*

Atlantic

Ocean

7

1

6

10

MEX.

5

2

9

3

8

4

*As of Sept. 4, 8 a.m. (EDT)

COSTLIEST U.S. HURRICANES

1900-2017

TOTAL DAMAGES IN BILLIONS OF US$**

DEATHS

KATRINA 2005

1

$125

1,836

HARVEY 2017

2

125

107

MARIA 2017

3

90

~3,000

4

SANDY 2012

65

233

5

IRMA 2017

50

134

6

IKE 2008

30

214

7

ANDREW 1992

27

65

IVAN 2004

8

20.5

124

WILMA 2005

9

19

87

10

RITA 2005

18.5

125

**Not adjusted for inflation

graphic news, Sources: Reuters; NOAA

U.S.

Dorian*

Atlantic

Ocean

7

1

6

10

MEXICO

5

2

9

3

8

4

*As of Sept. 4, 8 a.m. (EDT)

COSTLIEST U.S. HURRICANES

1900-2017

TOTAL DAMAGES IN BILLIONS OF U.S. DOLLARS**

DEATHS

KATRINA 2005

1

$125

1,836

HARVEY 2017

2

125

107

MARIA 2017

3

90

~3,000

4

SANDY 2012

65

233

5

IRMA 2017

50

134

6

IKE 2008

30

214

7

ANDREW 1992

27

65

8

IVAN 2004

20.5

124

9

WILMA 2005

19

87

10

RITA 2005

18.5

125

**Not adjusted for inflation

graphic news, Sources: Reuters; NOAA

U.S.

Dorian*

Atlantic

Ocean

7

Gulf of

Mexico

1

6

10

10

MEXICO

5

2

9

3

8

4

Caribbean Sea

*As of Sept. 4, 8 a.m. (EDT)

COSTLIEST U.S. HURRICANES

1900-2017

TOTAL DAMAGES IN BILLIONS OF U.S. DOLLARS**

CATEGORY

DEATHS

KATRINA 2005, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi

1

$125

3

1,836

HARVEY 2017, Texas, Louisiana

2

125

4

107

MARIA 2017, Dominica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

3

90

5

~3,000

4

SANDY 2012, Mid-Atlantic, North East U.S.

65

1

233

5

IRMA 2017, Florida

50

4

134

6

IKE 2008, Texas, Louisiana

30

2

214

7

ANDREW 1992, Florida, Louisiana

27

5

65

8

IVAN 2004, Alabama, Florida

20.5

3

124

9

WILMA 2005, Florida

19

3

87

10

RITA 2005, Louisiana, Texas

18.5

3

125

**Not adjusted for inflation

graphic news, Sources: Reuters; NOAA



Compiled by Globe staff

Associated Press and Reuters, with reports from Globe staff and The Canadian Press


Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...