Soon after Hurricane Dorian made landfall, we sent a ShelterBox assessment team in the Bahamas.
Our teams have conducted exhaustive research alongside IOM and the Red Cross, and have also met with our local Rotary contacts and other humanitarian agencies.
They have visited the Abaco islands in order to understand the needs of people who had been affected the most, but didn't find unmet emergency shelter needs.
Our teams are no longer in the country, but our work in the Bahamas will not stop. We'll stay in contact with Rotary, the Government and with the other organisations who worked as part of the coordinated response. We will be ready to return if we have a part to play in future plans.
Key facts about Hurricane Dorian
When did Hurricane Dorian happen?
The low-pressure system that became Dorian formed on August 23, strengthened to a tropical storm on August 24 and became a hurricane on August 28. Dorian is the fourth named storm of the 2019 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
How strong was Hurricane Dorian?
At it strongest, Dorian was a category 5 hurricane, the strongest recorded hurricane in the Bahamas' history, with wind speeds of 185 mph and storm surge of up to 23 feet.
Where has been worst affected?
The islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama have been worst affected, with an estimate of 13,000 homes that have been severely damaged or destroyed.
How many people have been affected?
At least 50 people are confirmed to have died but this figure is still rising, many are still missing, and around 76,000 people are thought to have been affected.
2019 Hurricane Season
- In an average season, there are 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, with about half of them being major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater.
- In past years over 80% of hurricane season activity has occurred during the two-month stretch from August 20th to October 20th. Although we have only seen two named hurricanes so far in the 2019 hurricane season, this doesn't mean that it will be a quieter season.
- Each year, Colorado State University’s (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project issues an updated outlook in order to account for the various summer changes. In their most recent outlook (as of August 05 2019) they predict 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
- Near-normal tropical storm activity is predicted for the Atlantic Ocean in 2019, according to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Key facts about hurricanes
What exactly is a hurricane?
Hurricane and typhoons are cyclonic weather systems that form in the tropics and have sustained wind speeds of more than 74 miles per hour.
What’s the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane?
Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are all tropical storms. The only difference is where they form. Hurricanes form in the tropical Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific.
Typhoons form in the West Pacific and cyclones form south of the equator, off the coast of places such as Australia and Madagascar.
How is hurricane strength measured?
The Saffir-Simpson scale is the standard scale for rating the severity of a hurricane as measured by the damage it causes.
It classifies hurricanes on a hierarchy from category 1 (minimal), through category 2 (moderate), category 3 (extensive), and category 4 (extreme), to category 5 (catastrophic). A super typhoon is equivalent to a category 4 or 5 hurricane.
At its peak, Hurricane Irma, a category 5 hurricane, was twice the strength of the Great Storm of 1987 - the most violent storm to ever hit the UK.
Find out more
To find out everything you need to know about hurricanes and typhoons, how and where they form, and what are some of their deadly effects visit Natural disasters explained - Hurricanes.
Responding after a hurricane
Being deployed in the aftermath of either a hurricane or a typhoon presents many unique challenges.
Constant monitoring and communication between teams at HQ and on the ground are essential to making sure the team are all aware of what the risks are, what the situation is and what the weather conditions are like.
Watch this video to find out what our response teams can expect when they arrive in country.
How does ShelterBox help hurricane-stricken communities?
Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane or typhoon can be very challenging. Whole communities can be destroyed, from people's homes to vital infrastructure such as roads, communication lines, power and medical supplies.
Despite the challenges, we often respond to places that are hit by tropical storms. After hurricane Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in 2017, we have provided essential aid to over 2,000 families across five islands in the Caribbean. See how we've supported families.
By providing emergency shelter, people can have somewhere warm to stay and feel safe, which makes the process of recovery a whole lot easier.
- Amy, Barbuda
How does ShelterBox monitor hurricanes?
When we’re monitoring a tropical storm, we use a variety of sources to give us a detailed overview of the situation.
- Windy – this lets us see current weather updates and weather patterns for the next 7/8 days. We can normally identify ahead of time when it looks like a tropical storm / hurricane will start to form, and we can then monitor the storm accordingly.
- GDACS – The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System is a resource that provides updates on a range of natural disaster events which rates the overall humanitarian impact of a natural disaster, and provides updates on the impact of the disaster, as well as resources such as maps of the affected areas.
- Automated Disaster Analysis and Mapping (ADAM) - an interactive map that tracks active tropical storms and earthquakes.
- National Hurricane Centre – a website operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that issues updates and key messaging on tropical storms and hurricanes. They also produce detailed maps and issue advisories for areas where a tropical storm or hurricane is expected to make landfall.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – A US government agency, that issues a forecast for the hurricane season.
Depending on where a storm is predicted to make landfall, we will often monitor local news sources and government and disaster management agency websites, to understand how governments and local agencies are preparing for and responding to the storm.
We continue to monitor the situation after the storm has made landfall to understand the impact on affected communities, and to see if there will be an emergency shelter need.
We use our response criteria to make the decision around whether or not we are in a position to respond.
Hurricane Maria recovery stories
Recovery after Hurricane Irma
How our team helped Amy's family start rebuilding after Hurricane Irma destroyed their home.
Rebuilding after Hurricane Maria
See how Ella managed to rebuild and improve her family's livelihood after Hurricane Maria.
Recovery in Dominica
How 81-year-old Simon started rebuilding his life with the help of ShelterBox after Hurricane Maria.