Hurricane Dorian hovered over the Bahamas on Monday, pummeling the islands with a fearsome Category 4 assault that shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passes.

Hurricane Dorian hovered over the Bahamas on Monday, pummeling the islands with a fearsome Category 4 assault that shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passes.

The storm’s top sustained winds fell slightly to 155 mph (250 kph), and its westward movement slowed almost to a standstill. The system crawled along Grand Bahama Island at just 1 mph (2 kph) and was expected to generate a storm surge of 18 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters).

“We need you to bunker down,” Kwasi Thompson, minister of state for Grand Bahama, warned people. “It’s going to be another 10-12 hours that we’re going to be bombarded with this.”

Thompson and other officials said they received distress calls about rising floodwaters, but rescuers could not go out in the violent conditions.

“They are ready to get into those areas as soon as the weather subsides,” he said.

Meanwhile in the United States, the National Hurricane Center extended watches and warnings across the Florida and Georgia coasts.

Forecasters expected Dorian to stay just off shore, but meteorologist Daniel Brown cautioned that “only a small deviation” could draw the storm’s dangerous core toward land.

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