Tropical weather patterns regularly cause havoc in the US, as Hurricane Dorian has shown us all — but their impact is even worse in the Caribbean. Dorian was a Category 5 storm when it swept over the Bahamas on Monday, and it wreaked massive devastation on the island nation. Luckily, the US has been able to offer help — in the shape of some of our most unfairly criticized uniformed heroes.
Like most places in the Caribbean, people in the Bahamas are familiar with tropical weather. Storms and hurricanes regularly carve a path of destruction through the region, and typically they’re even more destructive than when they hit the US.
- Hurricanes are powered by water vapor evaporating off the surface of warm seas, so they quickly run out of energy and collapse when they move over land. That makes them destructive to coastal regions in the US, but the damage trails off quickly as they move inland.
- It’s very different in the Caribbean. A hurricane can run over a series of islands in quick succession, recharging itself from the ocean between them, and lose hardly any of its violence in the process. That’s what happened to several islands in the Bahamas with Hurricane Dorian.
- Dorian lashed Grand Bahama and other islands with heavy rain, 25-foot storm swells and 200mph winds, putting the international airport under water and devastating harbors, homes and utilities. So far, at least 43 people are known to be dead.
- Although the Bahamas are a relatively wealthy nation, they’re also a small one and they don’t have a lot in the way of rescue services. There are also few unaffected areas of the country that rescuers can operate from.
- Luckily, the US has assets that were ready to assist. Customs and Border Protection is an agency that gets a lot of criticism from the Left for its role in preventing illegal immigration, but this week they’re doing something nobody can complain about — a rescue mission.
- On Tuesday, as soon as Dorian had moved on far enough that helicopters could fly safely, CBP units from the Miami Air and Marine Branch deployed out to the Bahamas. The aircrews had been preparing their equipment and H-60 Blackhawk helicopters before Dorian even made landfall on the islands, so they were ready to deploy as soon as it was safe to go.
- With their advanced long-range helicopters, CBP crews are able to rescue people trapped in remote regions, transport emergency supplies to where they’re needed and move medical personnel around the islands. They’re a huge asset — not just to the US, but to our neighbors, too.
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