Chicagoan speaks after surviving Hurricane Dorian in Bahamas

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicagoan speaks after riding out Hurricane Dorian in Bahamas
A Chicago man got stuck in the Bahamas while he was trying to secure his family's property before Hurricane Dorian made landfall.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Before the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, a Chicago man got stuck on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas while he was trying to secure his family's property before the storm made landfall.

Chris Roach, a retired Coast Guard Lt. Commander, flew to his family's bungalow in Treasure Cay two weeks ago.

"Most of our preparation was getting anything that could be damaged by a storm surge up off the ground," Roach said.

Roach said as he was securing the bungalow, he was also mentally preparing himself to ride out the storm.

Roach witnessed most of the storm's destruction first-hand, taking videos of the powerful winds. Eventually, he took shelter in one of his friend's concrete bunker. While he was there, he said he was hoping the home that had been in his family for more than 30 years would be spared.

"I've learned to drive boats there. Our family is deeply seated in the community," Roach said.

As Dorian intensified, Roach said he thought he had an idea of when the worst of the storm would be over, but the storm stalled.

"Anybody who's been through a hurricane who has experience, sheltering two nights for one of these is extremely rare," Roach said.

Once Dorian passed, Roach discovered that his home was destroyed, but he quickly went into crisis management mode.

"My biggest concern was realizing that there's a group of people here in need that don't have anybody in charge," Roach said.

Roach helped coordinate emergency management efforts for people who were injured in Treasure Cay until he returned home.

At least 10, 000 people in the Abaco Islands need temporary food and housing.

Dorian is the most powerful hurricane to strike the Bahamas on record, but Roach said that he is hopeful that what was damaged in Treasure Cay will be rebuilt.