Well-known hurricane hunter Josh Morgerman has made it to safety and is recounting what it was like to ride out Hurricane Dorian in one of the hardest hit parts of the Bahamas.
Morgerman had been tweeting updates on what was happening as the Category 5 storm made landfall, but went silent on social media for more than a day, leading some fans to fear the worst.
He had tweeted Sunday about going to a shelter in a school on the Abaco Islands and described how the storm was prying boards off the windows. His last tweet Sunday referenced how they were moving children to a safe space and wrapping them in blankets.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Weather Channel confirmed it had gotten in contact with him. "He is safe," the Weather Channel tweeted.
The hurricane hunter tweeted himself a few minutes later that he had made it to Nassau and called Dorian by far "the most intense cyclone" he's witnessed in 28 years of storm chasing.
"Thought I was playing it safe by riding it out in a solid-concrete school on a hill in Marsh Harbour. Thought wrong," Morgerman tweeted.
He recounted in a Twitter thread what happened and described the scene in Abaco Islands as an "absolute catastrophe."
He explained how they crept out of the building during the eye of the storm and found the school was "mostly destroyed, cars in parking lot thrown around & mutilated."
According to Morgerman, they frantically piled into a few cars and made it to a government complex before the backside of the storm hit. "The calm eye saved lives—gave victims chance to relocate," he added.
Morgerman said they found the shelter was filled with terrorized refugees, including many who had swam to safety or abandoned collapsed houses.
He went on to describe how whole neighborhoods had been swept away by a storm surge "higher than anything in memory," while areas above flooding suffered catastrophic wind damage.
"Many deaths reported from drowning, flying debris, & collapsing houses. Medical clinic overwhelmed. An absolute catastrophe. SEND HELP TO ABACO ISLANDS," Morgerman urged.
As of Tuesday afternoon, officials in the Bahamas have confirmed only five deaths.
Morgerman, whose new TV series is set to debut Sept. 15 on the Science Channel, said he chose to ride out the storm in Marsh Harbour because it would be a good location to be in the path of the eye when it passed over.
"I'm at a school in the city on a little bit of a hill and it's a designated shelter," Morgerman said in a video he said was shot at 4 a.m. local time Sunday. "I think I might ride out the storm here because, one, it's closer to the path of the eye -- I have a better chance of getting the eye here -- and, two, I think it's a little safer. It's on a hill and I think it will be above the storm surge and that's important to me. This hurricane is really serious and I'm treating it carefully."
Less than 4 1/2 hours later, Morgerman was in the thick of it.
"8:17 am. Gusts getting scary in Marsh Harbour. I feel like a rocket is about to take off. Bandwidth down to almost nothing, so this is possibly the last you'll hear from me for a long while. This is gonna get ugly," he tweeted.
Three hours later, Morgerman described being barricaded in a room with other people.
"11:15 am. 978 mb & falling fast. Just outside eyewall, but winds will damaging. Holed up with six others in concrete room with chairs against the door," he tweeted.
A half-hour later came what turned out to be his last post of the day.
"11:40 am. Pounding. CRASHING. Boards prying off windows. We're moving children to a safe space, wrapping them in blankets," Morgerman tweeted.
On Sunday, Dorian's maximum sustained winds reached 185 mph, with gusts up to 220 mph, tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall. That equaled the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were named. The only recorded storm that was more powerful was Hurricane Allen in 1980, with 190 mph winds, though it did not make landfall at that strength.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.