Hurricane Dorian batters Bahamas, boat fire kills 25 and Simone Biles speaks out: The Morning Rundown

Dorian is expected to move "dangerously close" to Florida's coast later today.

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Hurricane Dorian came to a virtual standstill over the Bahamas last night, pounding the island chain with sustained winds near 120 mph.

While it's been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, the slow-moving monster is expected to move "dangerously close" to Florida's east coast later today.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.


Dorian wreaks 'complete devastation' in Bahamas, heads toward U.S.

Hurricane Dorian hammered the Bahamas with ferocious winds and heavy surf, leaving at least five dead in the archipelago as officials warned the death toll could rise.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that parts of the northern Bahamas were in the midst of a “historic tragedy” and that the focus of authorities was on search, rescue and recovery.

On the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas, where Dorian made landfall Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane, as many as 13,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.Amanda DeGregory

On the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas, where Dorian made landfall Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane, as many as 13,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"The infrastructure is totally underwater," Joy Jibrilu, the director general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, said. "The toll in terms of damage is going to be unprecedented."

Meantime millions along the southeastern coast of the United States are bracing for Dorian.

Meteorologists with the National Hurricane Center warned in a 5 a.m. ET Tuesday update that despite being downgraded, Dorian was expected to remain a perilously powerful hurricane for the next few days, with "devastating" winds and a "life-threatening" storm surge.


At least 25 dead after scuba boat 'engulfed' in flames

A holiday weekend scuba diving excursion ended in tragedy when a middle-of-the-night fire swept through a boat off the coast of Southern California early Monday, leaving at least 25 dead and more missing, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Authorities fear the death toll could climb as high as 34.

Thirty-four of the 39 aboard the boat were sleeping below deck when the fire broke out.

"To be in a remote location, have a fire that occurs, have limited if any firefighting capability that could address ... you couldn't ask for a worse situation," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said on Monday.

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Bob Hansen, the owner of "The Grape Escape," the boat five crew members of the burning vessel sought refuge on, described the scene to NBC News. “It's a 75-footer and the flame was from one end of the boat to the other. There wasn't a blank spot on it and probably 30-foot flames,” he said. “I mean, it was just totally on fire.”

We apologize, this video has expired.

West Texas gunman was fired just before rampage

A west Texas man, on a "downward spiral," made "rambling" calls to police and the FBI before embarking on a shooting spree that took the lives of seven innocent bystanders, authorities said Monday.

The 36-year-old killer had been fired by his employer, Journey Oil Field Services, on Saturday before he went on his bloody rampage in the neighboring cities of Odessa and Midland, Texas.

"Right after that firing he called 911 ... and so did his employer," Odessa police chief Michael Gerke told reporters.


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Quote of the day

"It is clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact" on the Bahamas.

Sune Bulow, the head of the emergency operation center for the International Committee of the Red Cross.


One fun thing

In a recent monologue, television host Stephen Colbert mocked heterosexual men after a new study found some of them avoid environmentally friendly activities, like recycling, to avoid being perceived as gay.

“Really, men? Is there no limit to straight male fragility?” he asked mockingly. “This isn’t just toxic masculinity, this is literally toxic.”

To ostensibly solve the problem, Colbert, who jokingly referred to himself as a “ruggedly heterosexual male,” invited fellow “man-bros” to the “testosterzone” where he reimagined recycling bins to be sexually appealing to straight men.

Anything to save the planet, right?


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra