Hurricane Dorian unleashed flooding and heavy winds along the southeast coast of the United States before heading off into the Atlantic. Its current track has the storm reaching Canada's Nova Scotia next.
Hurricane Dorian is forecast to remain a Category 1 hurricane as it continues churning northward off the US east coast on Saturday.
Late Friday night, the US National Hurricane Center said that Dorian is heading for Nova Scotia "in a hurry," with hurricane-force winds expected on the Canadian maritime province by Saturday evening.
The eye of Hurricane Dorian briefly made landfall for the first time in the United States near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on Friday, battering the low-lying Outer Banks islands with winds and flooding before heading back out to sea.
On Friday, hundreds of people on the islands were feared trapped by flooding, and neighbors rescued each other with boats.
"We are flooding like crazy," a resident of Ocracoke Island told the Associated Press. "I have been here 32 years and not seen this."
"There is significant concern about hundreds of people trapped on Ocracoke Island," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
After laying waste to the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, Dorian dwindled to a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds peaking at 90 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour).
Dorian unleashed tornadoes and caused flooding Wednesday and Thursday as it slowly moved up the coastline of South and North Carolina.
On Friday, Bahamas Health Minister Duane Sands described the devastation across the islands as "staggering."
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis confirmed the new death toll of 43 with up to thousands of people still missing. Thirty-five were killed on the worst hit part of the Bahamas, Abaco, and eight on Grand Bahama island. The toll is expected to climb as rescuers continue to uncover bodies from debris.
"The loss of life we are experiencing is catastrophic and devastating," Minnis said. His spokeswoman, Erica Wells Cox, said due to the number of people missing, "this number is expected to grow significantly."
Survivors have described widespread destruction across the Bahamas, especially on islands where the eye of the storm made landfall.
"Abaco Island is like a ghost town," said a resident of Marsh Harbour, considered the largest town on that island with a population of more than 15,000 people. "No electricity, no water, no nothing."
However, some were hopeful. "Nothing is impossible but it will take a long, long time to recover," said another Marsh Harbour resident.
Charities, government agencies as well as cruise ships loaded with supplies and volunteers arrived in the Bahamas on Saturday to deliver emergency aid.
A record hurricane
The EU said it would send €500,000 ($550,000) as initial emergency relief for those lacking shelter, food and water.
Dorian is considered the most intense hurricane to ever make landfall in the Bahamas, with sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour. Intensity is measured by maximum sustained winds.
Over the past two decades, the Atlantic has witnessed some of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the western hemisphere. Scientists have pointed to the growing trend as further evidence of the man-made destabilization of Earth's climate system.
wmr,ls/sms (Reuters, AP, dpa)