As Hurricane Dorian started to gradually accelerate to the northwest and become a Category 2 storm on Tuesday, Sept. 3, damage reports from the Bahamas were still spotty, and consultants and contractors waited for an expected onslaught of requests for help. At least seven people are known to have died, and media reports say towns have been leveled. The U.S. Coast Guard said it had rescued 19 people from the islands.

Peter McLeod, senior partner at Bahamas-based consultant DHP Associates, says his firm expects to be called in for estimates and assessments soon, but that as of late Tuesday, communications with the islands in the path of the storm, a little more than 100 miles north of Nassau, still were cut off.

DHP, located in Nassau, is a chartered quantity surveying, project, cost and contract management consulting firm that has provided services for many major structures and resorts in the Bahamas.

“At the moment, we’ve got no inquiries—other than a couple of clients here who are putting their new build projects on hold. But we expect to be getting calls pretty soon,” he says. “We’re just trying to work out how bad it is at the moment. I don’t think there is any communications yet at all.”

McLeod added he had seen one text message sent by an acquaintance from Hopetown, a small village near Marsh Harbor in the hard-hit Abacos islands area. He reported that his well-built, concrete-framed house is uninhabitable—its windows blew out and roof came off.

About 90% of homes in the town, which are mostly older wood-framed structures, are either seriously compromised or knocked down, he reported.

Dorian, which had stalled out over the Bahamas, was moving in the Atlantic at about 6 mph on Tuesday evening, with sustained winds of up to 110 mph. It was expanding in size, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 60 miles from the center of the storm and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 175 miles.

The center said tropical storm conditions would continue on Grand Bahama Island and along the Florida coast Tuesday night. Tropical storm conditions were expected to begin in north Florida and Georgia late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

“On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast tonight through Wednesday night," according to the center's forecast. "The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning.”

Tropical storm warnings, watches and hurricane warnings were put in place all along the east coast, from Jupiter Inlet, Fla., to Surf City, N.C., and a storm surge warning was in effect for that entire stretch.

The center said rainfall could reach up to 30 in. in the Bahamas.