Hurricane Dorian is slamming into the north-western Bahamas as a catastrophic category five storm with sustained winds of up 285km/h.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says the “extremely dangerous” storm is the strongest hurricane on modern record in the area.
Grand Bahama residents have been evacuating from its predicted path.
A storm surge could be life-threatening and as high as 23ft (7m) in places, officials warn.
Dorian, moving westward at 11km/h, is expected to continue to move over Great Abaco Island and near, or over, Grand Bahama Island later today.
Authorities closed some airports in the outlying islands, but the main international airport remains open.
After hitting the Bahamas, it should move closer to the Florida east coast late today through tomorrow night.