Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on the US after tearing through the Bahamas with huge winds and storm surges.
The Category Five hurricane is now carrying sustained winds of 300 kph, with gusts of over 320kph – making it one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes to arrive on land.
Residents in the Bahamas are being warned not to leave shelter when the eye of the storm passes overhead as winds will “rapidly increase” on the other side.
The Miami-based National hurricane Centre said the “catastrophic” hurricane is bringing storm surges of up to 23 feet above normal tide levels on the island, along with with “higher destructive waves.”
Roofs have been ripped from homes, cars overturned and power lines torn down.
This morning, the first death as a result of the storm was reported in the Bahamas.
Ingrid McIntosh told Eyewitness News that her eight-year-old grandson drowned on Abaco Island.
She said her granddaughter is also missing.
Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said it was a hurricane like nothing the country had seen before, adding that in some parts of Abaco Island, “you cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street versus where the ocean begins.”
STORM WATCH: videos submitted from Eleuthera.
(1/4) Storm surge from Hurricane Dorian, running into the streets, effecting residents of Eleuthera.
Dorian is a massive storm, impacting many islands at once.#ZNSStormWatch #HurricaneDorian2019 #trackingDorian pic.twitter.com/ikHnB7dVB6
— ZNS Bahamas (@ZNSBahamas242) September 1, 2019
The Government said the scene was “devastating,” with huge damage to property and infrastructure.
Dorian is moving towards the US coast at a speed of around 7kph – but its path is hard to predict as winds are expected to grow.
Evacuations orders are in place along parts of Georgia and South Carolina.
The Georgia order covers roughly 540,000 people in six communities, while in South Carolina the order covers around 830,000 people in eight communities.
People living in vulnerable parts of Florida have also been told to evacuate.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said: "We can't make everybody happy, but we believe we can keep everyone alive."
The hurricane was around 220km from the Florida coast at around 4am this morning.
It is expected to move “dangerously close” to the east coast of Florida later today and early on Tuesday.
There are indications Florida and Georgia could be spared the worst of it before the storm hits Stouh Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday.
Florida's governor Ron DeSantis warned the state's residents not to get complacent, warning, “We're not out of the woods yet.”