Storm surges and flash flooding are expected across a widespread area as the Category 5 hurricane nears land.
Hurricane Dorian has been upgraded to the highest category – Cat 5 – as parts of Florida consider evacuation orders.
It comes as hotels have been boarded up and families have evacuated their homes in the Bahamas.
Category 5 means sustained winds of more than 156 miles an hour, the possibility of “catastrophic” damage and “devastating conditions”.
Dorian has a maximum sustained winds of up to 160 miles an hour, according to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC)
Donald Trump told reporters that a determination on whether to order evacuations on the US East coast will be made later on Sunday.
Brevard County, which is on the coast near to Orlando, said that it would start asking people to move out of danger on Monday.
The eye of the Catergory 5 hurricane is about to hit the island of Great Abaco in the northern Bahamas.
Its advice includes:
- A hurricane warning is in effect for the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama; life-threatening storm surges, devastating hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains capable of producing life-threatening flash floods are expected until Monday.
- A tropical storm warning is now in effect for part of the Florida east coast. Life-threatening storm surges and dangerous hurricane-force winds are possible along the Florida east coast by the middle part of the week. Residents should have their hurricane plan in place, know if they are in a hurricane evacuation zone, and listen to advice given by local emergency officials.
- There is an increasing risk of strong winds and dangerous storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South and North Carolina later this week. Residents in these areas should continue to monitor the progress of Dorian.
- Heavy rain could trigger life-threatening flash floods over coastal sections of the southeast and lower mid-Atlantic regions of the United States through the later part of the coming week.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis of the Bahamas has urged residents to evacuate areas most at risk, saying that “homes, houses, structures can be replaced”.
He added: “Lives cannot be replaced.”
A spokesperson for the government of the Bahamas said Dorian was expected to impact some 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes.
Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis has asked the public to remain vigilant, warning that dangerous storm surges are forecast for the region.
“As you’re looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact,” the governor said at a news conference.