“This is a life-threatening situation. Residents there should take refuge immediately,” he said, predicting a storm of 18 to 23 feet.
Local radio reported that people were asking for help after winds blew up the roof of the Island Breezes hotel in Marsh Harbor, a shopping center in the Abacos.
It was reported that many Abacos residents chose to leave the hurricane instead of listening to government warnings to evacuate.
The Nassau Guardian cited local resident Troy Albury saying that 150 people stayed in Guana Cay, in the center of the Abacos, to face the fury of the storm. There are only eight left on the last ferry, he said.
The light went out as the storm approached, a Man-o-war Cay resident in the Abacos told AFP.
“The catastrophic hurricane conditions are occurring in the Abacos Islands,” the forecaster said in his 1800 GMT bulletin.
He said the storm “was heading with all its fury towards Grand Bahama,” where it was expected from Sunday night until Monday.
NHC director Ken Graham on Facebook Live said the Bahamas would be under hurricane conditions for a penalty of 30 hours or more.
“Those are major hurricane winds, they are 10 and 20 foot storms in some of those areas,” he said. “That is also torrential rain of 15 to 20 inches, isolated 30 inches.”
An automotive company closes in preparation for the approach of Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019 in Freeport, Bahamas
In Washington, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, met with his emergency management chiefs and declared “this seems monstrous.”
“We hope that much of the east coast is ultimately affected and part of it very, very severely,” he said.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for parts of the Florida coast, and residents of the Atlantic coast prepared to face the danger.
Florida issued its first evacuation orders in parts of Palm Beach, home of the Trump Mar-a-Lake complex, and Martin counties.
Meanwhile, in Grand Bahama, business was approached and thousands of people evacuated Dorian’s planned path.
“It feels like we are in a line waiting for a beating,” Yasmin Rigby, a resident of the island’s main city, Freeport, told AFP.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned residents that “the price they can pay for not evacuating is their life or other serious physical damage.”