Hurricane Joaquin has brought heavy rains and winds to parts of the Bahamas after it was reclassified up to the second strongest type of storm.
Sustained winds of up to 210 km/h (130mph) were reported in parts of the eastern Bahamas, the US National Hurricane Centre said.
The NHC says Joaquin could affect the US East Coast by Sunday, and said it was now an “extremely dangerous” storm.
Emergency teams said there were no reports of casualties in the Bahamas.
Forecasters in the US and the Bahamas are warning that central islands, many of which are low-lying, could see a storm surge of up to 3.7m (12ft).
“We do not know the impact of 130mph on those areas,” Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie said. “We know it’s a horrific kind of experience.”
One Bahamas resident, Shandira Forbes, said she had been in contact with her mother on the island of Acklins.