Radar imagery from NOAA.

Hurricane Dorian is now “the strongest hurricane in modern records for the northwestern Bahamas” and is causing “catastrophic conditions” in the Abacos Islands, the National Hurricane Center announced Sunday morning.

As of 11 a.m., Dorian is impacting the Bahamas with sustained winds of 180 miles per hour, gusts of up to 200 miles per hour, and “catastrophic” storm surges peaking at 23 feet.


Shortly before 11 a.m., the NHC tweeted in all caps, urging those in the storm’s immediate path to take life-saving measures.

“TAKE COVER NOW! THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION,” the NHC tweeted before later exclaiming for those on the islands to “take action now to protect your life!

Though only storm surge and hurricane watches are in effect for several for portions of Florida’s east coast, forecasters are warning residents that “only a slight deviation” would center the sunshine state in Dorian’s crosshairs.

According to the NHC, a watch advisory means that hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area and are usually issued 48 hours before what the NHC deems as conditions that would make preperation dangerous.

A plane flown by the Air Force Hurricane Hunters penetrated the eye-wall of Dorian early Sunday morning and reported that the storm is shifting slight west, inching itself closer to the east coast and metro Orlando at a speed of 7 miles per hour.


Data from the plane also reported that Dorian has grown larger in size and contains hurricane-force winds reaching outward of 45 miles from its center and tropical force winds extending roughly 140 miles.

Forecasters currently expect Dorian to affect Florida’s east coast late Monday or early Tuesday and are urging residents to rush their preparedness efforts.