Hurricane Dorian has stalled over the Bahamas, lashing the islands with wind, rain and storm surges, and killing at least five people.
Thousands of homes were inundated by floodwater as rescue operations tried to reach stranded residents, many trapped on roofs.
Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, has been hovering over Grand Bahama Island for more than a day.
It has weakened to a Category 3 hurricane but is still battering the Bahamas with winds of 120mph, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
The ferocious storm’s center was about 30 miles north-east of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island and about 100 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The NHC urged residents to remain in shelters as they continued to be pounded by the storm’s “eyewall”.
The storm’s strongest winds are usually close to the eye.
In an earlier update, it said Dorian was “continuing to thrash” Grand Bahama and would cause “extreme destruction” into Tuesday morning.
At least five people have been killed in the Abaco Islands, in the northern Bahamas, the country’s prime minister, Hubert Minnis, said on Monday.
“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of our northern Bahamas,” Minnis said. “Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery.”
Abaco and Grand Bahama, neither much more than 40 feet (12 meters) above sea level at their highest points, are home to 70,000 people.
Bahamian officials said they received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes.
One radio station said it received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a five-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a woman with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. At least two designated storm shelters flooded.