Bahamas preparing for Category 4 hurricane northwestern Bahamas, according to a signal issued by the Bahamas Department of Meteorology on Friday.
The Bahamas consists of over 700 mainly low-lying islands – some only a few meters above sea level. Dorian is expected to be near or above the island chain on Sunday.
The forecast expects Dorian to cause "large and devastating waves" of up to 15 feet along the "east and north shores of Eleuthera and Abaco" on Sunday, and the north and south shores of Grand Bahama from Sunday evening until Monday morning.
On Friday, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minis ordered emergency evacuations of residents from the northern keys of Abaco to mainland Abaco. Additional evacuation orders were issued for areas of Big Baham Island.
Both Big Baham and Abaco are centers of the Bahamas tourism industry, which plays a vital role in the economy of the island chain.
Tourists were scrambling to leave the islands on Friday before the international airport was closed that evening, Reuters reported.
Tourism Director-General Joy Jibril told Reuters that the country was "still winding" by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which irrigates the Category 4 strong wind.