Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas Sunday night, unleashing ferocious winds and rain, destroying buildings and killing a 7-year-old boy.
As it barreled towards the islands on Sunday, a NOAA aircraft flew inside the eye of the storm. Video revealed a huge bank of white clouds inside the Category 5 hurricane.
The maximum sustained winds around the eye reached 185 mph, the Hurricane Center said.
Now, the question remains where Dorian will hit the U.S., if it will hit at all. Hurricane and storm surge warnings remain in effect for stretches of Florida's coast, and the effects of the storm are expected to be felt in Georgia and the Carolinas this week.
"Although it remains uncertain just how close the eye of Dorian will get to the Florida east coast, the threat of damaging winds and life-threatening storm surge remains high," said the National Weather Service office in Melbourne, Florida. "There will be considerable impacts and damage to coastal areas, with at least some effects felt inland as well!"
It warned residents along the coast to prepare for "life-threatening" wind, surge and rainfall that may leave roads impassable, trees uprooted and homes destroyed.
"Once they begin, hazards will persist through mid-week," the Weather Service said.
Three islands in the Bahamas suffered direct hits on Sunday: Elbow Cay, Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Island.
A 7-year-old boy was reported dead. Lachino Mcintosh drowned as his family tried to relocate, and his sister is missing, the Bahamas Press reported.
"We are facing a hurricane that we have never seen in The Bahamas," Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis wrote on Twitter Sunday. "Please pray for us."
Videos shared online showed winds pummeling the islands.
On Monday morning, the hurricane remained over Grand Bahama Island.
"These hazards will continue over Grand Bahama Island during most of the day, causing extreme destruction on the island," the Hurricane Center said.
It added: "It is anticipated that the system will remain a dangerous major hurricane for the next several days."