At $40 billion, it would rank just behind Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that devastated much of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, according to data compiled by Statista for Newsweek. Critically injured people were being taken to hospitals on New Providence, the country's most populous island.
As of 5 a.m. (0900 GMT), Dorian was stalled over the Grand Bahama Island barely drifting westward at 1 miles per hour, according to the NHC.
CHANG: OK. So people are waiting for this massive storm to possibly veer away from the coast.
The storm's punishing winds and muddy brown floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes, crippled hospitals and trapped people in attics.
It is moving with maximum sustained winds near 165mph (270km/h).
Minnis confirmed later Monday that the US Coast Guard was assisting in making rescues.
Walt Disney World Resort DIS.N in Orlando will close early on Tuesday, it said in a statement.
The exact toll of the devastation in the Bahamas will not be clear until the storm passes and rescue crews can get on the ground.
Surge in the Bahamas is expected to be much worse - 18 to 23 feet, according to the hurricane center.
The site Windy.com is live tracking the route the hurricane is following as it approaches the coast of Florida.
On Monday evening Virginia joined Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina in declaring a state of emergency ahead of Dorian. Lake Okeechobee was under a tropical storm watch.
As Hurricane Dorian almost stalled over the Bahamas Monday, Florida officials nervously eyed a projected turn north that could still drench the densely populated east coast with storm surge and rainfall and knock out power depending on how closely it skirts the shore.
Areas along Florida's coast could see 2 to 4 inches with isolated areas getting 6 inches.
It's since stalled in the Atlantic Ocean, hovering over The Bahamas at a mere 1 miles per hour while edging closer towards Florida's east coast, with no sign of turning in sight.
Hurricane Amazon deliveries delayed by Hurricane Dorian WFTS Digital Staff 2:31 PM, Sep 02, 2019
Videos on social media showed houses leveled by the winds. The video also captures a tree whipping violently in the wind as water outside sloshes against the same window.
On top of flooding from rain, "catastrophic storm surge flooding" was likely, forecasters said.
"We may not get hit as hard as other islands and the saddest part is that after the hurricane leave the Bahamas, some islands will take a long time to recover", she wrote on Facebook.
"The story of Dorian will be written in two parts", The Weather Co.'s Crawford said.
Hurricane conditions could reach Florida by late tonight or Tuesday, forecasters said.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.
Even a glancing blow from one of the strongest storms ever to menace Florida could bring torrential rains and damaging winds, the NHC said.
CHANG: That said, authorities, they have ordered mandatory evacuations all along Florida's Atlantic coast.
A boarded up house is seen in Deerfield Beach, Florida. President Trump also approved emergency declarations for Georgia and SC, according to a White House statement released on Monday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ordered evacuations in six coastal counties, including all of Savannah 150,000 residents, also effective at noon on Monday, Kemp's office said on Twitter. Mayor Mike Davey urged residents to "remain alert". You know you're glad.
RON DESANTIS: We are in a situation where the storm is stalling very close to our coast. It is going to make a movement.
When meteorologists have a general idea where the monstrous storm is going, but have to choose a point on the map instead of a general place, it can make it seem more specific than it really is. "Power lines are down".
A hurricane watch is in effect for Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to the Jupiter Inlet, and from Florida's North Vedra Beach to the South Santee River in SC. It equalled the Labour Day hurricane of 1935, before the storms were named.
About 1,000 flights have been canceled.