SHOCKING footage shows families being saved from raging torrents after Hurricane Dorian killed at least five in the Bahamas.
The 225mph mega storm has been wreaking havoc in the island nation where it has been hovering since making landfall on Sunday.
The monster brought devastating flooding to the Bahamian islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Walls of water lapped into the second floors of buildings, trapped people in attics and turned streets into white water rapids.
And one shocking clip shows an entire family of four being swept along, as bystanders shout: “Swim! Swim!”
Eventually they manage to grab on to a tree branch and haul themselves to safety.
But not everyone in the Bahamas was so lucky, with at least five people recorded killed – including a seven-year-old boy.
Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said: "From all accounts, we have received catastrophic damage to Abaco (Island).
"We have reports of casualties. We have reports of bodies being seen."
PM Hubert Minnis said: “We are in the midst of a historic tragedy.
“The devastation is unprecedented and extensive.”
The category 5 hurricane was downgraded to a category 3 overnight, as it headed towards Florida.
But this weakening means the storm is actually set to grow, as winds expand outwards from the centre.
And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned Americans: “Life-threatening storm surges and dangerous hurricane-force winds are expected along portions of the Florida east coast and the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, regardless of the exact track of Dorian’s centre.
“Water levels could begin to rise well in advance of the arrival of strong winds.”
Walt Disney World Resort parks will close early today as Dorian hurtles towards Orlando.
SeaWorld and Aquatica in Orlando will also be closed throughout today for the "safety of guests, staff and animals."
More than 13,000 houses are now feared damaged or destroyed in the Bahamas, according to the International Red Cross.
Shocking pictures and videos showed surging flood waters swallowing up trees and street lights crashing against first-storey windows.
Officials in the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas urged residents to grab hammers in case floodwaters trap them in their attics and they have to smash their way out.
Officals said they also 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 5-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.
Dorian killed one person in Puerto Rico, at the start of its path through the Caribbean.
On Sunday into Monday there were gusts of up to 225mph and more than 30 inches of rain fell in the Bahamas.
The National Hurricane Centre warned of "storm surges 18 to 23 feet above normal tide levels with higher destructive waves."
"These hazards will cause extreme destruction in the affected areas and will continue for several hours," the agency said.
Dorian is now the second strongest Atlantic storm in history as the giant killer edges towards Florida.
The category 5 monster made landfall in the Bahamas with devastating force on Sunday.
Ingrid Mcintosh told Eyewitness News that her grandson Lachino Mcintosh had drowned in the Abaco Islands, in the northern Bahamas.
His sister is also understood to be missing.
"My granddaughter called my daughter from Abaco and she said my daughter said her son, my grandson, dead," she said.
Asked by the reporter if she knew how he had died, she replied: "They said he drowned."
More deaths are feared from the mega-storm – which is now officially the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, bar one.
On Sunday, Dorian's maximum sustained winds reached 185 mph, with gusts up to 225mph – tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall.
That equalled the Labour Day hurricane of 1935, before storms were even named.
The only recorded storm that was more powerful was Hurricane Allen in 1980 – which had sustained 190mph winds but didn't make landfall at that strength.
Dog lover Chella Phillips moved dozens of dogs into her Nassau home as the latest storm approached the Bahamas.
She posted snaps of them on Facebook writing: "It has been insane since last night, poop and p*** non-stop but at least they are respecting my bed and nobody has dared to jump in.
"We have barricaded the refuge and nobody is outside, the music is playing in all directions of the house and the AC is blowing for them.
"Each island (in the Bahamas) has an abundance of homeless dogs, my heart is so broken for the ones without a place to hide (from) a CAT 5 monster and only God can protect them now."
HURTLING TOWARDS FLORIDA
Orlando International Airport will close at 2am on Tuesday due to the looking storm.
Officials said they will continue to monitor Dorian and other activity in the tropics and provide additional updates as needed.
The airport provided a statement on its Twitter page saying: “Because of the uncertainty of the storm’s track and the need to complete storm preparations by airport and air carries, airport executive leadership has determined ceasing commercial operations is necessary.”
But the people of the Caribbean nation received no respite today as the storm continued to pummel the islands after slowing to almost a complete stop.
Deadly Dorian hovered over the country, shredding roofs, hurling cars and forcing rescue crews to halt their searches to seek cover.
The system crawled along Grand Bahama Island at just 1mph, as it creeps towards the US mainland.
Kwasi Thompson, minister of state for Grand Bahama, warned locals: “We need you to bunker down.
“It's going to be another 10-12 hours that we're going to be bombarded with this.”
In all, the storm has stalled over the islands for a massive 40 hours, bringing untold destruction.
Officials revealed they were getting desperate calls for help but rescuers can’t go out themselves in the violent weather.
Thompson said: “They are ready to get into those areas as soon as the weather subsides.”
The storm is now heading straight for Florida, sparking fears for thousands of holidaymakers.
Dorian is due to strike Orlando on Wednesday morning and skirt up the Florida coast, according to current predictions.
Most theme parks there including Disney were this weekend still operating normally, but are monitoring the storm's path.
Around 1.5million people have been evacuated from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida as the monster storm approaches.
Residents were pictured stocking up on emergency supplies like food, water and batteries, while others boarded up homes and businesses to protect them as best they could.
More than 1,000 flights within, into, or out of the US have also been cancelled today, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.
As Dorian bears down, pilots from the US Air Force have taken incredible photos of the eerily calm conditions inside the eye of the hurricane.
One image shows a phenomenon known as the “stadium effect” in the centre of the storm, which makes the clouds around the eye rise up on all sides until it looks like a giant sports arena.
Winds in the wall of clouds closest to the middle are the strongest – at a massive 225mph in the case of category 5 Dorian.
But in the centre the sky above is clear and the air is eerily still, creating the illusion that the storm has passed.
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