The east coast of America has been warned to batten down its hatches after a major hurricane hit the Bahamas leaving devastation in its wake.

How strong is Dorian?

Category 5 is the highest rating for a hurricane, classified by gusts of 157mph or higher. These strong weather events can cause huge damage including uprooting trees, devastating buildings and causing loss of life.

In 2018, Category 5 Hurricane Michael killed around 74 people and caused an estimated $25.1 billion in damages.

People in the Bahamas were warned to evacuate by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis who said if they didn't they risked "placing themselves in extreme danger".

Meteorologists have warned that heavy rainfall, high winds and waves could cause grand-scale destruction.

READ MORE: Hurricane Dorian strikes Bahamas with record winds as evacuations ordered in US

Where is the hurricane headed?

The origins of Dorian have been traced back to a tropical wave over the Atlantic. It brought its up to 220 mph winds to the Bahamas early on Monday morning. The slow moving storm was expected to continue to hit the archipelago before moving up towards the Florida coast.

The National Hurricane Center have warned that "life-threatening storm surges and dangerous winds" are expected to hit the east coast and even a "slight" deviation could bring the eye of the storm over sprawling urban areas.

There are also warnings that storm surges could hit the coasts of Georgie, South and North Carolina later this week.

Some Floridian counties have issued mandatory evacuation orders in an effort to minimise any casualties.

It is estimated that more than 8 million people could lose power across Florida, althought Orlando International Airport will remain open after previously saying it would halt flights.

How much damage has Dorian caused the Bahamas?

News outlets in the Bahamas have reported that an eight-year-old boy was the first casualty of the storm.

The child went missing with his mother in the Abaco Islands, his mother is reported to still be missing.

Dramatic videos shared on social media show homes being torn down, roofs swept away by the winds, flooded streets and floating trees.

The Red Cross warned that as many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed. Hurricane Dorian could cause insurance industry losses of up to $25bn (£20.7bn) according to analysts.

READ MORE: Issue of the day: Trump's hurricane bomb idea

How has Trump responded to the emergency?

President Trump denied accusations that he suggested 'nuking' hurricanes to stop them in their tracks.

Not known for his clarity, weather experts scrambled to correct the president's mistake of tweeting that Dorian would hit Alabama - an assertion that he repeated later the same day at a press conference.

He also claimed that he wasn't sure if he had “ever even heard of a Category 5.”

But critics were fast to point out that Trump had wheeled out this line on at least four other occasions including as recently as May.