Panic buying and preparations as 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Dorian storms across Caribbean

Hurricane Dorian is strengthening as it heads across the Caribbean and towards the United States.

The category two storm, which has been called "extremely dangerous" by the US National Hurricane Centre, is expected to develop into a more powerful category three system as it makes landfall in Florida early next week.

A hurricane watch was in effect for northwestern Bahamas, where long lines formed at gas stations and grocery stores on Friday.

In Grand Bahama Island, supplies like canned food and bottled water were quickly disappearing.

People bought protective home supplies as shop shelves emptied. Credit: AP
People stocked up on essentials as the storm approached. Credit: AP

"The food store is very packed," said 47-year-old Gina Davis as she pushed her grocery cart through the aisle.

"I'm very concerned because it's going to be a Category 4 storm.

"We pray to God that it don't do us bad."

Government officials said Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was scheduled to address Bahamians at noon and urge people to take necessary precautions.

Stephen Russell, director of the island's National Emergency Management Agency, said major storms have hit the Bahamas for three consecutive years: Hurricane Joaquin in 2015, Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017, causing an estimated $80 million in damage.

"We are a resilient nation," he said in a statement.

Hurricane barreling to towards US coast - and Trump's holiday home

President Trump's Mar-a-lago home in Florida is in the crosshairs of Hurricane Dorian. Credit: AP

The storm is expected to approach the northwest Bahamas on Saturday and then move over towards Florida, threatening the Mar-a-lago home of President Trump.

The resort, which is currently closed for the summer, is on the wealthy barrier island of Palm Beach.

During the cooler months, Mr Trump visits the property frequently and has held several high-level meetings there with world leaders.

The resort dates from the 1920s and has seen more than its share of hurricanes in the past.

Satellite imagery shows the storm brewing from space. Credit: AP

It was originally built by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, with the main mansion containing 126 rooms.

Mr Trump bought the place in 1985, after efforts to make it into a national park did not work out.

Since he became president, Mr Trump has hosted leaders such as Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and China’s Xi Jinping at the resort.

Mr Trump has cancelled his weekend trip to Poland and warned Florida residents to be prepared.

"All indications are it’s going to hit very hard and it’s going to be very big," he said in a video he tweeted on Thursday evening, comparing Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992.

With the storm’s track still unclear, no immediate mass evacuations have been ordered.