The eye of Hurricane Irma arrived early Friday in the southern Bahamas with maximum winds of up to 260 kph (162 mph), which keeps it a Category 5 despite it losing some strength in the previous few hours, the National Hurricane Center said.
At 2 am, the eye of the hurricane was 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Great Inagua island - which has 1,000 inhabitants - and moving north-northwest at a speed of 26 kph.
Although Irma is still a Category 5 hurricane, the current winds of 260 kph are lower than those of 295 kph the storm had maintained in the last few days, indicating that it has lost some force.
The eye of Irma will continue moving towards the southeast of the Bahamas during Friday morning and then will continue towards the northern coast of Cuba and the rest of the Bahamas during the day and part of Saturday, according to the NHC.
After its passage through Cuba and the Bahamas, the storm is expected to continue moving north towards Florida at the end of the weekend.
The hurricane is currently 840 kilometers east-southeast of Miami, in the United States, where it is expected to hit on Sunday.
So far, Irma has left at least a dozen people dead during its passage through the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.