9.50pm: Power is now off in west, central and south Nassau.
9.15pm: THE Bahamas Department of Meteorology has released the following statement on Hurricane Sandy:
The centre of Sandy is between Cat Island and Eleuthera.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Northwest and Central Bahamas. This includes Grand Bahama, Bimini, Abaco, The Berry Islands, Andros, Eleuthera, New Providence, Exuma, Cat Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Long Island.
Hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
Tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Southeast Bahamas, which includes Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, Mayaguana and Ragged Island.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within 36 hours.
At 8p.m. the centre of Hurricane Sandy was located near latitude 24.5 degrees north and longitude 75.6 degrees west. This puts the centre 35 miles southeast of Eleuthera and 105 miles east of Nassau.
Hurricane sandy is now moving toward the north-northwest near 17 miles per hour. A turn toward the northwest and a decrease in forward speed are expected tonight and Friday, followed by a turn back toward the north and north-northeast Friday night and Saturday. On the forecast track the center of Sandy will continue moving through the Central Bahamas and into the northwestern Bahamas tonight and move near the northwestern Bahamas on Friday.
Reports from a NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 100 mph with higher gusts. Sandy is a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. However, Sandy is expected to remain a hurricane for the next couple of days.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles from the center.
Hurricane conditions are now being experienced in Cat Island and Eleuthera. Tropical storm conditions are being experienced in Andros, New Providence, Ragged Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay and Southern Abaco.