The Category 2 hurricane’s 105 mph sustained winds and 10 to 15 inches of predicted rain promise to cause widespread flooding and power outages across large parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.
(TNS) — A mandatory mass exodus is underway Wednesday from the Carolinas’ coastal areas, as forecasters warn Hurricane Dorian’s eye will be “dangerously close,” if not on top of, the coast within a day.
“Our forecast right now keeps it really close to the coast, when a little wobble could take it right on shore with some of those winds,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said early Wednesday.
Either way, the Category 2 hurricane’s 105 mph sustained winds and 10 to 15 inches of predicted rain promise to cause widespread flooding and power outages across large parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.
The chances of Dorian spinning out to sea and sparing the Carolinas have all but vanished, experts say.
“There is basically no change to the track forecast reasoning,” the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.
“This should take the core of the hurricane very near, or possibly over, the coasts of South and North Carolina on Thursday and Friday. ... Therefore, even if Dorian does not make landfall, hurricane-force winds are expected to reach portions of the coast from central Florida to North Carolina.”
Dorian remained a Category 2 hurricane at 11 a.m. Wednesday and was expected to stay near that strength “until it passes near or over the North Carolina Outer Banks,” forecasters said Wednesday.
Coastal counties should begin feeling the uptick in winds around 8 p.m. Wednesday, forecasters say. Storm surge and hurricane warnings are already in effect for a large portion of North Carolina’s coast.
The South Carolina Climate Office posted Wednesday that “coastal sustained winds are forecast to be 40-70 mph with 80-90 mph gusts (and) 30-40 mph tropical storm force winds and 45 mph gusts are fair game to the I-20 corridor.”
Hurricane winds (more than 74 mph) currently extend 60 miles out from Dorian’s center and tropical-storm-force winds (39 to 73 mph) are being felt up to175 miles away, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update.
Rain forecasts call for 15 inches in or around Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, as well as the Outer Banks areas in Carteret, Pamlico and Hyde counties. Ten inches are expected in surrounding counties, while 4 inches could fall as far east as Raleigh.
“Life-threatening” flash floods, surf and rip currents will accompany the storm, the hurricane center said Wednesday.
A tornado threat is forecast today and Thursday in parts of Onslow, Carteret, Pamlico and Hyde counties nearest the coast, including Camp Lejeune Marine base, the National Weather Service said.
Dorian is currently about 95 miles off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida, moving north at 9 mph.
“Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds are expected along portions of the Florida east coast and the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, regardless of the exact track of Dorian’s center,” the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday morning.
“There is a high risk of flash flooding on Thursday across coastal sections from northeast South Carolina into southern North Carolina.”
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