The center of the storm made landfall at 8:35 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. The storm crept back into Category 3 status briefly on Thursday, but has been diminishing since it began its northward run.
(TNS) — Hurricane Dorian is still churning after making landfall at Cape Hatteras on Friday morning, something it threatened to do as it headed toward Florida earlier in the week, but ended up skirting the East Coast getting closer and closer.
Hurricane-force winds and spawned tornadoes wreaked enough havoc on Thursday with images showing tossed cars and structures from Emerald Isle and Carolina Shores, N.C. as well as severe wind damage along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
Fears of flooding, though, in places like Charleston, S.C. and Wilmington, N.C. did not come to pass, but storm surge is still a threat along the Outer Banks today.
The National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm made landfall at 8:35 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. The storm had crept back into Category 3 status for a short time on Thursday, but has been diminishing since it began its northward run after devastating the Bahamas Sunday-Tuesday.
At 11 a.m., the NHC said Hurricane Dorian was still a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds and headed northeast out to the Atlantic Ocean at 17 mph, about 50 miles away from Cape Hatteras.
More than 370,000 were reported without power this morning across North Carolina and Virginia. More than 70 roads closed because of damage, according to North Carolina Emergency Management.
"It's bad," Ann Warner, who owns Howard's Pub on Ocracoke Island, said by telephone. "The water came up to the inside of our bottom floor, which has never had water." She said a skylight blew out and whitecaps coursed through her front yard and underneath her elevated house.
"We're safe," Warner added. "But it's certainly a mess."
Another Ocracoke Island resident, bookshop owner Leslie Lanier, said via text message that the first floors of some homes had flooded and people had been forced to retreat to their attics, but that the water had already begun to drop.
"We are flooding like crazy," she said, adding: "I have been here 32 years and not seen this."
The Hyde County Sheriff's Office said deputies, medics and other rescuers were heading to the island amid reports of "catastrophic flooding."
"There is significant concern about hundreds of people trapped on Ocracoke Island," Gov. Roy Cooper said. "There are rescue teams ready as soon as they can get in." He said that the water was rising fast and that authorities were telling people to get to the highest point in their homes.
Even in good weather, the island is reachable only by boat or air.
It struck the northwestern Bahamas as a deadly Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph sustained winds and 220 mph gusts leaving at least 30 people dead.
The storm is also blamed for at least four deaths from people on the U.S. mainland in Florida and North Carolina as they prepared for the storm’s potential arrival.
After hitting the Outer Banks, Hurricane Dorian is expected to head out into the Atlantic and threaten Nova Scotia this weekend.
“On the forecast track, the center of Dorian will move near or over the coast of North Carolina during the next few hours. The center should move to the southeast of extreme southeastern New England tonight and Saturday morning, and then across Nova Scotia late Saturday or Saturday night,” reads an NHC statement from the 8 a.m. advisory.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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