Dorian lashes North Carolina with flooding, hurricane-force winds as eyewall brushes coast
Sept. 6 — While conditions were improving in South Carolina, Dorian continued to unleash high winds and flooding downpours in North Carolina early Friday morning as the powerful hurricane neared landfall.
Cape Lookout, N. C., was located within the western portion of Dorian’s eye around 4 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said. Dorian has not made an official landfall yet, however. Even if the storm does not officially make landfall in Cape Lookout, AccuWeather meteorologists believe a landfall will occur on Cape Hatteras later Friday morning.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, Dorian was located about 25 miles east of Cape Lookout and was moving northeast at around 14 mph with maximum sustained winds near 90 mph with stronger gusts, according to the NHC.
Dorian is forecast to remain powerful as it moves along the North Carolina coast over the next few hours. Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph were detected by an NOAA weather station at Cape Lookout, located inside Dorian’s western eyewall.
Its center will travel southeast of southeastern New England Friday night into Saturday morning and weaken to a post-tropical cyclone Saturday night as it approaches Nova Scotia, Canada.
Hurricane warnings from South Santee River, S.C., to Little River Inlet have been replaced by tropical storm warnings while storm surge warnings for south of Surf City have been discontinued.
Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane after regaining major hurricane status at midweek. Despite losing wind intensity, the hurricane continues to pack a punch in terms of heavy rainfall. Wilmington, North Carolina, picked up 8.58 inches on Thursday alone. The city normally receives 7.88 inches during the entire month of September.
Water levels were rising on beaches in Wilmington as high tide approached on Thursday. AccuWeather Digital Journalist Chaffin Dos Santos was in Wilmington reporting on the storm’s worsening impacts as Dorian approached the city.
While there continues to be a risk of isolated tornadoes in eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, this risk has substantially decreased since Thursday. A frenzy of tornadic activity came during the early morning hours of Thursday in southeastern North Carolina. The twisters resulted in numerous damage reports as the region continued to be pelted by Dorian’s increasing winds, heavy rain and storm surge.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center reports 13 preliminary tornadoes in the area on Thursday, and this number may increase as crews survey additional damage. Video from Carolina Shores, North Carolina, showed homes ripped apart, RVs tossed on their sides and numerous trees uprooted.
Power outages increased as winds picked up speed, with nearly 190,000 customers without power in South Carolina Thursday evening, according to PowerOutage.US. While the number of power outages has since decreased in South Carolina, they are on the rise in North Carolina, with over 148,000 customers without power as of early Friday morning.
The destruction in the Carolinas was just the latest in the notorious storm’s devastating history, which goes back to when the hurricane left historic and catastrophic damage in the northern Bahamas earlier this week, causing at least 30 deaths. Officials in the Bahamas expect the death toll to continue to increase.
Dorian’s lifespan is expected to last into the weekend, as it is forecast to pound areas of the Northeast coast, then accelerate to the north where it will make landfall in Atlantic Canada.
Four deaths have been reported on the United States mainlands, three in Florida and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were male victims who were preparing for the storm, according to the Associated Press. In addition, the death of an 80-year-old man was reported in Puerto Rico after falling from a ladder while climbing the roof of his residence to clean the drains as part of the preparations prior to the passage of Dorian.