Tornado Damage in Emerald Isle, North Carolina

As Dorian Moves Up Coast

AP News
September 05, 2019 - 11:42 am

(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)


ABACO, Bahamas (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

A North Carolina beach town is reporting damage from a tornado that was spun off as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

Emerald Isle, North Carolina, said in a news release on its website that the waterspout touched down around 9 a.m. Thursday. More than a dozen campers were knocked on their side, their metal skin mangled and twisted. Some were flipped upside-down, with their tires now aimed toward the sky. A blue beach chair was left dangling, suspended in the wires that held up a power line. Other power lines were downed across a parking lot, where trash was strewn everywhere.

Other tornados spun off by Dorian's outer bands struck other areas along the coast.

By late morning, heavy rain was falling sideways, trees were bending and traffic lights were swaying as Emerald Isle hunkered down again. The city was ground zero in 1996's Hurricane Fran, which was the last major hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina. Emerald Isle also weathered Hurricane Florence in 2018 and a half-dozen other hurricanes in between.


11 a.m.

Dorian's maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 mph (175 kmh), making it once again a Category 2 hurricane.

That's still strong enough to cause damage along the coast of the Carolinas, where the storm is now close enough for hurricane-force winds to hit land.

Forecasters say Dorian's center at 11 a.m. EDT was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, still moving north off the coast at about 8 mph (13 kmh). Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

The National Hurricane Center says large and destructive waves up to 8 feet high could be seen in Myrtle Beach if peak surge happens during high tide.


10:45 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents that extensive damage is expected at the coast regardless of whether Hurricane Dorian makes landfall.

Cooper said Thursday morning at a news conference that the approaching storm "is serious and can be deadly." He urged people to "get to safety and stay there."

The governor already ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state's fragile barrier islands, although people can't be forced to leave their homes. More than 1,000 people already are in over 50 shelters.

He says the storm spawned an apparent tornado early Thursday in Brunswick County that caused some damage.

Cooper says forecasts show up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain and possibly more falling in coastal areas with sustained winds of 100 mph (161 kph). He anticipates hundreds of thousands of people will lose power with fallen trees.


10:45 a.m.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has lifted evacuation orders along the Georgia coast, which was largely spared by Hurricane Dorian .

Kemp tweeted Thursday morning that residents can return to the state's six coastal counties after the storm passed near the shoreline overnight.

Many of the 530,000 people in coastal Georgia stayed to ride out Dorian. Glynn County spokesman Matthew Kent said all roads and bridges were open to St. Simons Island, home to about 12,000 people roughly 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Savannah.

Kent said a few hundred people on the island were without power and work crews were cleaning up fallen tree limbs. But none of it compared to the wind and flood damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017.


9:45 a.m.

In South Carolina, a North Myrtle Beach city spokesman says officials believe one or more suspected tornadoes from Hurricane Dorian damaged several residences and mobile homes in the city Thursday morning.

Spokesman Patrick Dowling tells The Associated Press no injuries were reported, but several residents were taken to shelters.

City officials in North Myrtle Beach say rain is combining with the rising ocean to exacerbate flooding. At least 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain had fallen by 9 a.m. and strong winds blowing onto the shore were preventing the tide from fully receding.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.


8:35 a.m.

More than 215,000 homes and businesses are without power as Hurricane Dorian lashes the southeastern coast with wind and rain.

More than 200,000 of the outages were being reported Thursday morning in the coastal counties of South Carolina. But lights are also out in southeastern Georgia.

Outages will likely spread up the East Coast as Dorian moves north. Duke Energy projects Dorian will knock out electrical service to about 700,000 customers in the Carolinas.

Forecasters say Dorian is a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph (185 kph).

The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.


8:35 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says crews are ready to respond to any hazardous travel conditions that might develop from Hurricane Dorian.

The department said in a news release that high winds, heavy rain and coastal and tidal flooding are forecast to affect the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula on Thursday and Friday. VDOT says it has staged staff, equipment and materials in those areas.

Crews also performed drainage clearing in low-lying areas to help keep water flowing off the roadway.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency ahead of Dorian's approach, allowing the commonwealth to mobilize extra resources, people and equipment.


8:35 a.m.

The mayor of Tybee Island, Georgia, says Hurricane Dorian inflicted little damage on the small beach community.

Jason Buelterman (BEL-tuhr-man) said Thursday morning the storm spared the island's 3,000 residents from flooding as it passed near the Georgia coast overnight. He says the high tide a 1 a.m. was about 3 feet (1 meter) lower than forecasters had anticipated.

The lone highway linking the island to Savannah on the mainland remained open throughout the night.

Many Tybee Island residents sandbagged their low-lying and evacuated inland ahead of Dorian after suffering damage from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma the following year. Hundreds of homes on the island flooded during Irma.


8:05 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is swirling off the South Carolina coast, kicking up surf and sending howling winds through Charleston.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Thursday morning are near 115 mph (185 kph), making it a Category 3 hurricane.

Dorian is centered about 70 miles (115 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston and is moving north-northeast near 8 mph (13 kph). But after Friday, the storm's forecast track shows it picking up speed and quickly moving past New England over the weekend.

Earlier this week, Dorian left wide devastation and at least 20 dead in striking the northern Bahamas.


6 a.m.

Constant, howling winds from Dorian are blowing through downtown Charleston, South Carolina as the Category 3 hurricane blows off the coast of the Carolinas. Hurricane-force winds are remaining just offshore but tropical storm-force winds are whipping around and rattling the windows of a 14-floor hotel on the Ashley River.

The surf is kicked up and cascading into the US highway 17 bridge connecting the port city's historic downtown to a neighborhood west of the river.

The National Hurricane Center says the Category 3 storm is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston, with top sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) and tropical-storm force winds extending up to 195 miles (315 kilometers) outward.


5:00 a.m.

Hurricane conditions are likely over portions of the Carolinas Thursday as Dorian gets closer to the South Carolina coast.

The National Hurricane Center says the Category 3 storm, is about 80 miles (128 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 8 mph (13 kph) off the coast. It's expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and deadly winds.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina until 10:15 a.m. EDT.


4:30 a.m.

Duke Energy says it has resources from 23 states and Canada ready to respond to the hundreds of thousands of power outages expected from the dangerous and deadly Hurricane Dorian as it heads toward the Carolinas.

In a news release on its website, the North Carolina-based utility said Wednesday it expects the storm to cause 700,000 outages and has bought in line workers, tree crews, damage assessors and other crews. The workers are being funneled into temporary cities throughout North and South Carolina and will be ready to restore power outages "as soon as it's safe to do so."

The release says the Florence Civic Center, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was transformed overnight to house about 1,500 of these crews.

Customer Delivery Ops Manager Jonathan Evans says, "We want them to be as close to the impacted areas as we can but still be out of harm's way."

Dorian, again a Category 3 storm, is about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph) off the coast. It's expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and deadly winds.


3:45 a.m.

The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center advises that all bridges are a Code Yellow due to 35 mph winds as Hurricane Dorian approaches. The Charleston Police Department tweeted the center's advisory early Thursday warning that high profile vehicles will be advised not to high span, 65 feet or higher, or exposed bridges and that the public should use extreme caution if they decide to travel over bridges.

High profile vehicles include box-type trucks, tractor trailers, motor homes and those pulling travel trailers, box-type trailers, large sail boats or other water craft.

Dorian, again a Category 3 storm, is about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph) off the coast. It's expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and deadly winds.


3:00 a.m.

Hundreds of shelter animals from coastal South Carolina have arrived in Delaware ahead of Hurricane Dorian's expected landfall.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports the animals were moved from shelters at risk of flooding. The Category 3 storm began making its way across the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to flood low-lying areas and bring enough rain to cause flash flooding concerns well inland.

Nearly 200 animals were airlifted off the endangered coast and picked up by Brandywine Valley SPCA early Tuesday. About 150 other animals were expected to arrive that night via land transport from Best Friends Animal Society. The animals may be up for adoption throughout New England later this week.

Brandywine says the lessened South Carolina shelter populations will make space for local pets impacted by Dorian.