Hurricane updates: ‘Dorian is ready to unleash its fury’ on North Carolina

Weather

(ABC News) — Hurricane Dorian is pummeling the South Carolina coastline Thursday before the powerful storm moves “to unleash its fury” on North Carolina.

The latest

A flash flood warning has been issued for Charleston, where over 6 inches of rain has fallen.

Downtown Charleston’s narrow, low-lying streets — which are prone to flooding — are underwater, and a portion of the historic waterfront city’s expressway has been shut down since Wednesday due to flooding.

PHOTO: Bill Olesner walks down South Battery Street while cleaning debris from storm drains on Sept. 5, 2019 in Charleston, S.C. as Hurricane Dorian brings wind and rain to the area.
Bill Olesner walks down South Battery Street while cleaning debris from storm drains on Sept. 5, 2019 in Charleston, S.C. as Hurricane Dorian brings wind and rain to the area.

Residents who didn’t heed earlier evacuation orders are now urged to shelter in place as the powerful winds — with gusts reaching 78 mph in Charleston Harbor — down trees and power lines.

“Please do not leave your home unless your life is in danger there,” the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Thursday morning.

One storm-related death struck the Carolinas before Dorian did. An 85-year-old man fell off a ladder while preparing his Columbus County, North Carolina, home for the storm, Gov. Roy Cooper said.

More than 205,000 homes and businesses are without power across South Carolina Thursday and 14 tornadoes have been reported in the Carolinas.

One apparent tornado sounded “like a large airplane or a large train coming through,” a Little River, South Carolina, man told ABC Florence affiliate WPDE.

PHOTO: Mobile homes are upended and debris is strewn about at the Holiday Trav-l Park, Sept. 5, 2019, in Emerald Isle, N.C, after a possible tornado generated by Hurricane Dorian struck the area.
Mobile homes are upended and debris is strewn about at the Holiday Trav-l Park, Sept. 5, 2019, in Emerald Isle, N.C, after a possible tornado generated by Hurricane Dorian struck the area.
PHOTO: Emerald Isle town employees work to clear the road after a tornado hit Emerald Isle N.C. as Hurricane Dorian moved up the east coast, Sept. 5, 2019.
Emerald Isle town employees work to clear the road after a tornado hit Emerald Isle N.C. as Hurricane Dorian moved up the east coast, Sept. 5, 2019.

Downtown Savannah, Georgia, and the nearby beach town of Tybee Island were mostly spared when Dorian blew through overnight.

The beach by the Tybee pier looks just as it did 24 hours ago, minus the ominous storm cloud over the ocean.

The forecast

Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2, has prompted hurricane warnings for the entire South Carolina and North Carolina coastline as the storm churns north.

South Carolina is in the thick of Dorian before the hurricane’s powerful winds take aim on North Carolina. A wind gust reached 92 mph off South Carolina’s Fripp Island.

PHOTO: An animation released by NOAA shows Hurricane Dorian over the southeastern U.S. in the early morning hours of Sept. 5, 2019.

Dorian may make landfall near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, on Friday with winds gusting up to 90 mph.

“Hurricane Dorian is ready to unleash its fury on our state,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned Thursday. “Get to safety and stay there. Don’t let your guard down.”

“This won’t be a brush-by,” Cooper added. “Whether it comes ashore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause extensive damage.”

PHOTO: Map shows the latest forecasted track for Hurricane Dorian along the east coast.
Map shows the latest forecasted track for Hurricane Dorian along the east coast.

The coastal Carolinas could see up to 15 inches of rainfall. The combination of relentless rain and a dangerous storm surge as high as 8 feet could cause life-threatening flash floods.

Even those inland should pay close attention to flood watches and be ready to evacuate if asked to by local officials, Cooper said, noting that cars can be washed off roadways in just a few inches of rain.

By Friday evening the storm will be in the Atlantic, leaving behind gusty winds for the Virginia coast and Cape Cod.

Tragedy in the Bahamas

Before reaching the United States, Dorian slammed into the Bahamas on Sunday afternoon as a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record. The storm hovered over the archipelago’s northern islands for nearly two days, leveling dozens of buildings, flooding roads and submerging an airport.

The official death toll from the storm is now at 20 but that number is expected to rise in the coming days as authorities assess the destruction on the ground, according to Bahamian authorities.

PHOTO: Debris and destruction are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on the island Great Abaco in the Bahamas, Sept. 3, 2019.
Debris and destruction are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on the island Great Abaco in the Bahamas, Sept. 3, 2019.
PHOTO: An aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen on Great Abaco Island on Sept. 4, 2019, in Great Abaco, Bahamas.
An aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen on Great Abaco Island on Sept. 4, 2019, in Great Abaco, Bahamas.

The Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Wednesday that Dorian has left “generational devastation” across the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, which are both in the archipelago’s northern region, east of southern Florida.

Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is now the only hospital capable of treating the most seriously injured from across the 700-plus islands and cays, according to Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway, medical chief-of-staff at the hospital.

Burnett-Garraway said the hospital has received at least 38 patients, including children, who were medically evacuated from hard-hit islands. Many were subjected to floodwaters and intense winds for days. Their injuries range from severe dehydration to lacerations and broken bones to acute kidney injuries. One patient had to have his upper arm amputated, she said.

PHOTO: A family is escorted to a safe zone after they were rescued as Hurricane Dorian continues to rain in Freeport, Bahamas, Sept. 3, 2019.
A family is escorted to a safe zone after they were rescued as Hurricane Dorian continues to rain in Freeport, Bahamas, Sept. 3, 2019.

“A whole family was in a car and a roof blew off and fell into their car. A 7-year-old is badly hurt. The family was taking shelter from the storm,” Burnett-Garraway told ABC News.

Storm conditions have made it difficult to evacuate patients. Three men died immediately after arriving at Princess Margaret Hospital, according to Burnett-Garraway.

Prime Minister Minnis said, “Our response will be day and night. Day after day, week after week, month after month, until the lives of our people return to some degree of normalcy.”

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