Hurricane Dorian Touches Down in the Outer Banks, Unleashes ‘Siege’ of Flooding and Seven-foot Storm Surge
UPDATE Sept. 6 2:01 p.m.: Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Outer Banks at around 8:35 a.m. Friday, bringing with it 90 mph-winds, heavy rain, and flooding along the North Carolina coast. The category 1 storm knocked out power in 215,000 homes and businesses, and drove a seven-foot surge into the Outer Banks. State officials said at a press conference that there could still be hundreds of people trapped facing dangerous flooding on the islands.
Because of the location of the Outer Banks, those who had not evacuated were unable to escape once the storm began. Many residents on low-lying Ocrakoke Island fled to their attics to wait out the storm, where flooding is at “history levels,” the Dare County emergency management office said. No injuries or deaths were immediately reported.
Friday is the last day Dorian should cause any major damage to the U.S. as the storm is now moving out to sea. As of 1 p.m. the storm had moved 95 miles northeast of Cape Hatteras. Later Friday, the storm will deliver rain and tropical-storm-force winds to the mid-Atlantic and the very southeast of New England. By Saturday it will have moved on to Nova Scotia, the National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane Dorian continued its path of destruction on Thursday as it made its way up the coast of North and South Carolina. The storm, which is now a category 3 hurricane, unleashed what The Weather Channel called a “siege” of storm and rainfall flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes.
At least one confirmed tornado touched down near Carolina Shores, North Carolina. The Weather Channel reported another potential touchdown in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, one on the west side of Little River, South Carolina, as well one tornado that was caught on video just northeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.
According to The Washington Post, the storm will likely continue to thrash the entire coastlines of North Carolina and South Carolina Thursday into the first half of Friday. However, it remains unclear if the eye of the storm will actually make landfall in either state. If it makes landfall anywhere, The Washington Post reported, it will likely make landfall on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
“The greatest potential for significant flash flooding will be found across coastal SC and southeastern NC where the combination of intense rain rates and duration overlap,” the National Weather Service warned.
An estimated 360,000 South Carolina residents have evacuated from their homes, The New York Times reported. An estimated 200,000 people in South Carolina are also without power, as well as another 12,800 in Georgia.
The Weather Channel added, Dorian will likely track near or over eastern North Carolina for the rest of the day Thursday. By Friday, the storm’s center is expected to move back into the Atlantic Ocean. However, by Saturday, a weakened tropical storm Dorian could track close enough to shore once again to bring a period of rain and strong winds to southeastern New England, The Weather Channel noted. It will then likely move quickly up the coast toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland before dissipating completely.
Prior to lashing the American coastline, the storm caused catastrophic damage to Great Abaco Island, where it hit as a category 5 storm with sustained winds of 185 mph, making it the strongest storm to hit the area since 1935. There are now several charities taking donations for those affected by the storm.
Those within the storm’s path are encouraged to remain vigilant, stay tuned to all local forecasts, and heed any evacuation warnings. If you have travel plans in the storm’s path it is also a good idea to check in with your airline or accommodations to see what backup plans may be available to you.