Thursday, 05 September 2019 23:33

2 N.C. deaths blamed on Hurricane Dorian; could make landfall along coast overnight into Friday

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2 N.C. deaths blamed on Hurricane Dorian; could make landfall along coast overnight into Friday National Weather Service

More than 30 deaths, including two in North Carolina, have been blamed on Hurricane Dorian as it continues northward just off the coast.

WITN reports that a man in Pamlico County suffered a heart attack when pulling his boat out of the water. An 85-year-old man also died after falling off a ladder in Columbus County while prepping his home for the storm.

The Associated Press reports that at least 30 have died in the Bahamas after Dorian struck the islands as a Category 5 storm with 185 mph winds.

Much of Eastern North Carolina was under a tornado watch or warning on Thursday, with at least two twisters touching down and several others reported.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said that eight tornadoes had been reported from Wayne to New Hanover County but there had been no injuries or fatalities.

Cooper issued a statement urging North Carolinans to stay home and off the roads until the storm passes.

“If your area is feeling the impacts of Dorian, please stay home and safe. Don’t drive through standing or moving water,” Cooper said. “We are feeling the storm’s force, but it has only started. We have a long night ahead of us.”

At least 50 counties declared states of emergency and more than a dozen counties or towns instituted mandatory curfews for Thursday night, according to Cooper’s office. By the afternoon, there were 68 emergency shelters housing more than 2,200 evacuees.

Strong winds from the storm have led to downed trees and power lines. Duke Energy reported at 11 p.m. that it had 53,299 customers without power across the Carolinas. WMBF reports that the entire city of Georgetown, South Carolina, was without power due to the failure of a transmission line.

The 11 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Dorian was 35 miles southeast of Wilmington, heading northeast at 13 mph with sustained winds at 100 mph.

Meteorologists with WCTI speculate that Dorian could gain strength again overnight and upgrade to a Category 3.

The also predict the hurricane could make landfall along the Crystal Coast, which was hit with tornadoes and waterspouts Thursday morning.

Aside from the nearly 12 inches of rain and 100 mph winds, those in the coastal areas also have to worry about storm surge from the sounds and rivers. Parts of New Bern, Belhaven and other areas began to flood early on Thursday.

A hurricane warning is in effect from the Santee River in South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border. Tropical storm watches and warnings have been extended up the east coast to Nova Scotia, Canada.

While neighboring Scotland and Marlboro counties remain under a tropical storm warning, Richmond is not. However, there is a chance for localized flooding east of U.S. 1.

According to the National Weather Service, overnight showers could be heavy at times, continuing through Friday, before clearing in the evening. Wind gusts are expected up to 37 mph.