Hurricane Dorian Hits the Carolinas with 'Serious' Force as Bahamas Death Toll Rises to 23
The storm's center hovered off the eastern coast of South Carolina on Thursday morning
Hurricane Dorian has already wreaked havoc on the Bahamas, and the storm is now slowly but surely making its way up the East Coast, threatening states like North and South Carolina with a foot of rain and winds of more than 100 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Thursday morning that the Category 2 hurricane’s eyewall was just offshore the eastern coast of South Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. Though those numbers are expected to fluctuate, it’s expected to remain a hurricane over the next few days.
Dorian was moving north to northeast at around 8 mph, but will speed up into Friday, with the center of the storm moving toward the coast of South Carolina on Thursday, and up into North Carolina on Thursday night and into Friday.
“It is serious, and it can be deadly,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Thursday morning, NPR reported. “The message this morning is this: Get to safety and stay there. Don’t let your guard down. This won’t be a brush-by. Whether it comes ashore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause extensive damage in North Carolina.”
By Friday night, the center is expected to move to the southeast of southeastern New England, and will approach Nova Scotia in Canada on Saturday, according to the Hurricane Center.
Hurricane warnings are now in effect from the Savannah River to the North Carolina-Virginia border, as well as for the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
The advisory also warns that water levels in South Carolina will rise well before strong winds hit, and that large and destructive waves should be expected, too.
The Coastal Carolinas are expected to receive between 6 and 12 inches of rainfall through Friday, while far Southeast Virginia should get between 3 and 8 inches. Extreme Southeastern New England should brace for 2-4 inches.
There’s also a possibility that tornadoes will emerge in the coastal South and North Carolina border area on Thursday afternoon, according to the advisory. CNN reported on Thursday that a tornado destroyed homes and buildings on Emerald Isle, North Carolina, and several other tornadoes have been reported in the state.
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Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas over the weekend, causing “generational devastation” and killing at least 20 people, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a press conference Wednesday that was live-streamed by the Washington Post.
“We expect that this number will increase,” he said of the deaths, which all occurred on the heavily-hit Abaco Island.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the death toll has risen to 23.
The storm has destroyed homes, business and other buildings on the island, though Minnis said the flooding has receded in Freeport and Grand Bahama.
Though a “significant” number of people remain in shelters, most homes in Grand Bahama appear to have received only minor damage, Minnis said.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that damage throughout the island could cost the Bahamas an estimated $7 billion in damages.