The Charlotte Observer (TNS)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hurricane Dorian made landfall early Friday over Cape Hatteras as a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The center of the eye passed the Outer Banks off the North Carolina coast at 8:35 a.m., with sustained winds of 90 mph, while moving north at 14 mph.

Parts of coastal North Carolina, including Morehead City, had been within the eyewall for hours early Friday, but NOAA officials say the center of the eye must cross onto land before landfall is official.

It happened after nearly a week after Dorian reached central Florida and began a slow push north, moving as slowly as 1 mph at times, said the hurricane center.

Dorian’s lumbering pace caused extensive periods of heavy wind and rain along the East Coast, which continued Friday in North Carolina.

Multiple counties near the North Carolina coast remained under curfews early Friday, with highways flooded, some roads washed out and fallen trees trapping people in their neighborhoods, according to social media posts.

A growing number of people — nearly 220,000 — in North Carolina also woke up to power outages Friday, including 22,000 in New Hanover County, 28,000 in Brunswick County and 36,000 in Carteret County.

The outages increased by 30,000 from 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Shelters were opened at 70 schools near the coast, and nearly 10,000 people had taken the offer overnight, according to state officials. Three of the shelters in New Hanover County were reportedly full.

In coastal New Hanover County, residents were being told not to call 911 “unless there is a life threatening emergency.” They were also warned that “Duke Energy will not be responding to downed power lines until day break due to the extremely hazardous conditions.”

New Hanover, home to Wilmington, saw some of the highest gusts (64 mph) and rainfall totals so far during the storm’s trek through the Carolinas, with 10.25 inches reported at one site, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In South Carolina, a site in Georgetown County had 11.29 inches of rain and a 62 mph gust, officials said.

State officials have attributed one death — an 85-year-old man who fell — to the storm so far. But Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis told WITN a man in Oriental had a heart attack and died while “pulling his boat out of the water” during the storm Thursday.

A NOAA weather station within the western portion of Dorian’s eye reported 69 mph sustained winds and gusts of 75 mph, forecasters said. Gusts of 85 mph were reported by a station at Fort Macon near Atlantic Beach, the center said.

The eye of the storm is projected to stay on or near the North Carolina coast much of Friday, churning the ocean and dropping inches of rain on the eastern half of the state.

“Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220 miles,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Tornadoes remain possible in coastal counties like Currituck and Camden in northern North Carolina, forecasters say.

“Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds are expected to continue along portions of the North Carolina coast,” the National Hurricane Center said at 5 a.m. “Flash flooding is occurring, and will continue to become more widespread across the eastern Carolinas and far southeast Virginia this morning.”

Tribune Wire

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