CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Hurricane Dorian’s trail of destruction and flooding had it on the verge of North Carolina Thursday night, after spending the day working up the South Carolina coast.
Although Dorian continued to lose strength Thursday night, it remained a Category 2 hurricane with sustained wind speeds of 100 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. update.
The storm was picking up speed as it approached North Carolina, traveling northeast at 10 mph, the hurricane center reported.
The eye of the storm was about 30 miles south of Cape Fear, and 60 miles out of Wilmington as of 8 p.m., according to the NHC.
“The center of Dorian will move near or over the coast of North Carolina (Thursday night) and Friday,” according to the hurricane center.
While Dorian is already affecting North Carolina, its impact from its time along the South Carolina coast is clear.
More than 230,000 power outages were reported by coastal South Carolina customers Thursday, and most were in the Charleston area, where more than 120,000 people had lost power.
Dozens of roads were flooded, and watches and warnings for tornadoes, flash floods and storm surge were growing north of Myrtle Beach into North Carolina.
A 98 mph wind gust was recorded on the South Carolina coast at 3 p.m., according to the hurricane center.
Flash flooding and storm surges remain the greatest threats caused by Dorian, the hurricane center tweeted.
As the storm continued to trek north, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted his evacuation order for Jasper, Beaufort and Colleton counties, areas of the Lowcountry that the storm had passed.
Evacuation orders were still in effect for Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown, and Horry counties, as Dorian was forecast to hit the Grand Strand region.
“We are still battening down the hatches in the other five (coastal) counties, and we want everybody to be alert,” McMaster said at a news conference.
Tornadoes began to form on the northern edge of the storm just after dawn, including two reported in Horry County near Myrtle Beach, according to the Sun News.
Multiple tornadoes were also reported in North Carolina.
A waterspout ripped through Emerald Isle about 9 a.m., destroying multiple mobile homes. A tornado touched down in Brunswick County, “leaving a trail of damage approximately 10 miles long near Calabash and Sunset Beach,” according to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.
A funnel cloud was also recorded on video about 7 a.m. in Pender County near Fire Station 18, the National Weather Service tweeted.
As the damage and flooding mounted, evening curfews were announced in multiple communities near the North Carolina coast, and a daytime curfew began at noon Thursday in Southport, N.C., “until further notice,” according to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.
“Conditions are deteriorating and with confirmed tornadoes in the area, it is simply not safe to be out,” Brunswick County officials said on Facebook.