The Category 3 storm has reportedly made landfall in eastern North Carolina, hitting the beach-fringed barrier islands with powerful winds and battering ways after devastating the Bahamas.
The storm made landfall at Cape Hatteras at about 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km per hour), according to the National Hurricane Center. That was far weaker than its slow, deadly tour through the Bahamas earlier in the week that caused at least 43 deaths, according to news media accounts late Friday, and likely many more.
By late afternoon, Dorian was moving away from the mid-Atlantic states and headed towards Canada where it was expected to bring hurricane-force winds to parts of Nova Scotia by Saturday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm surge inundated the Outer Banks’ Ocracoke Island, cutting off power and submerging many homes and buildings, North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper told reporters.
Floodwaters came halfway up to kitchen countertops and battered fences and boardwalks, according to images on social media. One island resident uploaded a video on social media showing people driving a speedboat down a flooded street.
“We estimate about 800 people remained on the island during the storm and have heard reports from residents who say the flooding there was catastrophic,” Cooper said. “We’re thankful not to have reports of serious injury or death since the storm arrived.”
One resident in need of immediate medical attention was airlifted off Ocracoke, and helicopters will fly in food and water, the governor added.
The Outer Banks are a picturesque series of narrow islands known for their beaches, lighthouses and natural beauty.
The Kitty Hawk area, on the northern end of the Outer Banks, emerged from the storm with little damage. Many houses near the ocean lost power on Friday, but houses on higher ground continued to have power and cable television.