The Latest: Governor: Dorian will get worse for N Carolina - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

The Latest: Governor: Dorian will get worse for N Carolina

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OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) -- The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

North Carolina officials say coastal areas have yet to see the worst from Hurricane Dorian despite apparent tornadoes and heavy rains as the storm approaches from the south.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday urged residents "to stay in a safe place and off the roads" while conditions deteriorate from south to north through the night and Friday morning.

Cooper says tornadoes had already been reported in five counties, and 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain had fallen in parts of the county where Wilmington is located.

More than 2,200 people are staying in 65 shelters. Flash flooding is still a big concern, and there are more than 15 road closures. Major river flooding is predicted for a portion of the Northeast Cape Fear River.

State meteorologist Katie Webster says she expected conditions to improve rapidly by Friday afternoon as the storm passes.

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5:20 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has lifted the mandatory evacuation order for Jasper, Beaufort and Colleton counties.

During a briefing Thursday, McMaster urged residents who were returning to their homes to heed re-entry orders by sheriff's offices and to use caution. He and other officials urged residents to avoid standing water, which might mask downed power lines or tree limbs, and to stay off the road unless absolutely necessary.

Evacuation orders remain for five other counties: Georgetown, Horry, Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester.

McMaster says Dorian remains "a very dangerous storm and it's still impossible to predict where it will go."

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5:05 p.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Dorian is expected to slowly weaken as it travels near and along the coasts of South and North Carolina.

In its 5 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center says Dorian has weakened slightly and remains a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (169 kph).

Its eye is located about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is moving northeast at about 10 mph (16 kph).

Forecasters expect Dorian's eye to pass near or over parts of the North Carolina coast within the next 12 to 24 hours.

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5:05 p.m.

Members of the Rhode Island National Guard will be heading to the Bahamas to help with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

State officials say the National Guard will mobilize three C-130J cargo aircraft that will depart from the Quonset Air National Guard Base on Friday.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Callahan says the Rhode Island National Guard has had a special connection with the Bahamas, through a training partnership with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force that began in 2005.

Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas , where the government's official death toll stands at 20 and is certain to climb. Thousands of people whose homes were destroyed are seeking help.

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4 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian is continuing to complicate air travel in the Southeast.

Airports in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Florence, South Carolina, were expected to remain closed until Friday morning.

According to FlightAware, more than 500 U.S. flights were canceled by mid-afternoon Thursday, with the largest numbers in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

Airlines have already canceled more than 200 flights scheduled for Friday, especially in an area from Norfolk, Virginia, to Savannah.

TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell says the agency has 120 employees who can be sent to the region to help screen passengers and baggage once air travel begins to return to normal.

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4 p.m.

Now that the worst of Hurricane Dorian has moved out of the Charleston, South Carolina, area, some residents are getting out to look at the aftermath -- and even have a little fun.

Johnny Crawford hopped into his green kayak on Thursday afternoon to take a cruise down his flooded street in downtown Charleston. The area floods sometimes even without a tropical weather event, with water often covering sidewalks and streets.

The 46-year-old Crawford has lived in Charleston for more than half his life. He said that his only disappointment was that the water wasn't as deep as it had been earlier in the day, when the storm was still raging in the area.

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3:35 p.m.

Much of southeastern Virginia is shutting down as Hurricane Dorian churns up the Atlantic Coast.

Virginia Beach officials announced mandatory evacuations Thursday for the community of Sandbridge. The strip of land is home to beach houses that sit along the Atlantic Coast near the North Carolina border.

Voluntary evacuations were also encouraged in flood-prone areas in the coastal city of nearly 500,000 people.

The low-lying region is prone to flooding without much rain. Dorian is expected to bring heavy rains and 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1 meter) of storm surge Friday.

Schools and universities canceled Friday classes throughout much of the region. Buses, light rail and ferries will stop running.

Military bases will operate with only mission-essential personnel.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane.

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3:35 p.m.

In Grand Bahama, crews were working to reopen the airport and used heavy equipment to pick up fallen branches and palm tree fronds after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas.

On Grand Bahama island Thursday, lines formed outside gas stations and grocery stores. At a nearby supermarket, 67-year-old wood carver Gordon Higgs said he would appreciate any help from the international community.

The hurricane has killed at least 20 people in the Bahamas.

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3 p.m.

A third death in Florida is being blamed on Hurricane Dorian .

Brevard County Medical Examiner's Office manager Craig Engleson says that on Sunday, a 68-year-old man fell to his death while putting up plywood hurricane shutters.

At least four storm-related deaths have been reported on the U.S. mainland, three in Florida and one in North Carolina. All have involved men who were trimming trees or otherwise getting ready for the storm.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

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2:25 p.m.

A North Carolina sheriff's office is reporting roofs blown off as Hurricane Dorian spins up tornadoes on its way up the coast of the Carolinas.

The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office posted photos of several houses with roofs torn off in a community known as The Farm, not far from the state line with South Carolina. Debris was also strewn through grassy areas.

Elsewhere, the sheriff's office showed images of winds that had overturned RVs and at least one boat parked on land.

The sheriff's office said there were no injuries reported.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

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2:25 p.m.

Officials in a coastal South Carolina county have suspended emergency services during high winds from Hurricane Dorian .

Georgetown County officials said in tweet Thursday afternoon that fire and EMS services had been called off "until wind speeds subside to a safe level."

Officials also noted that anyone who called 911 during the suspension would be put on a waiting list.

County officials also said Georgetown sheriff's deputies had been pulled back from areas south of Highway 521 due to the high winds.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

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2:25 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian's center is churning just offshore of South Carolina's Cape Romain as it pummels the Carolinas with high winds and rain.

The storm is centered Thursday afternoon about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Myrtle Beach and is moving north-northeast near 8 mph (13 kph).

Dorian's maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 kph), making it a Category 2 hurricane. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian is expected to slowly weaken over the next few days but will remain a powerful storm as its center moves near the coasts of North and South Carolina.

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2:25 p.m.

Part of the roof of a South Carolina church has blown off in the torrential winds and rain of Hurricane Dorian .

A section of about 25 feet (7.6 meters) of green corrugated metal roofing lay crumpled on the ground Thursday afternoon in front of Holy City Church on James Island, near Charleston.

Other portions of the roof flapped in the wind, peeling back to reveal wooden roofing slats underneath. The green and brown trunk of a large tree next to the church was also uprooted in the winds and rain.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

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2 p.m.

The U.N. World Food Program has purchased 8 tons (7.2 metric tons) of ready-to-eat meals for Bahamians in hurricane-battered Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands and is organizing an airlift from Panama to set up two logistics hubs in the Caribbean nation.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that WFP is also providing satellite equipment to ensure connectivity for emergency responders across the affected islands.

Given the severity of Hurricane Dorian's impact, he said WFP has set up a $5.4 million emergency operation for three months to assist 39,000 people.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said Wednesday about 70,000 people "are in immediate need of life-saving assistance" on Grand Bahama and the Abacos.

Dorian devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

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1:25 p.m.

Another death is being blamed on Hurricane Dorian, which is raking the Carolinas with wind and rain.

 A Florida medical examiner says a 38 year-old landscaper was electrocuted Saturday while trimming trees in preparation for the storm's arrival.

The unidentified man worked for a landscaping company hired by a hotel in Naples, Florida. The Medical Examiner's Office in Collier County says the man was trimming trees that had grown into power lines.

Jailene Hernandez, a medical examiner's investigator, says a co-worker witnessed the man get electrocuted.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

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1:05 p.m.

No one will be able to enter one Outer Banks county in North Carolina as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

Officials say in a news release that there'll be no access to Dare County starting at 8 p.m. Thursday. In addition, curfews begin in most of the county at 8 p.m. and continue until at least noon Friday. No curfew is in effect in Kitty Hawk.

Dare County officials estimate that storm surge from ocean and sound side flooding is estimated at 4 to 7 feet (1 to 2 meters) above ground, not including wave action. The National Weather Service forecasts periods of rapid water rise from the sound side as the storm passes, possibly into Friday evening.

Dare County is under both a hurricane warning and a storm surge warning.

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1:05 p.m.

The lights are quickly coming back on along the Georgia coast in areas where power lines snapped as Hurricane Dorian passed.

Georgia Power said fewer than 5,500 coastal homes and businesses were still without electricity Thursday afternoon. That's down from more than 12,000 customers in the dark at daybreak that the utility reported on its online outage map.

Emergency officials along the 100-mile (160-kilometer) Georgia coast were reporting light damage from Dorian. The storm raked Georgia with tropical storm force winds as its center passed offshore.

State officials had braced for worse. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered a mandatory evacuation affecting all six coastal Georgia counties. Kemp lifted the evacuation order Thursday morning.

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1:05 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian's pounding of Florida's eastern seashore has eroded beaches and exposed clusters of sea turtle eggs.

But not to worry, says the Sea Turtle Preservation Society.

Beachgoers who come across turtle eggs shouldn't be too concerned by the exposed turtle eggs.

In fact, the group tells Florida Today that it's a "banner year" for turtle nests.

The group's chairman, Roger Pszonowsky, says there's not much to be done because it's all part of nature's cycle.

Pszonowsky also says there haven't been widespread reports of sargassum seaweed on beaches. That's a good sign because too much of the seaweed after a storm isn't good for baby turtles. The tiny turtles that manage to make it out to see sometimes get swept back onto beaches by clinging onto the seaweed.

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12:30 p.m.

Officials with the City of Charleston say nearly 150 trees have been toppled as the area gets pummeled by Hurricane Dorian's winds and rain.

The South Carolina city also says 108 roads are closed in Charleston, 26 due to flooding, and some 36 power lines have been knocked down. One live wire on a flooded street outside the Charleston City Market was sparking, causing explosions that could be heard blocks away.

Parts of the historic port city often flood with a normal high tide, so officials were expecting high water with the storm.

Forecasters said up to 15 inches of rain could fall in the Charleston area, and up to 20 inches possible nearby.

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11:25 a.m.

People are hunkering down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, preparing for what could be a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.

Access is the main problem: Ocracoke Island is reachable only by ferries, and while Hatteras Island has a new two-lane bridge to the mainland, parts of the barrier islands can be cut off by storm damage. Those who decided to ride out the storm are planning for days of isolation.

North Carolina's transportation department said ferries shut down Wednesday after evacuating 1,441 people and 756 vehicles from Ocracoke. Leslie Lanier is expecting the island to "be in for a whole lot of mess."

Speaking by phone Thursday, Lanier said she boarded up her home and bookstore after visitors evacuated, and has moved the books up to five feet off the floor. Now she thinks that may not be enough to avoid flooding from a storm surge.

Liz Browning Fox is on Hatteras Island, which often bears the brunt of bad weather. She lives on a 30-foot hill in Buxton, where she worries that a powerful storm could cut new inlets through the island from Pamlico Sound out to the open ocean.

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11:20 a.m.

A North Carolina beach town is reporting damage from a tornado that was spun off as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

Emerald Isle, North Carolina, said in a news release on its website that the waterspout touched down around 9 a.m. Thursday. More than a dozen campers were knocked on their side, their metal skin mangled and twisted. Some were flipped upside-down, with their tires now aimed toward the sky. A blue beach chair was left dangling, suspended in the wires that held up a power line. Other power lines were downed across a parking lot, where trash was strewn everywhere.

Other tornados spun off by Dorian's outer bands struck other areas along the coast.

By late morning, heavy rain was falling sideways, trees were bending and traffic lights were swaying as Emerald Isle hunkered down again. The city was ground zero in 1996's Hurricane Fran, which was the last major hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina.  Emerald Isle also weathered Hurricane Florence in 2018 and a half-dozen other hurricanes in between.

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11 a.m.

Dorian's maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 mph (175 kmh), making it once again a Category 2 hurricane.

That's still strong enough to cause damage along the coast of the Carolinas, where the storm is now close enough for hurricane-force winds to hit land.

Forecasters say Dorian's center at 11 a.m. EDT was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, still moving north off the coast at about 8 mph (13 kmh). Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

The National Hurricane Center says large and destructive waves up to 8 feet high could be seen in Myrtle Beach if peak surge happens during high tide.
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10:45 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents that extensive damage is expected at the coast regardless of whether Hurricane Dorian makes landfall.

Cooper said Thursday morning at a news conference that the approaching storm "is serious and can be deadly." He urged people to "get to safety and stay there."

The governor already ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state's fragile barrier islands, although people can't be forced to leave their homes. More than 1,000 people already are in over 50 shelters.

He says the storm spawned an apparent tornado early Thursday in Brunswick County that caused some damage.

Cooper says forecasts show up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain and possibly more falling in coastal areas with sustained winds of 100 mph (161 kph). He anticipates hundreds of thousands of people will lose power with fallen trees.

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