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Hurricane Dorian Rakes the Carolinas, Damages Reported

By Web Staff

Update: Sept. 5, 1:00 p.m. ET

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 apparently spun off at least one tornado in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, damaging several homes, and another twister touched down in the beach town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, mangling and overturning several trailer homes in a jumble of sheet metal. No immediate injuries were reported.

Update: Sept. 5, 12:00 p.m. ET

Hurricane Dorian continues to bring life-threatening storm surge, winds, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes to South and North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said in its 12 p.m. update.

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.

Update: Sept. 5, 11:00 a.m. ET

Dorian’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 mph, 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. ET was about 50 miles east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, still moving north off the coast at about 8 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

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.

Update: Sept. 5, 10:00 a.m. ET

Hurricane Dorian is thrashing coastal South Carolina and threatening a whole day of fierce weather along the Carolinas’ shores, so far flooding streets in Charleston and spawning tornadoes in areas covered by the storm’s rain and winds.

The Category 3 storm’s center, with sustained winds up to 115 mph, was over the ocean some 70 miles off Charleston by 9 a.m. ET Thursday, looking like it would get a little closer to land before moving along the coast.

Landfall is possible Thursday from South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

As of early Thursday, more than 68,700 customers in Charleston County and over 15,200 in Beaufort County were without power, according to Dominion Energy. Berkeley Electric Cooperative reports another 12,600 lost electricity in Charleston County.

Duke Energy in a news release Wednesday said it expected the storm to cause 700,000 outages in the Carolinas and that it brought in resources from 23 states and Canada to respond “as soon as it was safe to do so.”

More than 1,500 people sought refuge in 28 shelters in South Carolina, where sheets of rain began falling late Wednesday in the historic port city of Charleston, located on a peninsula prone to flooding. As Dorian crept dangerously closer, winds picked up sending rain sheets sideways, thunder boomed in the night sky and power flickered on and off in places.

Tornadoes Spotted

Several possible tornadoes already were being reported in parts of Carolinas Thursday morning, including one that firefighters say damaged an unspecified number of vehicles and buildings in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Wayne White captured video of the funnel cloud there. He said he was checking on some properties he manages in North Myrtle Beach when he saw it.

“I saw the circular clouds and was going to take a little video, and the funnel came out of nowhere,” he tweeted.

The National Weather Service tweeted a video of a tornado passing a fire station Thursday morning just north of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Dorian remained a force to be reckoned with, its swirling circle of winds and rain-wrapped around a large, gaping eye visible on photos taken from space.

Update: Sept. 5, 8:00 a.m. ET

At 8 a.m. ET Thursday the distinct eye of the hurricane churned about 70 miles south-southeast of Charleston, moving north at 8 mph off the coast with dangerously high winds of 115 mph extending about 60 miles outward.

Hurricane warnings were in effect for the coasts of both South and North Carolina. Forecasters said Dorian’s center could move over the coast of North Carolina Thursday night or Friday before gaining forward speed and moving off the coast of New England on Saturday.

In Charleston’s downtown, stores and restaurants were boarded up with wood and corrugated metal and about 830,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders on the South Carolina coast. A flood chart posted by the National Weather Service projected a combined high tide and storm surge around Charleston Harbor of 10.3 feet; the record, 12.5 feet, was set by Hugo in 1989.

The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center advised early Thursday that all bridges were a Code Yellow due to 35 mph winds. It said high-profile vehicles such as box trucks and tractor trailers should not travel the bridges and that the public should use extreme caution.

Hundreds of shelter animals from coastal South Carolina arrived in Delaware ahead of the storm. The News Journal of Wilmington reports nearly 200 animals were airlifted early Tuesday from shelters at risk of flooding. About 150 other animals were expected to arrive that night via land transport. WDBJ-TV reports more than 50 animals from North Carolina were shipped to Virginia and may be available for adoption as early as this weekend.

Shelters for Hurricane Dorian
Gordon and Dina Reynolds, with their 11-year-old granddaughter, Abby, sit on cots in the hallway of the North Myrtle Beach High School that is currently being used as a Red Cross evacuation shelter on Sept. 4, 2019, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

Hundreds of thousands also were ordered off the Georgia coast. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said, “we are very worried, especially about the barrier islands getting cut off.”

In North Carolina, where authorities said an 85-year-old man died after falling from a ladder while preparing his home for Dorian, Gov. Roy Cooper warned of a coming storm surge and flash flooding from heavy rains. The Outer Banks barrier islands were particularly exposed.

In Florida, initially projected to take a direct hit, there was widespread relief Wednesday after Dorian passed by from a relatively safe distance offshore.

Orlando’s international airport reopened, as did Walt Disney World and Universal. But one Florida resident had died while preparing for the storm, a 56-year-old man who was knocked to the ground from a tree Monday evening as he trimmed limbs with a chainsaw in an Orlando suburb.

The Navy ordered ships at its huge base in Norfolk, Virginia, to head to sea for safety, and warplanes at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, were being moved inland. The commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic issued an emergency evacuation order for military personnel and their dependents in five North Carolina counties.

The acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Peter Gaynor, said 4,000 federal responders; 6,000 National Guard members; and 40,000 utility workers were on standby.

“We are ready to go,” Gaynor said. “We’ll follow Dorian up the coast until it is not a threat.”

Warnings

More than 2.2 million people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate. Warnings are still in place north of St. Mary’s River Florida.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • North of Savannah River to the North Carolina/Virginia border
  • Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Mouth of St. Mary’s River to Savannah River

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of St. Mary’s River to Savannah River
  • North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague VA
  • Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • North of Chincoteague VA to Fenwick Island DE
  • Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point
  • Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island

The Associated Press, CNN Wire, Reuters and NTD reporter Melanie Sun contributed to this article.