MINUTE-BY-MINUTE: Dorian's core batters NC coast with strong winds, flooding

MINUTE-BY-MINUTE: Dorian's core batters NC coast with strong winds, flooding

Local Dorian impact:

  • Dorian is a Category 2 hurricane and will remain a powerful storm with winds of 100 mph
  • The storm should gradually weaken through the night but will remain a Category 2 as it lashes the Carolina coast
  • While those on the coast have been experiencing flooding and tornadoes, our weather closer to Charlotte will be quite different
  • Friday kicks off a hot and sunny weekend in our area as the storm starts to push out east
  • Anson County Schools will be on a two-hour delay Friday


Content Continues Below

>> We've got you covered with every development as Hurricane Dorian lashes the Carolina coast. Scroll below for minute-by-minute updates on the storm.

11 p.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Dorian is brushing up against North Carolina as it keeps churning northeast, just offshore.

In a late Thursday night advisory, the National Hurricane Center says the Category 2 storm continued to have maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

Dorian is about 35 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and is moving northeast at 13 mph.

Regardless of whether the storm makes landfall overnight, forecasters expect Dorian to produce life-threatening storm surges, dangerous winds and flash floods along coastal areas of the Carolinas and southeast Virginia.


10 p.m.

Officials in the Bahamas say the country's death toll from Hurricane Dorian has increased to 30.

Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands told The Associated Press that in a phone interview late Thursday that he expects that number to be "significantly higher" in upcoming days as crews continue search and rescue missions.

Sands said the victims are from Grand Bahama and the Abaco islands and includes those who were injured and airlifted to New Providence island.

Dorian hit the Abaco islands on Sunday as a Category 5 storm and then hovered over Grand Bahama for a day and a half as a Category 4 storm.


9 p.m.

The worst weather from Hurricane Dorian is lashing parts of southern North Carolina.

Southport posted on Twitter that the city of 3,700 lost power around 7:30 p.m. Thursday as wind gusts approaching hurricane force in the storm's northern eyewall brushed by.

It appears Dorian's eye will miss making landfall in North Carolina at least until it reaches the Outer Banks early Friday.

Fran Mitteness says the power was still on at her house about three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean on Carolina Beach.

Mitteness says branches are falling from trees but there was little other damage as Dorian's eye moved about 45 miles to her south.

Winds were gusting in Wilmington above 50 mph.


8:20 p.m.

A North Carolina utility provider says it has workers at the ready to be deployed once Hurricane Dorian moves away from the coast.

North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives said in a news release that as of 7 p.m. on Thursday, 2,500 electric cooperative members are without power. The outages are centered on coastal communities on the border with South Carolina.

The news release says crews worked Thursday morning to restore power to about 5,000 cooperative members who lost electricity due to tornadoes in Brunswick and Carteret counties.

Senior vice president Mike Burnette says the real story will occur overnight as winds increase and cause trees and branches to fall on power lines.

He said that also means crews could encounter problems accessing areas where lines need to be rebuilt. He says as a result, customers should be prepared for the possibility of prolonged power outages.


8 p.m.

In its 8 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center says Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as its center moves near the coasts of North and South Carolina.

The Category 2 storm has maximum sustained winds of 100 mph with higher gusts.

Its eye is located about 30 miles south of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and is moving northeast at about 10 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220 miles.

Forecasters expect the storm to produce life-threatening storm surges, dangerous winds and flash floods along coastal areas in the Carolinas and southeast Virginia.

The Storm Surge Warning west of Cape Fear has been discontinued.

The Hurricane Warning from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the South Santee River has been changed to a Tropical Storm Warning.

The Tropical Storm Warning south of Edisto Beach has been discontinued.


5:55 p.m.

Charlotte Motor Speedway spokesman Scott Cooper said in a statement that there were 69 campsites occupied by about 150 people impacted by Dorian as of Thursday afternoon. Cooper said many of them were arriving from the Wilmington area.

Cooper said the speedway's Rock City Campground remains open free of charge along with access to showers, the kids' playground and the pet park.

The speedway is offering free tours twice a day, and evacuees can sign up for a tour in the camping office. In addition, local businesses are providing complimentary meals this week, and some are dropping off coupons.


5:55 p.m.

American Airlines says it flew a plane carrying 14,000 pounds of relief supplies to the Bahamas.

In a news release, the airline said a Boeing 737 flew from Miami to Nassau to drop off supplies for those affected by the devastation.

The airline is also giving frequent-flyer points to customers who donate at least $25 to the Red Cross.

American Airlines says airport operations are still being affected at airports in the Bahamas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.


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 of rain had fallen in parts of the county where Wilmington is located.


5 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.

Its eye is located about 45 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is moving northeast at about 10 mph.

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


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.

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.


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 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.


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.


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.

Checking on residents in The Farm community

Posted by Brunswick County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, September 5, 2019

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.


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."

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


2 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 south of Myrtle Beach and is moving north-northeast near 8 mph.

Dorian's maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane.


1:50 p.m.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has lifted the evacuation orders for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties effective at 3 p.m. Thursday.

The evacuation orders for Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties remain in place.


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.


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.


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.

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


11:25 a.m.

People are hunkering down on the Outer Banks, 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.


11:20 a.m.

Emerald Isle said in a news release on its website that a 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.

<p>A waterspout that formed near <span class="wsc-spelling-problem" data-spelling-word="Bogue" data-wsc-lang="en_US">Bogue</span>&nbsp;Inlet Pier later came ashore as a tornado in Emerald Isle Thursday morning. (Credit: National Weather Service)</p>

A waterspout that formed near Bogue Inlet Pier later came ashore as a tornado in Emerald Isle Thursday morning. (Credit: National Weather Service)

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.


11 a.m.

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.

Dorian's center at 11 a.m. was about 50 miles east-southeast of Charleston, 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.


10:35 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."

"Hurricane Dorian is ready to unleash its fury on our state," Cooper said. "The storm has gained strength. Get to safety and stay there. Don't let your guard down. Whether it comes to shore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause significant damage."

Cooper also spoke about the tornado threat the coast was under.

"This is a dangerous storm that is already spawning tornadoes," he said. "Up to 10 inches of rain or more in coastal areas is forecast. Sustained winds of 100 mph and gusts up to 120 mph are forecast."

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.

DORIAN | WATCH LIVE: The Carolinas are starting to feel the impacts of Hurricane Dorian. Gov. Roy Cooper and emergency officials are giving a LIVE update on how NC is preparing. WSOC APP AND WEATHER APP --> https://bit.ly/2NyvX3f

Posted by WSOC-TV on Thursday, September 5, 2019


10:15 a.m.

Town Manager Matt Zapp confirmed a tornado touched down in Emerald Isle just after 9 a.m. Thursday.

The tornado reportedly began as a water spout that passed near Bogue Inlet Pier, then came ashore and hit the Boardwalk RV Park off Islander Drive. Pier owner Mike Stanley said he witnessed the spout form in the ocean and go ashore, where he saw it "tearing up trailers" in the RV park.

Zapp said he had not heard of reports of any injuries related to the tornado.

The Farm Community....no reported injuries.

Posted by Brunswick County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, September 5, 2019


10 a.m.

The eye of Dorian is centered about 70 miles southeast of Charleston and moving north-northeast with a hurricane warning in place from the Savannah River to the North Carolina/Virginia border, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical storm conditions were affecting parts of the Georgia and South Carolina coasts with hurricane conditions expected to follow.

Meteorologist John Ahrens is LIVE from Atlantic Beach monitoring the worsening conditions from Dorian. Our team of meteorologists is tracking the storm's path and breaking down the biggest threats on Channel 9 at noon.

Posted by WSOC-TV on Thursday, September 5, 2019


9:45 a.m.

City officials in North Myrtle Beach say rain is combining with the rising ocean to exacerbate flooding. At least 6 inches of rain had fallen by 9 a.m. and strong winds blowing onto the shore were preventing the tide from fully receding.


9:30 a.m.

More than 215,000 homes and businesses are without power as Hurricane Dorian lashes the southeastern coast with wind and rain.

More than 200,000 of the outages were being reported Thursday morning in the coastal counties of South Carolina. But lights are also out in southeastern Georgia.

Outages will likely spread up the East Coast as Dorian moves north. Duke Energy projects Dorian will knock out electrical service to about 700,000 customers in the Carolinas.

Dorian is a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph.


9 a.m.

Trees were downed and siding had been torn off buildings at the Carolina Keyes West Port condominium complex.

Jackie Wilkin, who lives a few buildings away from the damage, said her husband Jim heard the possible tornado that morning around 7 a.m. The couple, who has lived in Carolina Keyes for 16 years, said the tornado sounded like a train.

"I've never witnessed this anywhere," Jackie Wilkin said.


8:30 a.m.

Several tornadoes have already touched down in the North Myrtle Beach area, according to city spokesperson Pat Dowling. He said there was reported tornado damage at apartments on West Port drive and a mobile home park on Circle Drive.

"There's been a spurt of them," Dowling said.

Dowling noted North Myrtle Beach has already seen up to six inches of rain, but no reported injuries.

As of 7 a.m., over 10 tornado warnings have been issued, according to Horry County Emergency Management.

Georgetown residents have appeared to have cleared out ahead of Dorian. While no damage has been reported, the town is expecting things to deteriorate at around noon at high tide.

While there is no significant damage along Highway 90 down toward the Waccamaw River, with only minor debris found on the roadway, damage was greater elsewhere in Horry County, especially in areas closer to the coast.

"We are receiving reports of trees down, but we can't go out and assess when it is dark and conditions are like this. We won't have any real data until tomorrow," Spokesperson Kelly Moore said.

One stoplight on Highway 501 was out, but the majority are still in operation.

Video from North Myrtle Beach shows possible tornado Thursday morning as Hurricane Dorian continues to move closer to land. abc11.tv/2LvP8rx

Posted by ABC11 WTVD on Thursday, September 5, 2019


7:30 a.m.

A "minor tornado" appears to have touched down at 901 Westport in North Myrtle Beach, according to city spokesperson Pat Dowling. There are no reported injuries, only roof damage. Electric is being pulled and people are being evacuated to shelters, Dowling said.

The Conway area doesn't appear to have much damage from the early morning outer bands of Dorian.

About 11,500 people as of 7:30 a.m. in the Horry and Georgetown communities were without power. A good portion of those were in the North Myrtle Beach and Little River communities.


7 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is approaching from the south and will move close to the upper South Carolina coast this afternoon and evening, and track very close to the southeast North Carolina coast tonight, according to National Weather authorities.

Along with the multiple tornado warnings issued for the Myrtle Beach area, tornado warnings were also issued in North Myrtle Beach and Atlantic Beach around 6:50 a.m., with a possible tornado already touching down in the Retreat Hill communities in Little River early this morning.

Destruction from the tornado included downed trees, wind damage to a home and a car that was pushed into a possible utility box.


6 a.m.

Constant, howling winds from Dorian are blowing through downtown Charleston, South Carolina as the Category 3 hurricane blows off the coast of the Carolinas. Hurricane-force winds are remaining just offshore but tropical storm-force winds are whipping around and rattling the windows of a 14-floor hotel on the Ashley River.

The surf is kicked up and cascading into the US highway 17 bridge connecting the port city's historic downtown to a neighborhood west of the river.

The National Hurricane Center says the Category 3 storm is about 80 miles south-southeast of Charleston, with top sustained winds of 115 mph and tropical-storm force winds extending up to 195 miles outward.


5:30 a.m.

Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, Hurricane Dorian regained strength and is again a major Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.

Conditions in Horry and Georgetown counties began deteriorating overnight last night with heavy rainfall, gusting winds and the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, issuing multiple tornado warnings for the Myrtle Beach area.

Major impacts including coastal flooding from life-threatening storm surge, dangerous winds, flash flooding, power outages, some structural damage and severe beach erosion is expected, especially close to the coast, and areas of the Grand Strand could receive up to 15 inches of rain.

The eye of the storm is projected to be just off the coast around 2 p.m.

Dorian re-strengthens to Category 3 storm, lashing the Carolina coast

Hurricane Dorian, back to a Category 3 storm, is raking the Southeast U.S. seaboard Thursday morning, leaving tens of thousands without power as it threatened to inundate low-lying coasts along the Carolinas with a life-threatening storm surge after its deadly mauling of the Bahamas.

Water levels were rising along South Carolina's coast early Thursday morning as Dorian inched toward the picturesque port city of Charleston.

Charleston residents who didn't heed earlier evacuation orders have now been asked to shelter in place as the winds pick up and heavy rain falls.

Downtown Charleston's narrow, low-lying streets are underwater and the northbound portion of the city's expressway has been shut down since Wednesday due to flooding.

Authorities were deployed throughout the city overnight responding to calls of downed trees and power lines, floods and other storm-related incidents, according to the Charleston Police Department.

Dorian had crashed into the island nation as its strongest hurricane on record leaving widespread devastation and at least 20 people dead. But it weakened substantially in the days since, dropping from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm before increasing again late Wednesday.

Dorian could maintain this intensity for about 9 hours or so before gradual weakening through Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of early Thursday, more than 16,800 in Charleston County and more than 6,800 in Beaufort County were without power, according to Dominion Energy. Berkeley Electric Cooperative reports another 4,900 in Charleston County.

>> Download the WSOCTV news app for your smartphone and get updates on Dorian as they come in.

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.

Though weakened, 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.

At 2 a.m. Thursday the distinct eye of the hurricane churned about 105 miles south of Charleston, moving north at 7 mph off the coast with dangerously high winds of 115 mph.

In Charleston, wind gusts of 60 mph were being reported before dawn, and a tornado was reported near Myrtle Beach, in Little River.

"It is not that uncommon to see tornadoes with a tropical system near the coastline," said ABC News senior meteorologist Max Golembo.

>> Remember, you can watch our radar and LIVE continuous Dorian coverage anytime at home on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV.

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.

Hundreds of thousands also were ordered off the Georgia 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.

More Hurricane Dorian content:

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

Duke Energy said Dorian could cause more than 700,000 power outages in easternmost parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, and Georgia Power said about 2,800 homes and businesses were already without electricity.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, U.S. 17 at mile marker 17 near Shallotte is impassable due to standing water. The section of road near Mount Pigsah Road has water blocking both directions.

>> Reading this story in our app? The new "Follow the Lead" feature allows you to tap the blue tag indicated with a '+' to subscribe to alerts on the very latest breaking news updates.

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."

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

Carolinas coast braces for flooding, hazards from Dorian

As Hurricane Dorian slogs up the Carolinas coast, forecasters are predicting high storm surges and drenching rains that could trigger flooding and unleash environmental hazards in areas still recovering from last year's Hurricane Florence.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning Wednesday for the Atlantic coast from northern Georgia to southern Virginia, predicting a "potentially life-threatening storm surge" up to 8 feet around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. Coupled with high tide, the storm's arrival Thursday is expected to push water up the mouths of coastal rivers, causing low-lying areas to flood. There could also be up to a foot of rainfall across much of Eastern North Carolina, raising concerns of flash flooding well inland.

Some areas in the region expected to be affected by Dorian are still rebuilding from Florence, which caused widespread damage in September 2018 that included scores of flooded hog and chicken farms, inundated sewage treatment plants and breached dam at a power plant near a coal ash landfill.

Meteorologists predicted Wednesday that Dorian's eye would skirt the coast, potentially making landfall before brushing past Cape Hatteras. That would deal the state a more glancing blow than Florence did a year ago, which slowly moved inland dumping record-shattering rains that in some places totaled more than 2 feet.

Jen Kendrick, spokeswoman for the N.C. Pork Council, said the members of her organization are well positioned to weather Dorian after what has been a relatively dry summer.

"Farmers in North Carolina have seen about 20 hurricanes in the past two decades and have learned much about preparation and readiness," Kendrick said.

Those preparations include relocating animals from flood-prone farms, stocking up on livestock feed in case roads are flooded and filling up the fuel tanks for the generators used to keep pumps going in the event of power outages.

Duke Energy said Wednesday that it had completed extensive repairs to the dam that breached during Florence at the L.V. Sutton Power Station near Wilmington, North Carolina. The company said it had also competed excavation of a large coal ash dump that flooded last year, removing the gray ash containing toxic heavy metals to a landfill on higher ground covered with an artificial turf cap designed to repeal rainwater.

Though part of that landfill is still under construction, Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said they were not expecting any problems from Dorian at the Sutton site.

"We feel very well prepared for this storm," Sheehan said.

Duke also operates the Brunswick Nuclear Plant near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The company said it will safely shut down the plant's twin nuclear reactors at least two hours prior to the arrival of hurricane force winds.

How will Dorian impact the Carolinas, particularly the Charlotte region?

Channel 9 meteorologists said Dorian will most likely scrape its way along the entire coast of South Carolina and North Carolina, curving to the northeast parallel to the U.S. Southeast seaboard.

The potent storm was expected to stay close to shore and hammer the coast with dangerous winds and heavy surf, while authorities cautioned that it could still make landfall. This means the area will be dealing with hurricane winds, life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall.

Severe Weather Center 9 meteorologists said the most likely track for Dorian looks eerily similar to Hurricane Matthew in 2016, but they are two very different storms. Matthew reached Category 5 status, and hugged the coast slightly closer than what we're expecting Dorian to do.

That being said, storms that hug the coast can be very strong and dangerous because they never lose their fuel source -- warm ocean water.

That means coastal areas especially should be concerned about extensive flooding and strong winds for much of next week, with outer rain bands potentially reaching as far inland as the Charlotte metro area.

Animals from South Carolina shelters moved to Delaware

Hundreds of shelter animals from coastal South Carolina have arrived in Delaware ahead of Hurricane Dorian's expected landfall.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports the animals were moved from shelters at risk of flooding. The Category 3 storm began making its way across the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to flood low-lying areas and bring enough rain to cause flash flooding concerns well inland.

Nearly 200 animals were airlifted off the endangered coast and picked up by Brandywine Valley SPCA early Tuesday. About 150 other animals were expected to arrive that night via land transport from Best Friends Animal Society. The animals may be up for adoption throughout New England later this week.

Brandywine says the lessened South Carolina shelter populations will make space for local pets impacted by Dorian.

Hurricane death toll climbs to 20 in devastated Bahamas

The ground crunched under Greg Alem's feet on Wednesday as he walked over the ruins of his home, laid waste by Hurricane Dorian. He touched a splintered beam of wood and pointed to the fallen trees, overcome by memories.

"We planted those trees ourselves. Everything has a memory, you know," he said. "It's so, so sad. ... In the Bible there is a person called Job, and I feel like Job right now. He's lost everything, but his faith kept him strong."

The devastation wrought by Dorian - and the terror it inflicted during its day-and-a-half mauling of the Bahamas - came into focus Wednesday as the passing of the storm revealed a muddy, debris-strewn landscape of smashed and flooded-out homes on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. The official death toll from the strongest hurricane on record ever to hit the country jumped to 20, and there was little doubt it would climb higher.

With a now-distant Dorian pushing its way up the Southeastern U.S. coast, menacing Georgia and the Carolinas, many people living in the Bahamas were in shock as they slowly came out of shelters and checked on their homes.

In one community, George Bolter stood in the bright sunshine and surveyed the ruins of what was once his home. He picked at the debris, trying to find something, anything, salvageable. A couple of walls were the only thing left.

"I have lost everything," he said. "I have lost all my baby's clothes, my son's clothes. We have nowhere to stay, nowhere to live. Everything is gone."

The Bahamian government sent hundreds of police officers and marines into the stricken islands, along with doctors, nurses and other health care workers, in an effort to reach drenched and stunned victims and take the full measure of the disaster.

"There are many in Grand Bahama who are suffering," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a news conference. "We know there are many Bahamians that are in need of help. I want to assure you that more help is on the way."

He thanked the international community for its response, especially the U.S. government for what he called their "exceptional assistance."

The U.S. Coast Guard, Britain's Royal Navy and relief organizations including the United Nations and the Red Cross joined the burgeoning effort to rush food and medicine to survivors and lift the most desperate people to safety by helicopter. The U.S. government also dispatched urban search-and-rescue teams.

Londa Sawyer stepped off a helicopter in Nassau, the capital, with her two children and two dogs after being rescued from Marsh Harbor in the Abaco islands.

"I'm just thankful I'm alive," she said. "The Lord saved me."

Sawyer said that her home was completely flooded and that she and her family fled to a friend's home, where the water came up to the second floor and carried them up to within a few feet of the roof. She said she and her children and the dogs were floating on a mattress for about half an hour until the water began receding.

Sandra Cooke, who lives in Nassau, said her sister-in-law was trapped under her roof for 17 hours in the Abaco islands and wrapped herself in a shower curtain as she waited.

"The dog laid on top of her to keep her warm until the neighbors could come to help," she said. "All of my family lives in Marsh Harbor, and everybody lost everything. Not one of them have a home to live anymore."

The storm pounded the Bahamas with Category 5 winds up to 185 mph and torrential rains, swamping neighborhoods in brown floodwaters and destroying or severely damaging, by one estimate, nearly half the homes in Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have 70,000 residents and are known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts.

Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands said 17 of the dead were from the Abaco islands and three from Grand Bahama. He said he could not release further details because the government still had to contact family members.

Some people in the Abaco islands complained that they had not seen any aid except for medical supplies for the main hospital, where hundreds of people were temporarily living as they awaited help.

By late Wednesday, Dorian has crept back up to Category 3 force with 115 mph winds and was pushing toward a brush with the Carolinas - with a direct hit on the outer banks possible. An estimated 3 million people in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina had been warned to clear out, and highways leading inland were turned into one-way evacuation routes.

Forecasters said there was the danger of life-threatening floods as storm surge moves inland from the coastline, as well as the potential for over a foot of rain in some spots.

"Hurricane Dorian has its sights set on North Carolina," Gov. Roy Cooper said. "We will be ready."

As the threat to Florida eased and the danger shifted farther up the coast, Orlando's airport reopened, along with Walt Disney World and Universal. To the north, ships at the big Norfolk, Virginia, naval base were ordered to head out to sea for safety, and warplanes at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia were sent inland.

The U.S. mainland recorded its first death in connection with the hurricane, that of an 85-year-old man in North Carolina who fell off a ladder while preparing his home for the storm. Dorian was also blamed for one death in Puerto Rico.

On Tybee Island, Georgia, Debbie and Tony Pagan stacked their beds and couches atop other furniture and covered their doors with plastic wrap and sandbags before evacuating. Their home flooded during both Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017.

"It's a terrible way to live," Debbie Pagan said. "We have the whole month of September and October to go. How would you like to be living on pins and needles?"

Another Tybee islander, Sandy Cason, said: "The uncertainty and the unknown are the worst part. Just not knowing what's going to be here when you get back."

Along King Street in historic Charleston, South Carolina, dozens of shops and restaurants typically bustling with tourists were boarded up, plywood and corrugated metal over windows and doors, as the flood-prone downtown area braced for high water.

Mark Russell, an Army veteran who has lived in South Carolina much of his life, went to a hurricane shelter right away. As for those who hesitated to do so, he said: "If they go through it one time, maybe they'll understand."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)