As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dorian was a Category 2 hurricane with top sustained winds of 110 mph moving toward the Florida coast after stalling over the Bahamas and causing widespread devastation there.
Dorian hit the Bahamas as a Category 5, which is the most powerful hurricane. The Associated Press reported that it tied the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to come ashore in the Bahamas. It equaled the Labor Day hurricane in 1935.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dorian's core was about 45 miles north of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and about 105 miles east of Fort Pierce, Fla. The storm was moving northwest at 2 mph.
Forecasters said tropical storm force winds from 40-70 mph could reach counties on the southern South Carolina coast later Tuesday and the North Carolina coast by 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Impact on U.S. uncertain
The storm's impact on North Carolina and other Southeastern states depends on how far west it tracks and how fast it moves.
Although the worst of the wind and rain is expected east of Interstate 95, forecasters said small shifts in how the storm tracks would significantly affect its impact. Wind and rain on the Carolinas coast were expected to increase if the storm slowed.
Wind gusts of 50-plus mph are expected in eastern North Carolina Wednesday and Thursday, along with power outages and “a tornado or two,” said forecasters.
On Monday, forecasters said western North Carolina could get as much as 5 inches of rain later this week.
Dorian is expected to begin moving slightly faster toward the north-northwest in the next 36 hours, followed by a northward and then northeastward motion near or over the coasts of South and North Carolina. After moving offshore of the Outer Banks, Dorian could accelerate northeastward.
The National Hurricane Center hasn’t predicted where Dorian could make landfall, but earlier forecasts said it would be closest to shore as it passes the Outer Banks.
States of emergency
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina Sunday and S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster did so Saturday. This mobilizes state resources and allows state and local governments to seek federal aid.
On Sunday, McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations starting at noon Monday, impacting about 830,000 people in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Horry and Jasper counties.
Cape Lookout National Seashore is scheduled to close at 10 a.m. Tuesday and tourists were told to evacuate the park by then.
The Associated Press said more than 600 U.S. flights Monday were canceled. Nearly half were routes arriving or departing from Florida airports. Cancellations also impacted North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and other states. About 336 Sunday flights alone were canceled.
Samaritan’s Purse readies
Samaritan's Purse is airlifting its DC-8 cargo plane stocked with critical supplies to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian pummeled the island—leaving thousands of people without basic necessities. The first plane load includes emergency shelter material, household water filters and two community water filtration units specially designed to turn saltwater into drinking water.
Disaster relief units (stocked tractor trailers), supply trailers and heavy equipment are on standby at Samaritan’s Purse's North American disaster relief headquarters in North Wilkesboro. Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteer teams will help clear debris and downed trees, put tarps on roofs and clean out flooded U.S. homes once given access to damaged areas, the Boone-based ministry reported.
“Samaritan’s Purse is ready to help families in the path of Hurricane Dorian recover from the storm,” said Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse president. “Please join me in praying for everyone in the hurricane’s path.”
Samaritan’s Purse has been working for almost a year in the Florida Panhandle to help residents there recover from Hurricane Michael’s destruction in October 2018, with work now focused on repairing and rebuilding homes.
Details on donating funds to assist with the nondenominational evangelical Christian organization’s disaster relief efforts are at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/about-us.
Lowe’s sending extra supplies
Earlier this week, Lowe’s Companies Inc. said it was working to get extra emergency supplies to where it appears they will be needed in the Southeast. As of Sunday, Lowe’s had sent more than 3,000 truckloads of emergency supplies, including generators, gas cans, flashlights and much more.
Based on changes in the storm track, Lowe’s redirected 40 truckloads of generators to stores along the East Coast. Store 603 in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., received and staged the extra generators.
The Lowe’s Emergency Command Center in Wilkesboro was activated Thursday, but early last week a core team was working to make sure emergency supplies were moving to be in the right place at the right time.