The center of Hurricane Dorian made landfall Friday over Cape Hatteras, a string of islands on the coast of North Carolina, bringing with it maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to meteorologists.
The Category 1 storm made its entrance into the state with high tides, flooding, tornadoes and heavy rain Thursday night.
Some counties in eastern North Carolina could see rainfall through Saturday morning, according to North Carolina Emergency Management officials.
Gov. Roy Cooper said the biggest threats on Friday were storm surge and flash floods.
“The danger right now is the rising storm surge of 4 to 7 feet and flash floods as the hurricane churns along the coast,” he said. “Officials are telling people to get to the highest point in their houses.”
Tornado watches are also in effect for the area. Around 20 tornadoes have already been reported.
Mandatory curfews were implemented for a dozen counties Thursday night. Around 50 counties declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.
Cooper lifted evacuation orders for the barrier islands on the southeastern side of the state, but still said North Carolinians should not put their “guards down.”
“There is significant concerned about hundreds of people trapped on Ocracoke Island,” he said.
Cooper had warned North Carolinians Thursday to stay sheltered and not try to travel.
“If your area is feeling the impacts of Dorian, please stay home and safe. Don’t drive through standing or moving water,” Cooper said. “We are feeling the storm’s force, but it has only started. We have a long night ahead of us.”
About 4,000 evacuees took refuge at 68 emergency shelters opened across the state, according to the governor. More than 70 roads were deemed impassable from debris.
“Do not return home until your local officials say that it's safe to do so,” he said.
Local, state and federal officials are on standby to respond to emergency, recovery and restoration needs. The rescue crews plan to help residents on Ocracoke Island “as soon as they can get it.”
Director of Emergency Management Mike Sprayberry said Friday that a post-storm damage assessment plan was in place. Utility crews are currently working to restore power in southeastern North Carolina, he said, while the emergency task force reminds activated for rescues.
There have been no new reports of serious injuries Friday morning. However, two hurricane-related deaths have been reported.
An 85-year old man in Columbus County died Wednesday when he fell off a ladder while making hurricane preparations to his home. A second man died Thursday from a heart attack while trying to get his boat out of the water ahead of the storm’s arrival.