Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Friday, just days after battering the Bahamas. Based on its current path, New York City is expected to be spared from the brunt of the destructive storm.
The storm made landfall with 90 mph winds at Cape Hatteras at about 9 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center. It has already dumped up to 10 inches of rain along the coast between Charleston, South Carolina, to Wilmington, North Carolina, about 170 miles away, forecasters said.
"The rain is moving up north," said National Weather Service forecaster Alex Lamers on Friday. "Even the Raleigh-Durham area inland will get 3 inches today."
The howling west flank of Dorian has soaked the Carolinas since early Thursday, flooding coastal towns, whipping up more than a dozen tornadoes and cutting power to hundreds of thousands of people.
However, Dorian is expected to move out to sea later on Friday and bring tropical storm winds to Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts by early Saturday. Much of the East Coast, including New York City, will be spared the worst of its wind and rain, before the hurricane makes landfall in Canada’s Nova Scotia by Saturday night, the National Hurricane Center said.
Dorian is expected to be at least 150 miles south and east of Montauk Point on Long Island, National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Morrin said.
"The track from the National Hurricane Center has been very consistent," he added.
"Fringe effects" of the storm will include a chance of rain in the city Friday and overnight into Saturday, and wind speeds between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts possibly up to 28 mph.
Morrin described the wind speeds as a "noticeable increase," but "certainly not at a scale for anything damaging."
But the potential for "dangerous" rip currents and 10-foot swells led the city to close all municipal beaches to swimming and surfing on Friday and Saturday.
Recovery on Bahamas begins
One of the most powerful Caribbean storms on record, Dorian was rated a Category 5 hurricane when it hit the Bahamas.
At least 20 people have died, and the death toll was expected to rise, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at a news briefing.
The United Nations said over 76,000 people in the Bahamas needed immediate humanitarian relief. Aerial video of the worst-hit Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas showed widespread devastation, with the harbor, shops, workplaces, a hospital and airport landing strips damaged or decimated, frustrating rescue efforts.
"My island of Abaco, everything is gone. No banks, no stores, no nothing," said Marsh Harbour resident Ramond A. King as he surveyed the wreckage of his home, which had its roof ripped off and debris scattered throughout. "Everything is gone, just bodies."
As many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.
With telephones down in many areas, residents posted lists of missing loved ones on social media. One Facebook post by media outlet Our News Bahamas had 2,500 comments, mainly listing lost family members.
Based on maximum sustained winds, Dorian is tied with Gilbert in 1988, Wilma in 2005 and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. Hurricane Allen in 1980 was the most powerful, with sustained winds of 190 mph, the NHC said.