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Raleigh, N.C. — As Hurricane Dorian moves toward the Bahamas and the continental United States on Saturday, the severity of its impact in North Carolina was unclear.
Dorian was a Category 4 hurricane on Saturday, with winds at 145 mph.
The storm is expected to hit the Bahamas on early Sunday, still as a Category 4 storm, which means having sustained wind speeds between 131 and 155 mph.
Both the American and European forecast models keep Dorian off the Florida coast without making direct landfall in the state. It’s expected to hug the coast while moving along Georgia and South Carolina.
The American model shows Dorian at the southern tip of the North Carolina coast, moving through the entire coastline through Thursday afternoon.
The European model shows a slower track, putting Dorian at the southern tip of the North Carolina coast Thursday afternoon and moving out Friday afternoon.
Winds could reach 80 mph Thursday along the coast, and Wilmington and southeastern areas of the state could see 10 inches of rain.
Inland areas of the states could see winds up to 50 mph.
“We cannot let our guard down,” WRAL meteorologist Peta Sheerwood said.
Barry Porter, regional director of the Red Cross for eastern North Carolina, said he thought when the storm was developing that it might follow the same path as Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
He advised North Carolina residents to pay attention to forecast updates and prepare now for the affects of Dorian.
“Be ready, and take steps now,” he said. “Don’t wait till 24 hours. You have four, five days’ notice. Take effective steps today.”