Hurricane Dorian's eyewall arrives on shore, bringing rain and wind to central North Carolina

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Hurricane Dorian raked the Carolina coast with howling, window-rattling winds and sideways rain Thursday into Friday morning., spinning off tornadoes and knocking out power to more than 200,000 homes and businesses as it pushed northward toward the dangerously exposed Outer Banks.

As of 4 a.m. Friday, Dorian had weakened to a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, a far cry from the Category 5 that mauled the Bahamas, but still dangerous. The eye of the storm was located less than 15 miles South of Cape Lookout.

RADAR: See current location of rain from Hurricane Dorian

Rainfall estimates are as follows:

  • Johnston County – 4.4 inches
  • Southern Wayne County — 5.6 inches
  • Clinton — 7.2 inches
  • Southern Wake County — 3.3 inches
  • Northern Wake County — 1.1 inches
  • Harnett County — 2.5 inches
  • Greenville — 3 inches
  • Wilmington — 8 inches

Two deaths in North Carolina have been blamed on Hurricane Dorian. Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that an 85-year-old Columbus County man was the first storm-related death in North Carolina. Cooper said the man fell from a ladder as he was preparing his home for the storm. On Thursday, Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis said a man pulling his boat out of the water in Oriental had a heart attack and died. His identity was not released.

More than 1 million people were warned to leave in the Carolinas, and a round of evacuations was ordered in coastal Virginia as the storm drew closer.

The storm was picking up speed — a good sign — and moving northeast at 15 mph, up 5 mph from two hours earlier.

Chief Meteorologist Chris Hohmann said the new data indicates we may be rid of Dorian in about 12 hours. The eye of the storm had become somewhat ragged, but it remains a formidable storm.

“By tomorrow evening, it’s out to sea,” Hohmann said.

RELATED: 20 tornadoes reported in the Carolinas as Hurricane Dorian nears coast, one touches down at Emerald Isle

The National Hurricane Center’s projected track showed Dorian passing near or over North Carolina’s Outer Banks early Friday, lashing the thin line of islands that stick out from the U.S. coast like a boxer’s chin. Dorian was then expected to peel away from the shoreline.

“Hurricane Dorian is ready to unleash its fury on our state,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Thursday news conference. “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 said there were 68 shelters open with more than 2,200 evacuees in them. 527 North Carolina National Guard soldiers were activated. Many towns enforced curfews.

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