Hurricane Dorian

The National Hurricane Center forecasts Hurricane Dorian will pass close to the North Carolina coast late Thursday into Friday, bringing high winds, rain and life-threatening storm surge. (National Hurricane Center graphic)

BOGUE BANKS — With Hurricane Dorian forecast to arrive late Thursday, people in Carteret County are getting ready to ride out the storm.

State officials Tuesday called for a mandatory evacuation of the barrier islands, including Bogue Banks. Severe weather has already been seen in Carteret County; in Emerald Isle, a tornado touched down Thursday morning, starting out as a waterspout that came ashore and hit the Boardwalk RV Park off Island Drive.

In Atlantic Beach, a curfew will go into effect at 7 p.m. Thursday. Town Manager David Walker said Thursday morning that most of the visitors and many residents have already evacuated.

“It’s a ghost town,” Mr. Walker said. “Town hall is closed. There are locals, residents that are staying, but most of our visitors have left. We made all our (hurricane) preparations Wednesday. We’re ready to deploy our pumps if we get flooding.”

To the west of Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores Town Manager Brian Kramer said they have a Hurricane Good Neighbor program, where families planning to stay during a hurricane or tropical storm register so town staff knows who and where they are.

“Wee have about 150 families verified they’re staying,” Mr. Kramer said. “We have their names, addresses, ages and medical needs.”

As of Thursday morning, Mr. Kramer said things were going “very well” in Pine Knoll Shores.

“We were mutual aid called to the tornado in Emerald Isle,” he said. “The important thing now is we’re telling people they don’t need to be outside now.”

Further west along Bogue Banks, Indian Beach Town Manager Tim White said Thursday morning they weren’t even getting any rain. However, town staff wasn’t leaving things to chance.

“We requested two water pumps, and they just got here,” Mr. White said. “We’re about as ready as we can be; there’s maybe 150 residents who are going to try and ride out the storm (in town).”

Gov. Roy Cooper held a media conference at 10 a.m. Thursday. The governor said the message Thursday morning is “get to safety.”

“This won’t be a brush-by,” Gov. Cooper said. “The latest forecast is dire. The new forecast has sustained winds of 100 mph. I’ve activated more N.C. National Guard. As Dorian moves along our coast, there will be flash flooding. It only takes a few inches to wash vehicles off the roads. Don’t drive on flooded roads. We know there’s going to be some damage; be ready, stay alert.”

N.C. Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said the state emergency response team is fully activated as of Thursday morning. Strong winds and tornadoes have already been reported in North Carolina.

“The greatest impacts will be felt today and tomorrow,” Mr. Sprayberry said. “Our assets are staged and prepared for an aggressive response.”

N.C. Highway Patrol Col. Glen NcNeill said he was pleased to report the Highway Patrol is prepared and ready to respond to emergencies.

“Major roadways are flowing as expected,” he said. “We expect to see roadways flooded.”

Like the governor, Col. McNeill advised residents not to drive on flooded roads. N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said emergency ferry routes have been established, and the state ports in Morehead City and Wilmington will be closed Thursday and Friday.

The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory at 11 a.m. Thursday, the latest advisory available. The NHC said Dorian is about 50 miles east-southeast of Charleston, S.C. and 140 miles south-southwest of Wilmington.

Dorian has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend out from its center about 60 miles, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward about 195 miles.

A storm surge warning and hurricane warning in effect along all of coastal North Carolina remains in effect. Rainfall from 6-12 inches, with isolated areas receiving up to 15 inches, is also forecast for the state coast.

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