Dorian makes landfall on Cape Hatteras, as mid-Atlantic coast continues to be battered with heavy rain and gusty winds

Alex Sosnowski

As Dorian grows in size, the hurricane will continue unleashing a broader area of strong winds and heavy rain as it continues on a northeastward path through Friday.

On Wednesday morning, Dorian regained Category 3 major hurricane status with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. However, by Thursday afternoon, the storm had weakened again and was a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 100 mph and a movement to the northeast at 10 mph.

By early Friday morning, Dorian was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. Mid-morning on Friday, the National Hurricane center declared that Dorian made its first official landfall in the United States on Cape Hatteras.

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The western part of Dorian's eyewall brushed Cape Lookout, North Carolina, early Friday morning but an official landfall was not declared.

The immediate coast of North Carolina can expect hurricane conditions with gusts at or above 74 mph, coastal flooding with a storm surge of 4-7 feet, torrential rainfall average 6-12 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 15 inches into the afternoon on Friday.

Torrentail rain will also extentd into southeastern parts of Virginia.

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The above radar image shows the eye of Hurricane Dorian slipping over Cape Hatteras, making its first landfall in the United States on Friday morning.

Winds will be high enough along the Carolina coast to cause widespread tree damage and power outages with some property damage.

Dorian produced a flurry of brief, spin-up tornadoes in eastern North Carolina on Thursday, and there will be a continued risk of isolated tornadoes across the region through Friday morning. While the majority of these tornadoes will be of EF-0, or EF-1 strength, they can be strong enough to knock over trees and damage roofs well inland of the coast.

Winds 12:30 pm Sept.6

Away from the immediate coastline, areas from North Carolina to southeastern Virginia can expect strong tropical storm conditions. In this swath, sporadic power outages and tree damage are likely with minor property damage.

Wave action can result in water damage above the predicted 4- to 7-foot storm surge.

The storm surge can also be locally higher along some of the back bays and tidal rivers where water rainfall and runoff meet up with wind-driven water.

As anticipated, portions of Charleston, South Carolina, experienced significant inundation on Thursday morning. Several other communities prone to coastal flooding along the North Carolina and southeastern Virginia coast are likely to be inundated from Dorian's storm surge.

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Some roads to the barrier islands in the region will be cut off due to high water and powerful winds. Each high tide cycle will bring progressively higher water levels until the storm passes by to the northeast of a location.

Damaging winds, moderate flooding and storm surge are expected along the coast of the southeastern United States. As a result, Dorian's impact is projected to be a 2 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes.

Along the coast, the long-duration high water levels and pounding waves will result in moderate to major beach erosion.

No one should venture into the surf in this swath as well as through the mid-Atlantic due to the high frequency of strong rip currents and powerful waves that can cause serious injury or worse.

While overall conditions, especially the extent and magnitude of river flooding will generally be less severe than that of Matthew, people should not venture out during the storm, and those living in flood-prone areas should heed evacuation orders.

Matthew stalled over the Carolinas. Dorian has picked up forward speed, which will produce substantially less rain on the coast and across the interior, when compared to Matthew.

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Still, where spiral bands linger for a time and create a fire hose-effect, rainfall can ramp up exponentially at a fast pace and lead to major flooding.

As the storm pulls away to the northeast over the Atlantic Ocean later Friday, northwest winds are likely to push water toward the Outer Banks of North Carolina from Pamlico Sound. This can cause significant coastal flooding as well.

Dorian will bring some rain, wind and coastal problems to the mid-Atlantic and New England to end this week. The storm may strike Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada, directly this weekend.

The weather will improve from south to north across Georgia on Friday and the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia this weekend. However, for a time, tropical storm conditions may persist, even if the sun makes an appearance.

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