Hurricane Dorian howled over North Carolina's Outer Banks on Friday — a much weaker but still dangerous version of the storm that wreaked havoc in the Bahamas — flooding homes in the low-lying ribbon of islands and throwing a scare into year-round residents who chose to tough it out.
Its winds down to 90 mph (145 kph), the Category 1 hurricane lashed communities with rain and surging seawater as it hugged the islands. Around midmorning, its eye came ashore at Cape Hatteras, Dorian's first landfall on the U.S. mainland.
"It's bad," Ann Warner, who owns Howard's Pub on Ocracoke Island, said by telephone. "The water came up to the inside of our bottom floor, which has never had water." She said a skylight blew out and whitecaps coursed through her front yard and underneath her elevated house.
"We're safe," Warner added. "But it's certainly a mess."
Another Ocracoke Island resident, bookshop owner Leslie Lanier, said via text message that the first floors of some homes had flooded and people had been forced to retreat to their attics, but that the water had already begun to drop.
"We are flooding like crazy," she said, adding: "I have been here 32 years and not seen this."
As of 9 a.m. EDT, Dorian was moving northeast at 14 mph (22 kph). It is expected to remain a hurricane as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard through Saturday, veering far enough offshore that its hurricane-force winds are unlikely to pose any threat to land in the U.S.
More than 370,000 people were without electricity in the Carolinas and Virginia as Dorian moved up the coast.
At least four people were killed in the Southeast. All were men in Florida or North Carolina who died in falls or by electrocution while trimming trees, putting up storm shutters or otherwise getting ready for the hurricane. (AP)