(CAPE HATTERAS, N.C.) — Hurricane Dorian is making its way for Nova Scotia, Canada, with dangerous storm surge and strong winds, after lashing the Massachusetts coast during its northward path.
Tropical storm conditions had spread throughout the southwestern portions of the Canadian province by Saturday afternoon, with winds of 100 mph. Strong winds and heavy rain are expected later Saturday, with Dorian on track to make landfall in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland during the early evening hours.
U.S. officials said residents can expect a rough surf on much of the Northeast/mid-Atlantic coastlines as Dorian, now a Category 2 storm, inches closer to Canada.
A tropical storm warning along the Massachusetts coast was canceled but remains in effect along the Maine coast.
Dorian struck North Carolina’s Outer Banks Friday as a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph, battering the barrier islands with torrential rain, ferocious winds and dangerous floodwaters.
The flooding stranded roughly 800 people on the Outer Banks’ hard-hit Ocracoke Island, where residents described the flooding as “catastrophic,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.
Leslie Lanier, who lives on Ocracoke Island, said some residents had to climb into their attics to escape the water, ABC Raleigh station WTVD reported.
Crews flew to Ocracoke Island via helicopter Friday afternoon to begin evacuations.
Among those rescued was a 79-year-old man who needed immediate attention for a medical issue, Cooper said.
The helicopter crews will rescue anyone else who is hurt or who wants to be evacuated, the governor said. No deaths or serious injuries were reported on Friday in North Carolina.
“Please continue to send prayers to the people of Ocracoke as they have a long road ahead,” the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office said.
Meanwhile, Hatteras Island, about 35 miles away from Ocracoke Island, “is literally drowning … the flooding is insane,” said Outer Banks resident Sarah Ashley.
Ashley evacuated inland but said her husband stayed behind to ride out the hurricane.
At least four people died in the Southeast as a result of Dorian preparations, according to The Associated Press, including an 85-year-old man who fell off a ladder in North Carolina while prepping his home for the storm.
At least 250,000 homes and businesses were without power across the Carolinas and Virginia on Friday as a result of the storm.
Dorian was expected to dump as much as 15 inches of rainfall in some spots of North Carolina.
The combination of downpours and storm surge as high as 7 feet could cause life-threatening flash floods, authorities warned.
South Carolina has already seen more than 10 inches of rain since the storm barreled up the coast on Thursday.
At least 20 tornadoes were reported in the Carolinas on Thursday. One tornado ripped through Emerald Isle, North Carolina, upending mobile homes and strewing debris across the roads.
Another tornado was reported in Little River, South Carolina, where one resident told ABC Florence affiliate WPDE that they heard what sounded “like a large airplane or a large train coming through.”
Before approaching the United States, Dorian slammed into the Bahamas on Sunday afternoon as a Category 5 hurricane, making the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record.
Officials say at least 43 people have died in the Bahamas due to Dorian, but the country’s health minister told a local radio station on Thursday that the final death count will be “staggering.”
The storm hovered over the archipelago’s northern islands for nearly two days, flattening homes, submerging roads and flooding an international airport.
“Everybody’s, like, in a state of shock right now. We lost everything,” one woman said. “So right now we’re in survival mode.”
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Dorian left “generational devastation” across the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, which are both in the archipelago’s northern region, east of southern Florida.
At Treasure Cay International Airport in the Abaco Islands, hundreds of desperate people waited in the intense heat Friday to leave the island on a commercial flight.
One man said he’d been waiting with his children for more than four hours.
“For the first in my life I saw a dead body,” he told ABC News, as his children were shielded from the heat under an umbrella next to him. “There is no civilization no more.”
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