Updated 7:48 p.m.

The center of Hurricane Dorian is just south of Wilmington and Eastern North Carolina will see worsening conditions later tonight and into the early hours Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

“Some areas are seeing a little lull right now but more rain bands will be coming through,” said Meteorologist Frank Nocera with the National Weather Service in Newport.

Nocera said residents need to stay vigilant.

“The hurricane is just south of Wilmington and will be tracking along the North Carolina coast,” he said. “The worst is still to come.”

Nocera said around 10 p.m. the area will start seeing the storm’s solid wind field, when there will be constant winds.

Storm threats also include heavy rain, significant storm surge and possible tornadoes.

The good news is Hurricane Dorian will move through quickly and conditions will improve by Friday afternoon.

“The center will come close to Morehead City just before sunrise and conditions will start improving after that.”

 

Updated 6:24 p.m.
Dorian continues its track at 45 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach and 75 miles SSW of Wilmington.

It still has maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and is moving northeast at 10 mph.

Recent sustained winds of 50 mph were observed in Southport.

New Bern and the surrounding areas are still getting heavy rain from the outer rain bands of Dorian.

Forecasters still see New Bern getting its most impact from Dorian throughout the night Thursday into Friday morning.

 

Updated 5:21 p.m.

The eye (center) of Dorian is still located off the South Carolina coast (45 miles SSE of Myrtle Beach) and 85 miles SSW of Wilmington.

Mike Lee, of the National Weather Service out of Newport said the heavy rains New Bern residents were seeing is part of the outer rain bands of Dorian.

Many people received "TORNADO WARNING" alerts on their cell phones and while one hasn't been reported in New Bern, Lee said people should still take them seriously.

"Just because the wind isn't blowing at the time or it looks like nothing is really happening, that doesn't mean that it won't in 10 minutes or in 30 minutes," Lee said.

"We send out tornado warnings when one has been spotted or when we think one may be able to form."

As for what New Bern and the region can expect, Lee said mostly a lot of rain over the next 12 hours.

Dorian currently has 105 maximum sustained winds and is moving northeast at 10 mph.

 

Updated 3:51 p.m.

The center of Hurricane Dorian is still located off the South Carolina coast but the storm's large size means Eastern North Carolina is already feeling its impacts.

A Thursday morning band spawned tornadoes, including one causing significant damage in Emerald Isle. The threat of tornadoes will continue.

“As the outer bands move onshore, really anybody is at risk. Don’t let your guard down,” said meteorologist Erik Heden with the National Weather Service in an afternoon briefing.

Flash flood warnings are in effect in Onslow and Duplin counties until 7:30 p.m. According to the NWS, these areas saw up to four inches of rain in earlier storms and could see an additional one to 4 inches over the next few hours as a rain band moves through.

Once the center gets closer, Heden said there is concern about storm surge and the rapid rise of water along areas along the coast, especially the Outer Banks sounds and Down East Carteret County.

“Water that gets pushed up into the Pamlico river, into the Neuse River and as the center of the storm moves to our north and east, there will be a rapid rise as it moves back to the west,” Heden said.

 

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Updated 2:05 p.m.

According to the National Weather Service, if you can hang on until 2 or 3 a.m., the worst of Hurricane Dorian will be moving on.

And, while Dorian will not bring a storm surge or rain amounts as high as Florence did last September, forecaster Morgan Simms said it will still be a dangerous storm.

Simms said the area will begin to experience severe weather between 6 and 8 p.m., with the storm peaking about 10 p.m. Winds will begin to decrease at around 1-2 a.m., an NOAA spokesman said.

The storm surge in Pamlico County and on the Neuse River will be anywhere from four to seven feet and, he said, we will begin seeing it in the evening when “the winds really begin to pick up over the water,” with the highest point being sometime near midnight.

He stated that, while tornadoes have been a problem in some areas, Craven County had not yet experienced one.

He said that the maximum winds across Craven County will vary widely.

Havelock can expect sustained winds of 70 mph while New Bern will see sustained winds of around 50 miles per hour.

As to rain, he said both Pamlico and much of eastern Craven County can expect 6-12 inches of rain with isolated areas receiving as much as 15 inches.

He added that things could be a little better or a little worse, depending on how the hurricane wobbles. “Any little wobble of the track could certainly put Pamlico County stronger in the lens,” he noted, adding that “those wobbles are very, very difficult to predict.”

“It’s not going to be Florence rain,” he said. “It was unfathomable, that rain. But still it’s significant. Regardless, there will be a threat of significant damage from winds, storm surge and flooding rain.”

 

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Updated 12:28 p.m.

David Glenn, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, said Eastern North Carolina is “just getting started” with Hurricane Dorian.

“We developed one rain band and there is another down in Wilmington,” he said. “So we have to continuously watch the radar for signatures and flash flooding. The eye itself is still in Georgetown, South Carolina. We have a while before it comes to North Carolina.”

Eastern North Carolina has seen some impacts, however, including reports of five tornadoes in the Onslow and Carteret areas.

A storm surge warning from the NWS remains in effect for Jacksonville, Richlands and Half Moon while a Hurricane warning is in still in effect for coastal Onslow, Carteret, Hatteras Island, inland Onslow, Jones, Pamlico, and southern Craven.

A tropical storm warming is in effect for Duplin, Greene and Lenoir counties.

Hurricane Dorian is about 280 miles southwest of Buxton and 200 miles southwest of Morehead City. The movement remains north-northeast at 8 miles per hour.

 

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Updated 11:42 a.m.

After spending nearly 12 hours as a Category 3 hurricane, Dorian is back down to Category 2 status as of 11 a.m. Thursday.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to 110 mph, while it continues to make its way north-northeast at a speed of 8 mph.

Dorian sits about 140 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, but its outer bands are currently slashing parts of the North Carolina coast.

There hasn’t been any noticeable changes to Dorian’s forecasted path, with the eye of the storm expected to pass just off the Cape Fear coast late Thursday or Friday morning.

 

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Tornado warnings are in effect in Eastern North Carolina as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

A report of a tornado has been confirmed in Onslow County. It was reported at 8:05 a.m. about three miles west of Sneads Ferry, according to the National Weather Service.

“A spotter reported it and radar confirmed it,” said meteorologist Tony Saavedra.

Saavedra said they have not been able to do a survey of the area yet and could not confirm whether or not there was damage.

The potential for isolated tornadoes is a threat across Eastern North Carolina today and into tomorrow as Hurricane Dorian makes a pass through the area.

The current track shows the hurricane’s center passing just offshore before making landfall around Cape Lookout/Cape Hatteras.

The wind and rains will gradually increase today, with sustained tropical force winds moving into the area in the evening around 6 p.m. and more coastal areas seeing sustained hurricane-force winds.

“The closer to the center of the storm you are, the stronger the winds,” Saavedra said.

Inland areas around Kinston are expected to see sustained winds of 40-to-50 mph, with New Bern area around 60 mph or more and the threat increasing closer to coast. Inland Onslow is forecast to see 70-to-80 mph and sustain winds around 90 mph or more near the water.

With the winds comes a high threat of life-threatening storm surge as the storm passes.

“Water levels will rise rapidly, especially on the sound side of the Outer Banks,” said meteorologist Erik Heden during a morning briefing.

Storm surge inundation will begin this morning south of Cape Lookout, then expand north and into the sounds/rivers by Thursday afternoon into the overnight. Areas from Surf City to Cape Lookout are expected to see surge 4-to-7 feet above ground.

Along the beaches, high waves will add to surge levels.

River flooding with most large rivers such as the Neuse are expected to reach minor to moderate flood levels. Small rivers, creeks, and streams that see more than 12 inches of rain could potentially experience major flooding.

The flash flood risk will be highest across the area late tonight through Friday morning with rain rates more than 2 inches per hour at times for some areas.