Hurricane Dorian, packing powerful winds and dangerous storm surges, made its first landfall in the United States over North Carolina's Outer Banks on Friday morning.
The Category 1 storm reached Cape Hatteras at 9 a.m. By early afternoon, Dorian was about 125 miles from Cape Hatteras and was traveling northeast at 21 mph with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 2 p.m. update.
The storm left virtually all of scenic Cape Hatteras without power Friday morning, according to the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative. The utility company said in a tweet Friday afternoon that crews were beginning to access the damage caused by the storm.
Across the Tar Heel State, more than 200,000 households and businesses were without power Friday morning, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. As of 3 p.m., that number had dropped to just over 155,500.
In rural Hyde County, just across Pamlico Sound from Cape Hatteras, residents were ordered to evacuate on Thursday.
Despite images of flooding on the Outer Banks, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday he is cautiously optimistic that his state could dodge the worst damage.
He thanked residents for evacuating, which helps to keep first responders free to handle other emergencies.
“Just preliminary reports we’re getting from local government officials, at least in the southeastern part of the state, the storm hasn’t been as bad as feared,” Cooper told reporters on Friday.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
The National Hurricane Center said Dorian's center is expected to move away from the North Carolina coast over the next several hours as the storm heads toward New England and the Canadian province of Novia Scotia.
Emergency response officials in eastern Maine and Nova Scotia are now bracing themselves for tropical storm conditions that could hit them by weekend’s end.
As of 5 a.m., Dorian was 22 miles east of Cape Lookout in North Carolina, part of the low-lying islands that make up the state’s Outer Banks, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and "hurricane-force sustained winds," the hurricane center said.
The center warned that "life-threatening storm surge" and dangerous winds were expected along portions of the North Carolina coast, portions of southeast Virginia and the southern Chesapeake Bay on Friday.
A video obtained by NBC News Friday showed transformer explosions in Wilmington, North Carolina, as it was being lashed by strong winds and rainfall while photos of the damage in Brunswick County showed rows of houses with torn-up roofs.