Parts of historic Market Street were under a foot of water and gusting winds blew rain sideways Thursday as Hurricane Dorian continued its unrelenting advance on the U.S. coast, days after devastating parts of the Bahamas.
Hundreds of thousands of coastal residents of the Carolinas were packing up to flee their homes or were already gone. More than 250,000 homes and businesses across the state already were without power.
The historic storm, which dropped slightly to Category 2 status, was about 55 miles southeast of here at 1 p.m. Thursday with maximum sustained winds at 110 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
“It is the water that kills people,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “Water is the real danger. And it’s clear that we are going to have a lot of water.”
The center warned the storm “continues to lash the coast of the Carolinas” and hurricane conditions are likely over portions of the area later Thursday. The center of the storm was forecast to move closer to the coast of South Carolina through the day and then move near or over the coast of North Carolina overnight and Friday.
The hurricane center said Charleston Harbor was experiencing wind gusts to nearly 80 mph. Gusts almost as strong were recorded elsewhere in the state and in North Carolina, the hurricane center said.
Several tornadoes were cited in the area. Hurricane-force winds were extending outward up to 60 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
“People have to realize it’s not just about the center” of the storm, said Ken Graham, director of the hurricane center. “You have to look at the whole storm.”
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SOURCE: USA Today by John Bacon, Eric Connor and Jordan Culver