Hurricane Dorian is on a collision course with the Carolinas, where the devastating storm is expected to make landfall as early as Thursday, with gusts of up to 74 mph and storm surges of up to seven feet.
The storm, which remained a Category 2 hurricane late Wednesday, could hit the coastline somewhere between Hilton Head, South Carolina, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where mandatory evacuation orders and hurricane warnings remain in effect, AccuWeather said.
“We thought it was coming and here it is,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said at a briefing.
“Our message today is, if you are still in an evacuation zone, you still have time to get out. But time is running out.”
His North Carolina counterpart echoed calls for coastal residents to take the weakening storm seriously.
“Please don’t let familiarity get in the way of good judgment,” Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday.
“Don’t try to ride it out. It’s not worth putting your life at risk or endangering first responders who might have to save you.”
More than 2 million residents along the southeast Atlantic Coast fled inland in the wake of Dorian’s arrival, and preparations continued Wednesday, with first responders and National Guard troops deployed for the worst.
A phalanx of 390 soldiers and seven urban search-and-rescue teams stood ready to respond to emergencies in nine locations in North Carolina.
They are equipped with 138 vehicles — 56 designed to travel in high water — and 19 aircraft, Cooper said.
Officials said storm surges and flooding were the biggest danger along coastal area, with surge warnings in effect from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the North Carolina-Virginia boundary.
“It is the water that kills people,” McMaster said. “It is the water that is the real danger, and it is clear that we are going to have a lot of water.”
North Carolina suffered its first storm-related fatality Wednesday, when an 85-year-old Columbus County man died after falling from a ladder while prepping his home for the storm.
Dorian, which struck the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane Sunday with devastating 225-mph wind gusts and 23-foot surges, has claimed at least 20 other lives.
Dorian lost steam as it moved west, but has picked up forward speed and size. It was moving at 9 mph and spewing tropical-storm force winds up to 175 miles from the eye Wednesday.
President Trump said Federal Emergency Management Agency authorities were monitoring the situation and were “well-prepared” for the arrival of the hurricane on land.
He hoped that Georgia and the Carolinas “get lucky” and dodge the storm, as Florida did.
“It looks like Florida is going to be in great shape in comparison to what we thought,” the president said. “We don’t know where the hurricane is turning. We are well-prepared.”
Trump said the nation was also helping the Bahamas “in a humanitarian way,” by diverting relief supplies that had been set aside for Puerto Rico and Florida, which were spared heavy damage when Dorian changed course.
It’s “inevitable” Dorian it will hit the coast, but the exact location remains in doubt, forecasters said.
It is expected to continue losing strength as it moves into the northeast Friday, forecasters said.
No longer the monster storm that ravaged the Caribbean, Dorian will bring wind and light rain to the Big Apple and will feel “like a lower-end nor’easter,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist David Dombek told The Post.
He said the highest winds are expected on Long Island, where gusts could reach 50 mph before the storm moves on Saturday.
Dombek did caution about rip tides along beaches in the Empire State.
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