Hurricane Dorian closed on the waters off Myrtle Beach late in the afternoon on Thursday, after wracking Charleston with winds and flooding.
It could make landfall in North Carolina, scraping its way up the coast and into the Outer Banks.
At 5 p.m., the eye of the hurricane was 45 miles south southeast of Myrtle Beach. Its winds had dropped somewhat to 105 mph and were expected to weaken as it began to pick up speed.
Myrtle Beach reported steady winds at 26 mph with gusts at 44 mph.
Wind had slowed in downtown Charleston to 25 mph with gusts to 37 mph. Winds had dropped dramatically farther inland as the tail end of the storm cleared out.
The forecast for the Charleston area through the weekend was sunny with highs in the 90s and upper 80s at the beaches.
At the storm's peak in Charleston, gusts rose to hurricane strength in the harbor, from 75 to 80 mph.
Offshore, the Edisto Buoy located nearly 50 miles southeast of Charleston reported a 125-mph gust. A buoy just off Dewees Island north of Charleston reported a gust of 81 mph. A buoy 45 miles out to sea from McClellanville reported an 87 mph gust.
Earlier in the morning winds from Dorian were twisting up tornadoes in the Grand Strand area of Myrtle Beach and in the upper counties inland of it. Two tornadoes were confirmed.
In the early morning, waterspouts began moving onshore in Myrtle Beach, leading to a string of tornado warnings. At 7:30 a.m., tornado warnings had been issued inland for Horry, Marion and Dillon counties.
Trees had fallen and debris was scattered on roadways, on cars and buildings throughout the coastal counties, along with flooded-out spots.
A record flood tide predicted overnight never emerged, apparently because winds pushed them back some. The tide was 7.52 feet at Charleston Harbor, about 3 feet less than expected, said meteorologist Rebecca Davidson, with the National Weather Service office in North Charleston.
But flooding closed more than 50 streets or roads in downtown Charleston alone.
As of Thursday, Dorian had lasted 12 days as a named storm, making it a longer lasting storm than nine of every 10. The weary tension showed Wednesday night among everyone from social media posters to hurricane center staff, who were tracking four other storms Thursday in the Atlantic basin alone.
One staffer tweeted that it felt like the week would never end.
Meanwhile, forecasters are closely watching a storm that blew off the west African coast on Wednesday. It could be a tropical storm or worse in the Caribbean islands as early as Thursday, said meteorologist Jeff Masters, with the forecasting company Weather Underground.
"However, recurvature (turning north) into the open central Atlantic is also a good possibility, and there’s lots of time to watch this one before we need be concerned," Masters said.
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