After nearly a week of paralleling the U.S. East Coast, the eye of Category 1 Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Outer Banks off North Carolina on Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.
Landfall came at Cape Hatteras at 8:35 a.m., after hours of different parts of the barrier islands falling within the edges of the storm’s eyewall.
For landfall to be official, the National Hurricane Center says the center of the eye needs to cross onto land.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials posted on Facebook at 9:10 a.m. Friday that the eye was over Buxton, and they offered a warning that flooding would soon follow.
“On the backside of the storm, winds will push water from the sound onto the islands,” the post said.
“The water can rush in quickly as wind patterns shift. Residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke Island should be prepared for extensive sound-side surge.”
Park officials posted a photo of N.C. 12 — the major highway connecting the barrier islands — completely covered with water.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper called for a mandatory evacuation of Cape Hatteras and all other barrier islands earlier this week.
Dorian, which ranged from Category 5 to Category 1 over the past week, defied expectations by refusing to weaken to a tropical storm as it neared the mid-Atlantic.
Forecasters also predicted it was not likely to make landfall, but would instead hover in the Atlantic until it reached Nova Scotia.
Sustained winds of the storm were at 90 mph as it crossed onto shore early Friday.
Dorian sent 5,000 people to shelters and left more than 200,000 without power early Friday. Multiple tornadoes were also reported in coastal counties.
Multiple counties near the North Carolina coast remained under curfews early Friday, with highways flooded, some roads washed out and fallen trees trapping people in their neighborhoods, according to social media posts.