Hurricane Dorian

A sign hung from The Community Store on Ocracoke Island a month after Hurricane Dorian swept through the area. Volunteers from many organizations including Samaritan’s Purse, the American Red Cross, and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief provided hot meals, shower facilities, laundry services, cleaning supplies, and much more to island residents.
Credit Madeline Gray / For WUNC

On September 6, Hurricane Dorian swept over the North Carolina coast bringing with it 110 mph winds. The storm prompted extreme flash flooding on Ocracoke Island and spawned a tornado that tore through a trailer park on Emerald Isle. FEMA denied individual assistance to residents of four North Carolina counties including Hyde County, which includes Ocracoke Island. Before reaching the North Carolina coast, Dorian struck the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane and was regarded as the worst natural disaster in that country's history.

Below is our ongoing coverage of the hurricane and its impact on North Carolina.

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Ben Finley / AP Photo

When Hurricane Dorian pounded the wisp of earth that is Ocracoke Island, a wall of Atlantic seawater flooded Bob Chestnut’s home, surf shop and four vehicles.

Volunteers with Samaritan's Purse work on cleaning out a house in an area of Ocracoke Island that was heavily flooded during Hurricane Dorian.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC


Visitors are now allowed back on Ocracoke Island nearly three months after record flooding from Hurricane Dorian. The September storm produced flash flooding that saw water rise several feet in less than an hour. The flooding broke modern records and damaged hundreds of structures on the island. Authorities reopened the island to tourists this week. 

view of flooded I-95 after Hurricane Matthew
Jay Price / WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed into law bills designed to help his cash-strapped Department of Transportation and the continued recovery from hurricanes Florence, Matthew and Dorian.

A pile of rubble behind a sign for cottage rentals
Connie Leinbach / Ocracoke Observer

Nearly 10 weeks after Hurricane Dorian struck North Carolina’s coast, Ocracoke Island is still under an evacuation order blocking visitors and tourism. On Monday, Nov. 11, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners agreed to allow visitors starting Nov. 22, which is the same day the island’s main road is expected to reopen. 

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

County commissioners on the North Carolina coast have moved to reopen an island ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Updated at 2:18 p.m.

The federal government has denied individual assistance for residents in four North Carolina counties hit hard by Hurricane Dorian just days after approving other funds to help local governments repair infrastructure, North Carolina's governor said Wednesday.

A sign sits along Irvin Garrish Highway a month after Hurricane Dorian hit the island.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Class is back in session on a North Carolina island which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian.

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

President Donald Trump has approved a request from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for public assistance for 14 counties affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Philip Howard sits in his house which was built in 1865 and which he renovated to historic standards in 2005.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Philip Howard is sitting in the living room of his 1860s-era Ocracoke house, tucked along a street that bears his family name.

Under his feet is a massive Oriental rug that once belonged to his mother. She worked long hours to save up for it. When Hurricane Dorian hit four weeks ago and the water rose, it looked like the rug was a goner.

Sign on a tree that reads 'Ocracoke is greater then Dorian, we got this!'
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A month after many North Carolinians witnessed little to no damage from Hurricane Dorian, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands is still desperate for help.

Photo from Ocracoke Friday morning
Courtesy of Theresa Ray

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper made another visit to Ocracoke Island today as the community recovers from Hurricane Dorian. 

The storm inundated the island with several feet of storm surge earlier this month. Cooper stopped at the island's volunteer fire department and temporary medical center. 

Strickland Farms
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

North Carolina tobacco farmers say Hurricane Dorian destroyed at least 20 to 25 percent of their total harvest, hurting the state's overall tobacco industry, according to David Thomas, of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative.

The State Emergency Response Team worked with Hyde County officials to push supplies to Ocracoke to recover from Dorian Items include such as generators, food, water, fuel, and portable shower, potties and laundry facilities.
N.C. Emergency Management / Twitter

North Carolina will get some much-needed money to help with mounting repair costs the state has incurred in response to devastating hurricanes and other storms.

The Federal Highway Administration said in a statement Tuesday that North Carolina would get $51 million for the cost of repairing roads and bridges.

Photo from Ocracoke Friday morning
Courtesy of Theresa Ray

Hurricane Dorian churned off the North Carolina coast, but by Friday evening had headed further into the Atlantic Ocean, prompting forecasters to lift hurricane and tropical storm warnings south of the Virginia-North Carolina border.

Voting sign
Wikipedia Commons

State elections officials have added early voting hours in North Carolina's 9th and 3rd Congressional Districts, where polling sites in particularly storm-prone areas had been closed because of Hurricane Dorian.

Lineman Mike Garner and Line Superintendent Shannon Inman prepare to respond to damage from Hurricane Dorian.
Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op / Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op

The lights are out for thousands of people in southeastern North Carolina as crews assess damage from Hurricane Dorian.

NWS Newport/Morehead City

Hurricane Dorian continues to move up the Atlantic coast, and while many areas were spared, it has created dangerous flooding conditions on North Carolina’s barrier islands. Flash flooding sent quickly rising waters into homes on Ocracoke Island this morning and hundreds of people may still be trapped. Gov. Roy Cooper said this morning in a briefing that communication is  limited and rescuers will have a difficult time reaching the island.

Voter stickers
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Hurricane Dorian has created new challenges in the final days of campaigning for a North Carolina congressional seat that was already getting scant attention.

A photo taken on Ocracoke Island.
National Weather Service / Morehead City

Ocracoke Island resident Leslie Lanier says some residents on the thin strip of land on North Carolina's coast have had to climb into their attics because of high water from Hurricane Dorian.

 U.S. Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, stage their Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV-P7/A1) to provide a hardened shelter for gate sentries on Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Sept. 5, 2019.
Warrant Officer Brian Lautenslager / U.S. Marine Corps

As Hurricane Dorian begins lashing Camp Lejeune, the sprawling Marine Base is unusually vulnerable because it's still badly damaged from Hurricane Florence a year ago.

Last year's storm caused more than $3 billion in damage to the base, much of it from water pouring through shredded roofs.

A satellite image of Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As Hurricane Dorian churns up the U.S. Atlantic coast, North Carolinians are experiencing strong winds and rain. The storm could cause more than 700,000 power outages in the Carolinas, according to Duke Energy predictions.


A year after Florence, Dorian restarts the cycle of disaster preparedness, damage control, and recovery. Florence’s toll was especially harsh on North Carolina’s Spanish-only speakers, who were not included in many state and local outreach efforts before and after the storm.

Damage after a tornado hit Morehead City
National Weather Service / Morehead City

Updated 5 p.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Dorian is expected to slowly weaken as it travels near and along the coasts of South and North Carolina.

In its 5 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center says Dorian has weakened slightly and remains a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

Flash Flood outlook
National Weather Service / Hurricane Center

Updated 5 p.m.

Duke Energy is projecting there could be more than 700,000 power outages due to Hurricane Dorian – including some that could last days.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

As Hurricane Dorian nears the North Carolina coast, shelters across the eastern part of the state are preparing for evacuees from coastal communities where the Governor ordered a mandatory evacuation.

At the Northgate Mall in Durham, state officials have turned a former Sears department store into a hurricane shelter. The group had set up more than 500 beds before noon and said it could add another 500 if needed.

A sign indicates a store is open in flood-damaged Lumberton, N.C.
Jay Price / WUNC

Robeson County and Lumberton suffered some of the worst damage from Hurricane Florence last year and Matthew in 2016. Now it's bracing for Dorian.

People gather outside Knightdale High School, which has been converted to an evacuation shelter for those affected by Hurricane Florence in Kinghtdale, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Several North Carolina counties will open emergency shelters ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

The National Weather Service has downgraded Hurricane Dorian to a Category 2 hurricane, however flash flooding, strong winds and rip currents are still a possibility beginning Wednesday or Thursday.

Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides. Storm surge should not be confused with storm tide, which is defined as the water level rise due to the combination of storm surge and the astr
National Hurricane Center

Forecasters are warning of significant storm surge as Hurricane Dorian slowly moves up the east coast.

National Weather Service / Hurricane Center

Updated 12:45 p.m.

Pope Francis is urging prayers for victims of Hurricane Dorian , saying they're suffering from the loss of their homes and their lives.

The SPCA of Wake County is gearing up to shelter animals in advance of Hurricane Dorian making landfall in the Carolinas.
SPCA of Wake County

Animal rescue organizations are working to get some shelter animals out of areas likely to be hit by Hurricane Dorian.