Dorian creeps up US coast; near-record storm surge feared

Dorian creeps up US coast; near-record storm surge feared

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Weakened but still deadly, Hurricane Dorian crept up the Southeastern coast of the United States on Wednesday and millions were ordered to evacuate as forecasters said near-record levels of seawater and rain could inundate the area.

The Category 2 storm, which ravaged the Bahamas with more than a full day of devastating wind and rain, threatened to swamp low-lying regions from Georgia to southeastern Virginia as it moved northward.

Dorian appeared likely to get dangerously near Charleston, which is particularly vulnerable since it is located on a peninsula. A flood chart posted by the National Weather Service projected a combined high tide and storm surge around Charleston Harbor of 10.3 feet (3.1 meters); The record, 12.5 feet (4 meters), was set by Hugo in 1989.

Stores and restaurants were boarded up with wood and corrugated metal in the city's historic downtown, and about 830,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders on the South Carolina coast. More than 400 people were in state-operated shelters statewide, and more were expected.

Mark Russell, a homeless U.S. Army veteran, said he had been in a shelter since Monday awaiting slow-moving Dorian.

"Once the rain comes and the wind hits, it's going to blow left, right, in and out, and there's not really a place that you can find" to avoid it, said Russell, 63.

In North Carolina, where authorities said an 85-year-old man died after falling from a ladder while getting ready for the storm, Gov. Roy Cooper warned about the threat of storm surge and flash flooding from heavy rains. The Outer Banks were particularly vulnerable.

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