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The Latest: High winds damage homes in South Carolina

ABACO, Bahamas (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local): 9:45 a.m. In South Carolina, a North Myrtle Beach city spokesman says officials believe one or more suspected tornadoes from Hurricane Dorian damaged several residences and mobile homes in the city Thursday morning.

Spokesman Patrick Dowling tells The Associated Press no injuries were reported, but several residents were taken to shelters. City officials in North Myrtle Beach say rain is combining with the rising ocean to exacerbate flooding. At least 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain had fallen by 9 a.m. and strong winds blowing onto the shore were preventing the tide from fully receding.

Dorian is currently moving up the East Coast as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

8:35 a.m.

More than 215,000 homes and businesses are without power as Hurricane Dorian lashes the southeastern coast with wind and rain.

More than 200,000 of the outages were being reported Thursday morning in the coastal counties of South Carolina. But lights are also out in southeastern Georgia.

Outages will likely spread up the East Coast as Dorian moves north. Duke Energy projects Dorian will knock out electrical service to about 700,000 customers in the Carolinas.

Forecasters say Dorian is a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph (185 kph).

The storm devastated the Bahamas as it moved over the islands earlier this week, causing at least 20 deaths.

8:35 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says crews are ready to respond to any hazardous travel conditions that might develop from Hurricane Dorian.

The department said in a news release that high winds, heavy rain and coastal and tidal flooding are forecast to affect the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula on Thursday and Friday. VDOT says it has staged staff, equipment and materials in those areas.

Crews also performed drainage clearing in low-lying areas to help keep water flowing off the roadway.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency ahead of Dorian's approach, allowing the commonwealth to mobilize extra resources, people and equipment.

8:35 a.m.

The mayor of Tybee Island, Georgia, says Hurricane Dorian inflicted little damage on the small beach community.

Jason Buelterman (BEL-tuhr-man) said Thursday morning the storm spared the island's 3,000 residents from flooding as it passed near the Georgia coast overnight. He says the high tide a 1 a.m. was about 3 feet (1 meter) lower than forecasters had anticipated.

The lone highway linking the island to Savannah on the mainland remained open throughout the night.

Many Tybee Island residents sandbagged their low-lying and evacuated inland ahead of Dorian after suffering damage from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma the following year. Hundreds of homes on the island flooded during Irma.

8:05 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is swirling off the South Carolina coast, kicking up surf and sending howling winds through Charleston.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Thursday morning are near 115 mph (185 kph), making it a Category 3 hurricane.

Dorian is centered about 70 miles (115 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston and is moving north-northeast near 8 mph (13 kph). But after Friday, the storm's forecast track shows it picking up speed and quickly moving past New England over the weekend.

Earlier this week, Dorian left wide devastation and at least 20 dead in striking the northern Bahamas.

6 a.m.

Constant, howling winds from Dorian are blowing through downtown Charleston, South Carolina as the Category 3 hurricane blows off the coast of the Carolinas. Hurricane-force winds are remaining just offshore but tropical storm-force winds are whipping around and rattling the windows of a 14-floor hotel on the Ashley River.

The surf is kicked up and cascading into the US highway 17 bridge connecting the port city's historic downtown to a neighborhood west of the river.

The National Hurricane Center says the Category 3 storm is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston, with top sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) and tropical-storm force winds extending up to 195 miles (315 kilometers) outward.

5:00 a.m.

Hurricane conditions are likely over portions of the Carolinas Thursday as Dorian gets closer to the South Carolina coast.

The National Hurricane Center says the Category 3 storm, is about 80 miles (128 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 8 mph (13 kph) off the coast. It's expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and deadly winds.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina until 10:15 a.m. EDT.

4:30 a.m.

Duke Energy says it has resources from 23 states and Canada ready to respond to the hundreds of thousands of power outages expected from the dangerous and deadly Hurricane Dorian as it heads toward the Carolinas.

In a news release on its website, the North Carolina-based utility said Wednesday it expects the storm to cause 700,000 outages and has bought in line workers, tree crews, damage assessors and other crews. The workers are being funneled into temporary cities throughout North and South Carolina and will be ready to restore power outages "as soon as it's safe to do so."

The release says the Florence Civic Center, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was transformed overnight to house about 1,500 of these crews.

Customer Delivery Ops Manager Jonathan Evans says, "We want them to be as close to the impacted areas as we can but still be out of harm's way."

Dorian, again a Category 3 storm, is about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph) off the coast. It's expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and deadly winds.

3:45 a.m.

The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center advises that all bridges are a Code Yellow due to 35 mph winds as Hurricane Dorian approaches. The Charleston Police Department tweeted the center's advisory early Thursday warning that high profile vehicles will be advised not to high span, 65 feet or higher, or exposed bridges and that the public should use extreme caution if they decide to travel over bridges.

High profile vehicles include box-type trucks, tractor trailers, motor homes and those pulling travel trailers, box-type trailers, large sail boats or other water craft.

Dorian, again a Category 3 storm, is about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph) off the coast. It's expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and deadly winds.

3:00 a.m.

Hundreds of shelter animals from coastal South Carolina have arrived in Delaware ahead of Hurricane Dorian's expected landfall.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports the animals were moved from shelters at risk of flooding. The Category 3 storm began making its way across the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to flood low-lying areas and bring enough rain to cause flash flooding concerns well inland.

Nearly 200 animals were airlifted off the endangered coast and picked up by Brandywine Valley SPCA early Tuesday. About 150 other animals were expected to arrive that night via land transport from Best Friends Animal Society. The animals may be up for adoption throughout New England later this week.

Brandywine says the lessened South Carolina shelter populations will make space for local pets impacted by Dorian.

2:00 a.m.

Tens of thousands are without power as Hurricane Dorian is expected to bring damaging winds and life-threatening storm surges along a large portion of the southeast and mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. over the next several days.

The National Hurricane Center said early Thursday that rising water moving inland from the coastline is expected to last over the next 36 hours.

Dorian, again a Category 3 storm, is about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph). It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph) off the coast.

Over 16,800 in Charleston County and over 6,800 in Beaufort County are without power, according to Dominion Energy. Berkeley Electric Cooperative reports another 4,900 in Charleston County.

Dorian will continue to approach the coast of South Carolina Thursday morning with some fluctuations in intensity, followed by slow weakening through Saturday.

11:30 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian, back to a Category 3 storm, has begun raking the Southeast U.S. seaboard, threatening to inundate low-lying coasts from Georgia to southwest Virginia with a dangerous storm surge after its deadly mauling of the Bahamas.

Dorian had crashed into the island nation as its strongest hurricane on record earlier this week, but has weakened greatly since — down from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm before increasing again late Wednesday. Dorian still boasts dangerously high winds of 115 mph (185 kph) as it is sideswiping the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

In South Carolina, more than 1,500 people have sought refuge in 28 shelters as authorities worried about the historic and vulnerable port city of Charleston. Dorian was centered overnight about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south of Charleston and moving north, just offshore.

Earlier this week, Dorian left wide devastation and at least 20 dead in striking the northern Bahamas.

For AP's complete coverage of the hurricane: https://apnews.com/Hurricanes.

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