WASHINGTON – Hurricane Dorian weakened early Friday to category 1 storm but its wind speed continued to be high at 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour) off the coast of North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the United States.
An NHC bulletin at 0500 GMT said Dorian’s eye was located 70 kilometers east-northeast of Wilmington and 85 kilometers southwest of Cape Lookout, both localities in North Carolina, as it advanced towards the northeast at 24 km/h.
The hurricane has, of late, been sweeping the coast of North Carolina and the tropical storm conditions were rapidly expanding northwards, said NHC.
As per the forecasts, Dorian could make landfall in the coming hours at the coast of North Carolina before heading to New England and Nova Scotia.
Hurricane Dorian has gone from Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale with maximum winds of up to 185 km/h, to category 1.
The storm was yet to make landfall in the US, and had caused no fatalities or major destruction.
However, Dorian wreaked havoc in the northern part of the Bahamas, especially Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, which were hit by the cyclone over the weekend with maximum intensity – category 5 – generating chaos and massive destruction.
According to the latest records of the Bahamian authorities, 30 people died on these islands because of Dorian, and the number is expected to increase as emergency crews reach more devastated areas.
United Nations Humanitarian Affairs chief Mark Lowcock said on Wednesday that the Bahamas had never experienced something of that scale, and that the impact of Dorian was enormous.