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Ophelia lashes the NC coast

We’re fine here in the Triangle (it’s cloudy, with some rain), but the beaches are getting pummeled. This storm is moving really slowly, so the low-lying areas are going to get a ton of rain and will flood. (AP):

The storm had sustained wind of 80 mph Wednesday morning, up from 75 mph a few hours earlier, the National Hurricane Center said. A hurricane warning was in effect from about Georgetown, S.C., to Oregon Inlet in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, about 275 miles, and a tropical storm warning extended from Oregon Inlet to the Virginia line.

One side of Ophelia’s eyewall — the circle of strongest wind surrounding the eye — was expected to move along North Carolina’s southeast coast late Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Farther up the coast, on the Outer Banks, officials warned that Ophelia could bring 11 hours of hurricane-force wind to exposed Hatteras Island as it gets there Thursday.

A 50-foot section of street was washed away by heavy surf at Brunswick County’s Ocean Isle Beach, about 100 miles northwest of the storm’s center, and other streets were under water, emergency officials said. A message at the police department said the island’s bridge to the mainland was closed.

Some 5,800 homes and business were without power in eastern North Carolina, Progress Energy reported.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding