CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hurricane Irene moved away from the South Carolina coast Saturday morning as it headed north, slamming into North Carolina with 85 mph winds.
A tropical storm warning has been lifted for Charleston and Berkeley Counties. The warning is still in effect for Georgetown and Horry Counties. Officials are reporting beach erosion at high tide Friday evening on Edisto Island and Folly Beach.
Hurricane Irene made landfall Saturday morning in North Carolina at Cape Lookout as a Category 1 Hurricane. The massive storm pounded the Carolinas overnight with heavy rain and very gusty winds, spawning several dangerous storms, causing damage, flooding, and widespread power outages
The number of power outages in North Carolina continues to rise now that the state is taking the full brunt of Hurricane Irene, which has made landfall in the state.
More than 210,000 customers of two major utilities were without power Saturday. Progress Energy reported more than 189,000 customers without power, with more than 61,000 of those customers in New Hanover County. Other counties with a high number of outages are New Hanover with more than 61,000 and Carteret with more than 15,000.
Virginia-based Dominion Power reported more than 28,000 customers in North Carolina without power.
The storm is moving north-northeast at 14 mph. The storm is packing sustained winds of 85 mph, which makes the storm a Category 1 hurricane. That is down from 90 mph at 2 a.m. Saturday, 100 mph at 5 p.m. Friday, 110 mph at 5 a.m. Friday, and 120 m.p.h. Thursday night.
Despite the weakening, Hurricane Irene is a large storm. Hurricane force winds extend up to 90 miles out from the center of the storm. Tropical storm force winds extend 260 miles from the storm's center.
Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as four to eight feet above ground level over southern portions of the Chesapeake Bay and the eastern shore of the Delmarva Peninsula. Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as six feet above ground level along the Jersey shore.
On its current path the mid Atlantic and northeast US could be facing their worst hurricane in 50-60 years.