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UPDATE (Sept. 5, 5 p.m.):
Schools will close for the second consecutive day Friday as locals brace for what is expected to be the worst impacts from Hurricane Dorian.
Wake County Public School System said the storm will cause "unpredictable effects ... on bus transportation and potential power failures" throughout Friday in announcing its decision to close again.
Franklin County Schools will also be closed Friday. Athletic and after-school events are also canceled.
The first signs of the hurricane, now a Category 2 off the Carolina coast, appeared in the Triangle Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service in Raleigh reported less than 0.2 inches of rain in Raleigh by 2 p.m.
Other parts of the state were more severely impacted by Dorian. Tornadoes damaged areas as nearby as Wilson County and much of the eastern part of the state was under a tornado watch. Flooding and storm surges were reported along the coast.
Wake and Franklin counties are under a tropical storm warning until further notice.
Forecasters say the worst of the wind and rain is expected overnight Thursday.
Between U.S. Highway 1 and Interstate 95, between 1 and 4 inches of rain are possible by the end of the week. That can result in flash flooding in areas with poor drainage, the weather service warns.
Wind gusts up to 60 mph may be possible. Such winds are capable of knocking down trees and power lines and causing power outages.
Some businesses in the Triangle announced early closings as they awaited Dorian's worst.
In Wake Forest, officials rescheduled the Music at Midday concert featuring Lydia Salett Dudley and Lou Padro. That concert will now be held Thursday, Oct. 3.
Also in Wake Forest, the Flaherty Park Community Center and Alston-Massenburg Center would close at 5 p.m. All evening activities at the Wake Forest Renaissance Center were cancelled Thursday.
In a statement, Sen. Thom Tillis urged citizens to heed evacuation orders and pay attention to tornado warnings.
"While homes and property can be repaired or replaced, the lives of our loved ones cannot," Tillis said. "If and when the time comes for North Carolinians to apply for assistance, please know that my office stands ready to assist you throughout process.”
Here are the phone numbers customers should call if their power goes out:
• Wake Forest Power: 919-761-7899;
• Wake Electric: 919-863-6499 or 800-743-3155;
• Duke Energy Progress: 800-419-6356.
Wake County Public School System announced changes to its make-up day schedule. The new schedule is as follows:
• Traditional-Calendar Schools: December 20
• Modified-Calendar Schools: February 17
• Leadership Academies: December 20
• Wake STEM Early College: January 3
• Vernon Malone, Wake Early College of Health Sciences, North Wake College and Career Academy, Knightdale High: October 3
• Year-Round, Track 1, 3 and 4: Saturday, November 16 and December 7. (The Sept. 7 make-up day is canceled.)
Year-Round, Track 2: No make up day.
• Barwell Road Elementary, and Walnut Creek Elementary: January 17
• Fox Road Elementary: January 29
UPDATE (Sept. 4, 3 p.m.):
Wake and Franklin county public schools will be closed to students and staff Thursday as Hurricane Dorian is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to the Triangle.
The National Weather Service Wednesday issued a tropical storm warning for Wake and Franklin counties that will remain in effect until further notice. The service is warning of winds up to 57 mph and 3 or more inches of rain that may cause flash flooding.
Downed trees, damaged buildings and power outages are all possible. A tornado is unlikely.
A small change to the track of Dorian as it approaches North Carolina could have a large impact on the forecast, officials warn.
"Due to the most recent forecasts and continued unpredictability of Hurricane Dorian, all schools in the Wake County Public School System will be closed Thursday, Sept 5," the district said. "Additional information will be released Thursday regarding the status of schools Friday."
Shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Franklin County Schools announced it, too, was canceling classes. Athletic and other after-school events are also canceled.
"Due to the unpredictability of Hurricane Dorian and from an abundance of caution, all Franklin County Schools will be closed on Thursday, September 5th for students and staff," the district said.
Wake County announced the following make-up days:
• Traditional-Calendar Schools: November 1
• Modified-Calendar Schools: January 3
• Leadership Academies: October 7
• Wake STEM Early College: October 9
• Vernon Malone, Wake Early College of Health Sciences, North Wake College and Career Academy: November 12
• Year-Round, Track 1, 3 and 4: Saturday, September 7
• Year-Round, Track 2: No make up day.
• Barwell Road and Walnut Creek Elementary: October 21
• Fox Road Elementary: November 1
Hurricane Dorian, one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, stalled over the Bahamas for hours this week.
But now officials say it's slowly on the move again. AccuWeather forecasters said Dorian was crawling north at about 1 mph, and although the formerly Category 5 storm has weakened to a Category 2, it will grow in size in the coming days.
The National Weather Service in Raleigh said Tuesday Dorian is about 600 miles south of the state capital and will impact much of the state Thursday into Friday morning.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency for all 100 counties last week and ordered mandatory evacuations along the Outer Banks, where tropical-storm-force winds and storm surges may pose deadly threats.
But officials are stressing that Central North Carolina residents also need to get prepared. In the Triangle, the National Weather Service is predicting 1-4 inches of rain and wind gusts up to 45 mph before the week is over.
Flash flooding and river flooding are possible, particularly in low areas with poor drainage. N.C. Emergency Management put the amount of flooding at less than 3 inches across central regions of the state.
Those impacts could knock down trees and power lines and cause outages. Areas east of Interstate 95 should expect stronger impacts, the weather service said. A tropical storm watch is in effect for as nearby as Wilson County.
But Dorian's track is not yet certain, and if the storm comes ashore rather than stays out at sea, its brutish strength will be felt further west. Even small deviations in the track can have a significant change to the forecast, according to N.C. Emergency Management.
“North Carolina has endured flooding from two strong hurricanes in less than three years,” Cooper said in a statement over the weekend. “Now is the time to prepare for Dorian.”
Winds across the Sandhills may still be dangerous and could damage roofs and uproot trees, the weather service is warning. That could cause some roads to be impassable. Across the Piedmont, wind may still be hazardous but may have more limited impacts.
Dorian is not expected to generate tornadoes in the Triangle, the weather service said, although state officials said isolated tornadoes remain a possibility in eastern parts of the state.
Citizens are urged to prepare a kit of emergency supplies that could be used in cases of disasters.
State officials say kits should include the following:
• 3-7 gallons of water per person
• Nonperishable and canned food (and can opener) to last 3-7 days
• Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
• Cell phone with charger
• First aid kid
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Anti-bacterial wipes
• Wrench or pliers to turn of water
• Blankets or sleeping bags for each person
• Prescription medication and glasses
• Change of clothing and sturdy shoes
• Extra keys
• Copies of insurance policies, driver's licenses, social security cards and bank records
• Fire extinguisher
• Books, games or cards
• Food and water for pets and other pet supplies.
For more information, visit readync.org or download the ReadyNC mobile app.