Tornado watch in effect through 7 p.m.; Dorian remains Cat 3 hurricane

NWS graphic

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for parts of eastern North Carolina, including Dare County, through 7 p.m. tonight as Hurricane Dorian continues moving toward the Outer Banks.

The entire region remains under hurricane and storm surge warnings ahead of the storm, which remained a Category 3 hurricane Thursday morning with sustained winds of 115 mph.

Storm surge remains a major concern with water levels expected to rise very rapidly, particularly soundside Outer Banks, as the storm passes.

Expected storm surge. [NWS graphic]

Storm surge inundation will begin this morning south of Cape Lookout, then expand north and into the sounds/rivers by Thursday afternoon into the overnight. The worst conditions for Outer Banks will be Friday.

Maximum sustained winds during Dorian are expected to range from 97 mph for Ocracoke and Hatteras to 81 mph for the northern Outer Banks. Gusts up to 123 mph are possible.

Maximum sustained winds expected for Hurricane Dorian. [NWS graphic]

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.