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Hurricane strengthens along NC coast

Heavy rain was falling Wednesday morning along the North Carolina coast, where Hurricane Ophelia's slow-motion deluge could take more than two days.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | September 14, 2005

Heavy rain was falling on Wednesday morning along the North Carolina coast, where Hurricane Ophelia’s slow-motion deluge could take more than two days.

The extraordinarily slow passage along the coast means the storm could drop 15 inches of rain in eastern North Carolina.

The strongest winds will likely occur late Thursday, predicted the National Hurricane Center, before the storm makes landfall close to the Outer Banks, moves up the coastline, then churns back out to sea.

Ophelia was strengthening Wednesday morning as it continued to plod slightly inland.

The storm had sustained winds of 80-mph on Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane warning was posted from Georgetown, S.C., to Oregon Inlet in North Carolina's Outer Banks. On Wednesday morning, the storm was centered about 60 miles south of Wilmington and about 110 miles southwest of Cape Lookout on the Outer Banks.

Both North Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency.

At least 100 people checked into a shelter in an elementary school in Wilmington, North Carolina.


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