Ophelia pounding away

Again, things are fine here in Durham. Here’s more information on the storm’s “progress,” for lack of a better word. Sustained winds are 85 mph, up from 75 mph earlier, hurricane-force winds extending 50 miles inland from the eye.

The eyewall of Hurricane Ophelia continues to hammer the southeasetern North Carolina coast with high winds and blinding rain this afternoon. Wrightsville Beach was pounded by wind gusts as high as 78 mph this morning. At 2 p.m. EDT, the center of Ophelia’s broad eye (about 40 miles in diamater) was locatead about 30 miles east of Cape Fear. The slow NNE movement of Ophelia will result in heavy rainfall and flooding persisting in southeast North Carolina through this evening. Doppler radar estimates suggest rainfall totals approaching 12 inches just south of Wilmington, N. C. Rainfall totals of over 15 inches in localized areas are not out of the question.

FEMA has at least 200 workers on the ground. A lot more folks are now without power since last check in this AM. (AP):

Some 50,000 homes and business were without power in eastern North Carolina, including the entire barrier island community of Kure Beach — population 1,700 — south of Wilmington, Gov. Mike Easley said.

Northeast of Wilmington, Onslow County reported some docks underwater near the New River Inlet and 215 people in shelters.