Hurricane Dorian reached landfall Friday morning near Cape Hatteras, N.C., as a Category 1 hurricane, slamming the coast with heavy rains and winds, but sparing the region from the devastation it brought this week to the Bahamas.
Auto retailers from Florida to North Carolina closed stores in anticipation of the storm, which at one point had been a powerful Category 5 hurricane that killed at least 30 people in the Bahamas. Florida had braced for the storm, but Dorian has so far steered north of the state and slowly moved along the Atlantic coast.
The National Hurricane Center had warned of tornadoes, storm surge, winds and heavy rainfall in portions of the Carolinas. Maximum sustained winds of 90 mph were reported and the storm was moving northeast at 14 mph.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation Monday for several coastal counties, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation Wednesday for several coastal areas.
CarMax reopened all of its stores in central Florida on Thursday, but five locations in Georgia and the Carolinas remained closed. A company spokeswoman said the retailer has committed $800,000 to disaster relief, partnering with the American Red Cross, Good360 and the Emergency Assistance Foundation. It's also matching $2 for every dollar its associates donate to these organizations.
Hendrick Automotive Group closed its stores in Charleston on Monday evening and shuttered its locations in Jacksonville, N.C., and Wilmington, N.C., on Wednesday afternoon.
Personnel at dealerships throughout the Carolinas' coastal region have been moving inventory to less-vulnerable locations and generally securing their stores. It is a familiar practice in the Carolinas, about a year after the area dealt with Hurricane Florence.
Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, said the state is dealing with Hurricane Dorian's glancing path. "Wind is where dealers pick up a lot of damage," he said. The association sent storm preparedness tips to dealers in the state.
Messages seeking comment were left with the automobile dealers associations in Georgia and South Carolina.
Jackie Charniga contributed to this report.