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Hurricane Dorian lashed the Carolinas with driving rain and fierce winds as it neared the U.S. East Coast Thursday (Sept. 5) after devastating the Bahamas and killing at least 20 people.

The International Business Times reported that parts of downtown Charleston were flooded, with video footage showing people kayaking in the dark in gushing knee-deep water in the stately city on the coast of South Carolina. Trees bent in wind gusting in from the sea.

Dozens of streets were reported closed as up to 20 inches of rain were forecast and forecasters warned of flash flooding.

As day broke, the Category 3 hurricane was 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Charleston, moving north along the coast with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the Carolinas, Georgia and elsewhere were under evacuation orders as the US girded for its taste of a storm that caused severe destruction in the Bahamas.

Power has been knocked out to more than 80,000 customers in South Carolina, and at least 22 shelters have been set up for evacuees, the state emergency management agency said on Twitter.

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