By MEG KINNARD
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Hurricane Dorian, back to a Category 3 storm, has begun raking the Southeast U.S. seaboard, threatening to inundate low-lying coasts from Georgia to southwest Virginia with a dangerous storm surge after its deadly mauling of the Bahamas.

Dorian had crashed into the island nation as its strongest hurricane on record earlier this week, but has weakened greatly since - down from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm before increasing again late Wednesday. Dorian still boasts dangerously high winds of 115 mph (185 kph) as it is sideswiping the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

In South Carolina, more than 1,500 people have sought refuge in 28 shelters as authorities worried about the historic and vulnerable port city of Charleston. Dorian was centered overnight about 105 miles (168 kilometers) south of Charleston and moving north, just offshore.

Earlier this week, Dorian left wide devastation and at least 20 dead in striking the northern Bahamas.

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