UPDATE: Hurricane Dorian made landfall over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at about 9 a.m. Friday.

The storm was packing a powerful punch as it skimmed along North Carolina's coast, bringing fierce winds and a dangerous storm surge, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Residents were told to shelter in place Thursday while more than a quarter-of-a-million homes and businesses were left without power on the South Carolina coast in the storm’s wake.

"Get to safety and stay there," Gov. Roy Cooper said. "This won't be a brush-by. Whether it comes ashore or not, the eye of the storm will be close enough to cause extensive damage in North Carolina."

As of 5 a.m., Dorian, now a Category 1 hurricane, was 22 miles east of Cape Lookout in North Carolina, part of the low-lying islands that make up the state’s Outer Banks, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and "hurricane-force sustained winds," the hurricane center said.

The center warned that "life-threatening storm surge" and dangerous winds were expected along portions of the North Carolina coast, portions of southeast Virginia and the southern Chesapeake Bay on Friday.

It said on its forecast track, the center of Dorian is expected to move near or over the coast of North Carolina during the next several hours.

“There is a 30 percent chance the storm will make landfall in the next five hours, potentially over Cape Hatteras,” said NBC News meteorologist Don Tsouhnikas.

Tsouhnikas said strong winds, rain and storm surge should subside as the storm begins its track toward Canada later on Friday.

"The worst of it will come this morning," he said. "Conditions should improve this afternoon across North Carolina."

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to move to the southeast of extreme southeastern New England Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Two storm-related deaths were confirmed in North Carolina Thursday night.

A video obtained by NBC News Friday showed transformer explosions in Wilmington, North Carolina, as it was being lashed by strong winds and rainfall while photos of the damage in Brunswick County showed rows of houses with torn-up roofs.

Officials in Emerald Isle said a tornado that spun off from Hurricane Dorian hit the beach town as Dorian approached on Thursday, causing severe damage to a trailer park and the surrounding area.

A storm surge warning is in effect for Surf City, North Carolina to Poquoson, Virignia, Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, and Hampton Roads.

The hurricane center said the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Northeastern North Carolina is expected to get an additional three to eight inches of rainfall, with up to 15 inches in isolated areas.

The hurricane center warned tornadoes were also possible across eastern North Carolina into southeastern Virginia Friday morning.

The storm made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane in the Bahamas last Sunday, where at least 30 people have been confirmed dead so far and the destruction is said to be “apocalyptic."