NAGS HEAD, N.C. — DOWNLOAD: 13News Now App
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Hurricane Dorian showed its strength as the eyewall moved through Nags Head Friday morning.
“It’s clearly evident that the eyewall is coming really close to where we are now,” reporter Andy Pierrotti said while standing under a hotel carport, on the sidewalk just outside the lobby.
The overhang and a glass wall protected him and his photojournalist from the brunt of the Category 1 storm, but they still had a tough time staying on their feet.
“If I step one foot out, I would be swept off my feet. Earlier, I almost fell off of my feet. That’s how strong the wind is,” Pierrotti explained as strong gusts kept him adjusting his footing.
Within an hour, conditions worsened as Hurricane Dorian’s eyewall passed over Nags Head.
Just as 13News Now’s Ashley Smith and Dan Kennedy tossed to Pierrotti for a live update, the wind whipped up. The crew had to step away from their camera shot and seek shelter back inside the hotel lobby.
The camera was still on, showing some camera gear blowing away and the doors swinging open.
The wind gusts in the area were 61 mph at the time.
Soon after, Pierrotti explained in a tweet that the glass wall that was protecting them shattered just before they were going to go live on the air.
"In the matter of moments, bam, it shattered all over us," he explained in a live reporter later in the afternoon.
The flying glass caused minor cuts on him and the photojournalist. A photographer from another news station was taken to the hospital but appeared to be okay.
“The winds are dangerous,” he tweeted with photos of their minor injuries. "We're OK, just a little shaken."
Pierrotti said the incident was a reminder of just how powerful a hurricane can be, even when you're within inches of being inside.
"You have to take this stuff seriously, and we were just outside our hotel. We thought, 'We're being protected by a glass wall,' and then in just a matter of moments that glass wall shattered," he said. "But thank goodness we're okay."
The hotel itself lost power and is experiencing minor flooding.
Shortly before and also in Nags Head, 13News Now Meteorologist Tim Pandajis gave viewers a live look at the conditions just off the beach. He compared the grains of sand hitting him to that feeling you get when your leg falls asleep and starts to come back.
“It feels like those little pins hitting you all over the place. Man, these winds are strong,” he said while reporting at NC 12.