Hurricane Dorian appears to be improving its structure this morning. Now that it is moving after being stalled over the northern Bahamas, the system does have the opportunity to increase some strength and speed as it passes over warm waters of the Gulf Stream off the U.S. southeast coast. Even if the storm doesn’t strengthen more, Dorian is still a formidable hurricane and will bring tropical storm and hurricane force conditions to large stretches of the U.S. East Coast.
With Dorian moving up the coast, the National Hurricane Center has extended both the Storm Surge and Hurricane Warnings that are up for the east coast. Both the Storm Surge Warning an the Hurricane Warning has been extended northward to the North Carolina/Virginia border, including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds and the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. While action is shifting north, things are returning somewhat to normal south. The Storm Surge Warning that was up has been discontinued from Port Canaveral, Florida southward. The Hurricane Warning for the northeastern coast of Florida from the Volusia/Brevard County line to Ponte Vedra Beach has been changed to a Tropical Storm Warning. Lastly, the Tropical Storm Warning for the east coast of Florida has been discontinued south of the Volusia/Brevard County line.
A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. The National Hurricane Center reminds people: “This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.”
A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
The National Hurricane Center cautions interests elsewhere along the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States should continue to monitor the progress of Dorian, as additional watches or warnings may be required later today. The National Hurricane Center adds that interests in southeastern New England should also monitor the progress of the hurricane.
As of the 11am ET update from the National Hurricane Center, the center of Hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 29.8 North, longitude 79.7 West. Dorian is moving toward the north-northwest near 9 mph and this motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the north is expected tonight, followed by a turn toward the northeast on Thursday. On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move parallel to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight. The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday. Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph with higher gusts.
Hurricane Dorian is growing in size. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles . NOAA buoy 41008, located off the Georgia coast, recently reported sustained winds of 40 mph and a wind gust of 47 mph . The minimum central pressure just reported by an Air Force Reserve
Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 964 mb or 28.47 inches of mercury.
Hurricane Dorian is bringing a variety of threats to the U.S. East Coast: wind, storm surge, and heavy rain. Tropical storm conditions will begin within the Hurricane Warning area in the Carolinas later today, with hurricane conditions by late tonight and Thursday. The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach 5-8′ from Isle of Palms to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; 4-7′ from the Savannah River to Isle of Palms and from Cape Lookout to Duck in North Carolina. The Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, along with the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, could see a 4-6′ storm surge. Water levels could begin to rise well in advance of the arrival of strong winds. The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the how close the center of Dorian comes to the coast, and can vary greatly over short distances. Dorian is expected to produce 5-10″ with isolated amounts of up to 15″ along the Carolina coast, 3-6″ from Daytona Beach, Florida to the Georgia/South Carolina border, with some isolated 9″ amounts possible around the Georgia coast. Southeast Virginia could see 3-6″ of heavy rain too. In all of these places, this heavy rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods. Large swells will affect the northwestern Bahamas, and the entire southeastern United States coast from Florida through North Carolina during the next several days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Isolated tornadoes are also possible along the coast due to rotation created by Dorian’s swirling winds. According to the National Hurricane Center, a tornado or two are possible along the immediate coast of Georgia this afternoon while isolated tornadoes are possible from this evening through Thursday across the coastal Carolinas.