- Dorian will pummel the northwest Bahamas for one more day.
- A life-threatening storm surge of up to 15 feet is expected on Grand Bahama Island.
- A hurricane warning and a storm surge warning have been issued for a part of Florida’s east coast.
- Hurricane conditions are expected to arrive in hurricane-warned areas by evening.
- Impacts will worsen along Georgia, South Carolina coasts Wednesday.
- Peak impacts will arrive in North Carolina and southeast Virginia Thursday into Friday.
- Dorian could then strike Atlantic Canada as a post-tropical storm this weekend.
Hurricane Dorian will finally begin its long-awaited march up the Southeast coast today after delivering one last punishing blow over the storm-fatigued northwest Bahamas.
Dorian’s wind intensity has backed off from Sunday’s peak, currently a Category 3 hurricane. Regardless of its intensity and track, Dorian will have significant, the damaging impact from Florida’s Atlantic coast to parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and possible southeast Virginia this week.
(INTERACTIVE: Current Bahamas Winds, Satellite)
Dorian is still near Grand Bahama Island. The eyewall has pummeled the island since Sunday night with destructive winds and catastrophic storm-surge flooding.
This intense hurricane has now lashed the northwest Bahamas for roughly 48 hours since first beginning its siege on the Abacos Islands Sunday morning.
Settlement Point, Grand Bahama, reported a sustained wind of 61 mph with a gust to 82 mph Monday evening.
Dorian’s wind field is also slowly growing, despite its somewhat lower winds. Tropical storm-force winds now extend up to 160 miles from the eye.
Squalls from the outer periphery of Dorian have also reached the parts of the Florida Peninsula. Sustained tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) arrived at Juno Beach, Florida, Monday afternoon and have continued into Tuesday morning, with gusts topping 60 mph, at times.
These outer rainbands will also be capable of spawning isolated tornadoes along the immediate east coast of Florida through Tuesday.
Watches and Warnings
A hurricane warning has been posted along the east coast of Florida from Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, including Melbourne and Daytona Beach, Florida.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas, including Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Hurricane warnings mean that hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are either already occurring or expected somewhere within the warning area, generally within 36 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
A storm surge warning has also been issued from Lantana, Florida, to the Savannah River at the border between Georgia and South Carolina. This warning includes Daytona Beach, Jacksonville Beach, St. Simons Island and Tybee Island, Georgia.
Storm surge warnings mean there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, within the warning area during the next 36 hours. If you live in an area prone to storm surge, be sure to follow the advice of local officials if evacuations are ordered.
A hurricane watch has been posted along the southeastern U.S. coast from north of Deerfield Beach, Florida, to Jupiter Inlet, Florida, and from north of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to the South Santee River in South Carolina. This watch includes Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.
Hurricane watches are issued when hurricane-force winds are possible within the watch area. They are posted 48 hours before the first tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected.
A storm surge watch has also been posted from north of Deerfield Beach, Florida, to south of Lantana, Florida, and from the Savannah River at the border between Georgia and South Carolina to the South Santee River in South Carolina. This watch includes Charleston and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
A storm surge watch means that a life-threatening inundation is possible within the watch area during the next 48 hours.
A tropical storm warning has been posted along the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet, and also north of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to the Altamaha Sound, Georgia, meaning tropical-storm-force winds are expected within 36 hours. This warning also extends inland, including the Jacksonville and Orlando metro areas.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for portions of Florida’s east coast from north of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach, as well as for Lake Okeechobee. This watch includes Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida.
Tropical storm watches mean winds of 39 mph or greater are possible within 48 hours.
Below is the latest on Dorian’s timing and what we know about potential forecast impacts right now.
Dorian’s Forecast Timing
Tuesday: Dorian will still be hammering the northwestern Bahamas, but conditions should slowly improve by Tuesday evening as Dorian finally begins to move north. Bands of rain and strong winds will affect parts of Florida. Hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are expected in the hurricane warning area of eastern Florida by evening. Coastal flooding will spread northward along the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
Wednesday: Dorian is expected to move north, then northeastward near the coasts of northeastern Florida, Georgia and southern South Carolina. Storm-surge flooding, beach erosion and damaging winds are all possible in these areas, particularly in areas covered by storm surge and hurricane warnings. Rainfall flooding is also a threat.
Thursday: Dorian is expected to pass near the coasts of northeastern South Carolina and North Carolina. A landfall is possible anywhere in this zone, which would bring the most damaging winds and storm-surge flooding. However, these impacts will also occur even if Dorian’s center does not make a landfall. Heavy rain will also lead to flooding in this area. Some impacts from wind, coastal flooding and rainfall flooding could spread as far north as the Virginia Tidewater and the southern Delmarva Peninsula late Thursday.
Friday-Saturday: Dorian is then expected to race off the Northeast Seaboard but could track close enough to bring rain and some wind to the Virginia Tidewater, Delmarva Peninsula, Jersey Shore, Long Island, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod before it heads toward the Canadian Maritimes by this weekend.
(MORE: Potential Northeast Impacts From Dorian)
Dorian’s Track Uncertainty
Dorian’s forecast track continues to be the razor’s edge between more severe hurricane impacts reaching land, compared to those impacts staying barely offshore.
The reason for this is the upper-level high-pressure system that had been steering Dorian westward fizzled, stalling Dorian temporarily in an environment without a steering wheel.
Over the next day or so, a gap between upper-level highs east of Dorian and over the southern Plains of the United States will allow Dorian to turn northward. Late in the week, a southward dip in the jet stream approaching from the Great Lakes should grab Dorian and accelerate it toward the Canadian Maritimes.
Exactly when it makes those north and northeastward turns is critical. If those turns occur later, it’s more of a landfall danger – or at least an eyewall strike – for parts of the Southeast coast. If it makes those turns sooner, the threat of a landfall is less, particularly in Florida and Georgia.
Regardless of its exact track, Dorian will be a dangerous hurricane with significant impacts along the Southeast coast. As we saw with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, a hurricane doesn’t have to make landfall in an area to produce destructive impacts.
Residents should have their hurricane plans ready to go and follow the directions of local emergency management.
Dorian’s Storm Surge, Wind and Rain Impacts
On Grand Bahama Island, a life-threatening storm surge may cause water levels to be as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds. Near the coast, that storm surge will be accompanied by large, destructive waves.
Damaging hurricane-force winds will persist into Tuesday in the northwestern Bahamas.
An additional 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected in the northwestern Bahamas, with isolated storm totals up to 30 inches, which may cause life-threatening flash flooding, the National Hurricane Center said.
Larger swells and battering waves generated by Dorian will continue to spread north and increase along the Southeast coast from eastern Florida to North Carolina and will persist for several days.
This will lead to increasing beach erosion and coastal flooding, particularly around times of high tides, which are generally around midday and midnight.
These impacts will occur regardless of how close Dorian’s center tracks or whether it ever moves ashore in any part of Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.
(MAS: Dorian en Español)
The National Hurricane Center says water could reach the following heights above ground level if the peak surge coincides with high tide.
-Flagler/Volusia County line to the South Santee River in South Carolina: 4 to 7 feet
-Lantana, Florida, to the Flagler/Volusia County line: 3 to 5 feet
-North of Deerfield Beach, Florida, to Lantana, Florida: 2 to 4 feet
That said, this storm-surge forecast will likely change depending on how close Dorian tracks to Florida and other parts of the Southeast coast.
(MAP: Potential Storm-Surge Inundation)
It is too soon to determine storm-surge forecast heights farther up the coast. Check back with us for updates.
The worst wind impacts will occur within the hurricane’s eyewall, while the highest storm surge will occur immediately to the east or north of where the center makes landfall, assuming it does at all. Again, it is not possible to determine exactly where these will occur at this time.
Tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) will arrive along the coast well ahead of Dorian’s closest pass, making preparations difficult.
Use the times listed below as the time you need have preparations completed.
These winds will be capable of taking down trees and power lines across the Southeast, leading to power outages that could last for several days. Ground soaked by rain will only increase this threat, allowing trees to topple in winds less strong than typically expected.
Power outages are most likely along the immediate coastline from Florida to North Carolina, where winds will be stronger than areas farther inland. However, outages are still possible from eastern Florida to southeastern Virginia inland from the coast.
Here are the latest rainfall projections from the National Hurricane Center and NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center:
-Coastal South Carolina and North Carolina: 5 to 10 inches, locally up to 15 inches.
-Near the coast from eastern Florida through eastern Georgia: 3 to 6 inches, locally up to 9 inches.
-Southeast Virginia: 2 to 4 inches, locally up to 6 inches
Should the storm track farther offshore, these rain amounts will be less. And if the track is more inland, this rain footprint would also include areas farther inland.
The entire Florida Peninsula and the Southeast coast as far north as southeastern Virginia need to be on alert this week.
Check back to weather.com for the latest on Hurricane Dorian.
Dorian’s Historic Landfall in the Northern Bahamas
Dorian was upgraded to Category 5 status Sunday morning.
Dorian became the first hurricane of that intensity to make landfall on Grand Bahama Island, after first making a pair of landfalls in the Abacos Islands of the northwestern Bahamas earlier in the day.
Maximum sustained winds topped out at 185 mph on Sunday, putting Dorian in a tie for the second-highest sustained wind speed among all Atlantic hurricanes. It also tied the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys as the strongest landfalling hurricane in the Atlantic Basin.
(MORE: The Rarity of Category 5 Hurricanes)