The fourth named storm of the hurricane season, Dorian, now a Category 2 storm, finally moved away from the battered Bahamas leaving coastal residents from Florida to the Carolinas to warily eye the storm’s path — which is now off the Southeast seaboard.
The storm had been stationary for over a day and a half over the northwest Bahamas, flooding the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with walls of water that reached the second floors of buildings, leading to at least seven deaths.
The hurricane’s arrival came after Tropical Storm Chantal formed earlier this month over the far Northern Atlantic. Subtropical storm Andrea formed on May 21 and quickly fizzled a day later over the Atlantic, southwest of Bermuda. Hurricane Barry, the second storm, made landfall in Louisiana on July 13 as a Category 1 storm.
Where is Hurricane Dorian now?
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday that the Category 2 storm’s maximum sustained winds were at 110 mph. Dorian was located about 130 miles south of Charleston, S.C., moving north at 8 mph.
The hurricane, while losing some wind speed since Tuesday, when it was a Category 3 storm, has grown in size, according to the NHC. Hurricane-force winds were extending outward up to 60 miles from the center, while tropical storm-force winds were extending outward up to 175 miles.
“Some weakening is expected during the next couple of days, and Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days,” the NHC said.
Where is Hurricane Dorian going?
Dorian is forecast to make a turn to the north-northeast on Thursday morning, followed by a northeast turn Thursday night.
The storm is expected to come close to Georgia and the South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday.
“On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight,” the NHC said. “The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning.”
What impact will Hurricane Dorian have?
The hurricane battered parts of the Bahamas on Sunday as a Category 5 with 185 mph winds, making it the second-strongest storm in the Atlantic Ocean since 1950.
Hurricane warnings have been posted from north of the Savannah River to the North Carolina/Virginia border, encompassing the entire South and North Carolina coastlines. A storm surge warning is in effect for north of Port Canaveral, Fla. to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect from the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Savannah River.
In terms of wind, tropical storm conditions are currently affecting portions of the northeast coast of Florida and are expected to begin along the Georgia coast late Tuesday morning.
“Tropical storm conditions will begin within the Hurricane Warning area in the Carolinas later today, with hurricane conditions by late tonight and Thursday,” the NHC said.
Forecasters are warning that a combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast of the Southeast to be flooded by rising waters moving in from the shoreline. The storm surge could reach between five to eight feet in portions of South Carolina, and four to seven feet in parts of North Carolina.
“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,” the NHC said. “Surge-related flooding depends on how close the center of Dorian comes to the coast, and can vary greatly over short distances.”
Dorian is also forecast to bring heavy rainfall as it brushes the Southeast, with five to 10 inches of rain expected in the coastal Carolinas with isolated amounts of 15 inches, while the Atlantic coast from the Florida peninsula north of West Palm Beach through Georgia is expected to see three to six inches of rainfall, with isolated 9-inch amounts.
“This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods,” the NHC said.
The hurricane may also cause tornadoes near the immediate coasts of Florida Wednesday night and immediate coastal Georgia and the coastal Carolinas into Thursday.
Dorian is also churning up the seas, and bringing large swells to the entire Southeastern coast from Florida through North Carolina over the next several days.
“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the NHC said.