Hurricane Dorian has been lashing the Bahamas since early Sunday, bringing destructive winds at times topping 200 mph, along with a devastating surge of up to 23 feet. The now-Category 4 hurricane has moved less than 100 miles in 24 hours, stalling just northeast of Freeport in the Bahamas, parking its tornado-like eyewall over some areas for a terrifying six to 12 hours or more.
Dorian will barely move from the northwest Bahamas on Monday into early Tuesday before meandering slowly north, passing dangerously close to Florida and the U.S. Southeast coast. It will be a nail-biter for a number of U.S. cities, but just how close a shave Dorian becomes is still somewhat uncertain.
A hurricane warning has been posted for the immediate coastline from just south of Cape Canaveral to near Jupiter, Fla. On either side, a hurricane watch is up — down to Boca Raton and up through the Florida/Georgia border. Below, we’ve included a look at the forecast for several cities.
Miami is not under any tropical alerts, at least not yet. The National Hurricane Center estimates that Miami has a 50 percent chance of experiencing tropical-storm-force winds of 39 mph or greater when Hurricane Dorian moves closer to the state but to the north of the city. Winds will be out of the west Monday, becoming more southwesterly Tuesday with gusts to 25 mph. Showers and thunderstorms are possible both days, with around an inch of rain forecast. Clouds will dominate into Wednesday morning. While storm-surge flooding is not anticipated, watch for some coastal splashover and rip currents.
The National Weather Service wrote that “tornadoes are also possible, particularly across eastern and southern portions of South Florida through [Monday] afternoon.”
West Palm Beach:
Palm Beach is under a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning. Tropical-storm-force winds are likely, and there’s a good chance of hurricane conditions, including winds gusting to or over 74 mph as Dorian makes its closest pass Tuesday. Two to three inches of rain is also likely, particularly Tuesday as some of the inner rain bands sweep through. Some storm surge, which refers to the storm-driven rise in ocean water above normally dry land, is expected, on the order of three to five feet.
Orlando is far enough inland to escape the more significant impacts. Winds will be northeasterly Monday at 10 to 15 mph, becoming northerly Monday night with gusts to 20 mph. Scattered showers will be the story Monday. They will become more numerous Tuesday, with an inch of rain possible. Clouds will hang around through Thursday.
Daytona Beach is along the immediate coastline near where Dorian will make its closest pass Wednesday midmorning into the afternoon. That’s why Volusia County is under a hurricane warning.
The National Weather Service is warning people to prepare for Category 1- or 2-equivalent winds, citing the most likely range as sustained winds of 45 to 55 mph with gusts to 80 mph. Along with wind, four to six inches of rain could fall, with higher amounts locally.
Storm-surge flooding of up to four to seven feet is possible along the immediate coastline. Of course, this is highly track-dependent, which is still uncertain, so these numbers will probably fluctuate some.
A hurricane warning is in effect. Winds of 45 to 55 mph, with gusts to hurricane force of 74 mph or greater, are expected. The wind is forecast to ramp up Monday night into Tuesday night, with “life threatening” storm-surge flooding near the coast of four to seven feet. Heavy rain is possible, although there will be a tight gradient that will separate the areas that see high rainfall amounts from drier areas.
Right now, the National Weather Service is calling for four to six inches and locally higher amounts, although if Dorian tracks just a bit farther offshore, that number will drop.
A hurricane watch is in effect. Expect deteriorating conditions into Tuesday, with Dorian making its closest pass around the early half of Wednesday. Fortunately, Dorian looks to be curving away from Jacksonville at this point, although that trend could change. Winds of 20 mph are probable Monday and Tuesday, with gusts to 35 mph Tuesday night and tropical storm conditions possible Wednesday. In addition, “locally hazardous rainfall flooding” is possible with the anticipated three to six inches of rain. A storm surge of several feet is possible, including at the mouth of the St. Johns River, which has flooded in previous storms that passed offshore, such as Hurricane Michael.
Wednesday and Thursday are the days to watch for potential tropical storm conditions. It’s too early for any alerts to be issued, but “strong winds and flooding rainfall will be possible, depending on the evolution and track of the storm,” according to the National Weather Service. Winds up to 40 mph and three to five inches of rain, along with surge of a couple of feet, appear most likely.
Charleston was already under a coastal flood advisory Monday, but it wasn’t related to the storm. Rather, coastal flooding was occurring because of elevated astronomical tides. Those will slacken some but will still pose a coastal flooding threat when Dorian churns nearby Wednesday night into Thursday. Four to six inches of rain is in the forecast, with the National Weather Service warning that “hurricane conditions [are] possible.” Winds of 30 to 50 mph appear most likely. However, Dorian remains tough to predict, and the details have yet to be ironed out this far north.
Dorian poses a significant threat to Wilmington, as it may come close to the coastline at the same time that its wind field is expanding.
“Dorian will be expanding Wednesday night and rain chances should increase markedly,” according to the Weather Service office in Wilmington. So while Dorian’s winds at the center won’t be as intense, they’ll cover a broader area. Expect “gusty winds” first out of the east and eventually northeast. Several inches of rain, coastal flooding, beach erosion and possible storm-surge flooding also may be in the offing.
Dorian’s wind field will scrape the coast with gusts probably in the 30- to 55-mph range or higher, but tropical downpours will be a major story, as well. Coastal flooding is also a concern, although the magnitude is not known at this time. Most computer models have been showing a track just offshore, without making landfall in the Outer Banks, but it will be a close call at the end of the week.