The streets are deserted in downtown Daytona Beach as Hurricane Dorian passes 90 miles offshore on Wednesday. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE)

(This article, first published on Tuesday, was updated on Wednesday.)

Three days after its assault on the Bahamas, Dorian is now a Category 2 hurricane packing 105 mph winds as it parallels the Southeast coast. While the United States will not experience damage to the magnitude left in the Bahamas, Dorian remains a powerful force.

The outer bands of Dorian will lash northeast Florida and the Georgia coast on Wednesday before drawing closer to the coast of the Carolinas Wednesday night through Thursday, when it could make landfall or come very close. Both coastal South Carolina and North Carolina are expected to catch the brunt of Dorian and the severe weather associated with its core. Even Virginia Beach and the Southern Delmarva are likely to get scraped by the storm on Friday before it zooms away.

Copious rainfall, strong to potentially damaging winds, rough surf, major coastal flooding and even a few tornadoes are in the forecast for those in Dorian’s final act. Water levels could reach historic heights in Savannah and Charleston, resulting in substantial inundation of low-lying areas.

Though not nearly as intense as before, Dorian’s wind field is expanding to encompass more real estate. Eventually, it will transition into a powerful mid-latitude cyclone and slam Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Daytona Beach

A hurricane warning and storm-surge warning are in effect. “Dorian will take its closest approach to Volusia County today,” wrote the National Weather Service. Northwesterly winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts near 60 mph will continue through the afternoon Wednesday, relaxing by evening. Rainfall totals of an inch or two are possible, with locally higher amounts.

A storm surge of three or four feet is also in the offing.

Jacksonville

Storm surge and tropical storm warnings are in effect. A flash-flood watch is also up, covering the potential for one to four inches of rain. Increasing showers and more breezy Wednesday morning, with the strongest winds anticipated to occur overnight Wednesday afternoon into very early Thursday with a sustained northerly breeze of 25 mph gusting at times to 45 mph. Expect a storm surge of three to four feet. Special attention should be paid to the mouth of the St. Johns River. Improving conditions Thursday night into Friday.

Savannah, Ga.

A hurricane watch and a flash-flood watch are in effect. A tropical storm and storm-surge warning are also up. Winds increasing Wednesday night and especially into the very early morning hours on Thursday. An initial northeasterly component to the winds will slowly veer to the northwest overnight. Sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph with gusts to 65 mph are possible.

On top of six to 10 inches of rain, a storm surge of three to five feet is predicted, potentially enough for the water level to reach its third highest level on record at Fort Pulaski, Ga., around 1 p.m. Wednesday, exceeded only by hurricanes Matthew and Irma.


Predicted hourly peak wind gusts from Hurricane Dorian in the Southeast between 2 p.m. Wednesday and 8 p.m. Friday from the National Weather Service. Labeled times on image are Universal (subtract four hours for Eastern time). (WeatherBell.com)

Charleston, S.C.

A hurricane warning, storm-surge warning and flash-flood watch are all up. Breezy weather with easterly winds during the day Wednesday will build to gale force by evening. Overnight, those northeasterly winds get howling — sustained at 40 to 55 mph with gusts exceeding 75 mph. The worst comes Thursday afternoon as the eye passes very close, with winds switching to the north and eventually northwest behind it. Strong to damaging winds will last into the nighttime hours Thursday before abating Friday morning.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service warns that “rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches are expected with locally higher amounts to 15 inches possible, especially in urban coastal areas of South Carolina like Downtown Charleston.” They’ll be dealing with a flooding doubleheader as a four-to-seven-foot storm surge is also predicted.

Charleston is highly susceptible to coastal flooding, having already experienced climate-change-related “sunny day” flooding over the weekend during a period of high astronomical tides. Water levels on Wednesday night could rise to their second-highest level on record, only exceeded during Hurricane Hugo.

Isolated tornadoes are also possible.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

A hurricane warning, storm-surge warning and flash-flood watch are in effect. Winds start howling late Wednesday night and Thursday morning with gusts in the 65 to 85 mph range. A storm surge of up to two feet is expected. Rainfall amounts will range from five to 10 inches of rain, with a risk of six inches or more. Isolated tornado activity is also possible.

Wilmington, N.C.

A hurricane warning, storm-surge warning and flash-flood watch are in effect. Impacts from Hurricane Dorian ramp up beginning Thursday morning, with the winds intensifying out of the east and northeast at 40 to 50 mph. Northerly gusts in the 65 to 85 mph range are possible Thursday late evening into very early Friday. The storm surge could reach up to two feet. Total rainfall of five to eight inches is possible, the Weather Service also noting the impressive rainfall rates that will accompany Dorian’s drenching.

Outer Banks of North Carolina

A hurricane watch and storm surge watch are in effect. The strongest winds and worst surge build Thursday night, arriving around dawn Friday morning as the center of Dorian and associated eyewall makes its nearest approach. Winds could switch direction and gust above 80 mph, possibly briefly approaching 90 mph Friday after lunch. A storm surge of three to five feet can be expected or, possibly, more if Dorian makes a close enough pass or even landfall. Heavy rainfall is likely here, with upward of a foot of rain falling in some spots.

The risk of isolated tornadoes/landfalling waterspouts is also greatest here.

Virginia Beach

A tropical storm watch and storm-surge watch are in effect. Conditions don’t start to deteriorate until Thursday night with Dorian shunted well off the south. Winds will build to as much as 40 mph. By Friday, feeder bands will be rotating in, bringing in a period of moderate to heavy rainfall. Total rain amounts of four to six inches, with localized eight-plus inches possible. A storm surge of up to two to three feet is possible.

Accomac, Va.

A tropical storm watch is in effect. Three to five inches of rain are possible, beginning very early Friday morning. Winds start to build Thursday night, peaking around suppertime Friday, and slackening in time for your Friday night plans. Wind gusts could reach 30 to 50 mph on Friday.

Ocean City

Tropical storm conditions are possible sometime Friday, with the main concern being beach erosion, rip currents, and heavy rainfall. “Given slower timing and models still jostling for position, it’s just too soon at this point, with heaviest rainfall likely not to occur until [Thursday] evening at the earliest,” wrote the National Weather Service. At the moment, there’s a sharp gradient in modeled rainfall totals, so any subtle shifts in the track could have major implications for actual realized amounts. Check back for future updates.