Hurricane Dorian maintains Category 4 status, potential path toward NC

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— The National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. Saturday forecast still showed much of North Carolina in the potential path of Dorian, which is strengthening but has slowed down just a bit in the Atlantic Ocean.

The storm was still at 150 mph, moving west at 8 mph. It is now 687 miles south southeast of Raleigh.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Florida. The Northern Bahamas will see big impacts Sunday. The area is currently under a hurricane warning. Dorian is expected to hit the Bahamas on early Sunday.

For us, meteorologist Kat Campbell said dangerous storm surge and strong winds are becoming increasingly likely along the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in the middle of next week, the National Hurricane Center said. Dorian will likely hug the southeast coast in the new forecast track and come near NC on Thursday as a category 2 hurricane with winds at 100 mph.

Tracking the Tropics

Campbell said as the steering ridge breaks down, it will likely begin to steer Dorian north early Monday. A direct Florida landfall appears less likely but impacts are still possible.

“The risk of strong winds and dangerous storm surge is increasing across the North Carolina and South Carolina coast next week,” meteorologist Kat Campbell said. “With or without a direct North Carolina landfall. our coast will still have a chance for significant impacts. Impacts will extend far outside from the eye of the storm.”

Both the American and European forecast models keep Dorian off the Florida coast without making direct landfall in the state. The American model shows Dorian at the southern tip of the North Carolina coast, moving through the entire coastline through Thursday afternoon.

Track comparison for Dorian

The European model shows a slower track, putting Dorian at the southern tip of the North Carolina coast Thursday afternoon and moving out Friday afternoon.

Winds could reach 80 mph Thursday along the coast, and Wilmington and southeastern areas of the state could see 10 inches of rain. Inland areas of the states could see winds up to 50 mph.

Barry Porter, regional director of the Red Cross for eastern North Carolina, said he thought when the storm was developing that it might follow the same path as Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

He advised North Carolina residents to pay attention to forecast updates and prepare now for the affects of Dorian.

“Be ready, and take steps now,” he said. “Don’t wait till 24 hours. You have four, five days’ notice. Take effective steps today.”