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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here’s the latest on Hurricane Dorian
As of the 11 a.m. ET update from the National Hurricane Center
LOCATION: ABOUT 30 MILES NORTHEAST OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND, ABOUT 110 MILES EAST OF WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 155 MPH
MOVEMENT: W AT 1 MPH
Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane as it stalls and continues to pound the Bahamas Monday. This is a powerful and catastrophic storm that has parked over the Bahamas over the last 12 hours.
At 11 p.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Dorian, which is described as a catastrophic hurricane, made landfall on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island.
Maximum winds from Dorian are sustained at 155 mph with higher gusts. According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend about 140 miles from Dorian’s center.
First Warn chief meteorologist Brad Panovich thinks the biggest concerns for the Carolinas will be storm surge and flooding along the coast. Charlotte has about a 15% chance of seeing tropical-storm-force winds as Dorian moves north, Panovich says.
Even though Dorian could stay offshore, the impacts on eastern North Carolina could be devastating, Panovich said.
“The concern is going to be storm surge,” Panovich said. “Looking at 4 to 7 feet of storm surge up the coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Eastern North Carolina, the winds will be wrapping around with sound-side flooding.
“It’s going to be pouring rain, the water will try to go back out to sea and it will run into the surge and you get backups and big-time flooding. Some of the biggest impacts could be in eastern North Carolina. This is not a good setup for eastern North Carolina, even with the strongest winds being offshore.”
The high risk along the coast could result in 4-7 feet of storm surge, up to 10 inches of rain and 50-75 mph winds as the storm churns north.
In Charlotte, Panovich said the impacts won’t be felt much at all from Dorian.
“It’s not zero, but it’s single-percentage worries for winds and heavy rain in Charlotte,” Panovich explained. “The highest percentages of hurricane-force winds in the Carolinas are in Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Hatteras. It’s at 20%, but that will probably go up.”
Dorian is crawling toward the west at only 1 mile per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Slower westward to west-northwestward motions are expected to continue for a day or two, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest.
Currently, the core is expected to continue to pound Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands overnight and through much of Monday. The hurricane is expected to move ‘dangerously close’ to Florida east coast late Monday through Wednesday evening.
Sunday evening, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued mandatory evacuations for people living along the coastline of South Carolina, as Hurricane Dorian is expected to affect the state by midweek. State troopers began the reversal of all lanes on I-26 out of Charleston Monday morning wiht evacuations taking effect at 12 p.m.
“Water, water, water is our concern,” said Panovich, urging anyone told to evacuate to listen. “You run from the water, you hide from the wind.”
North Carolina issued a state of emergency ahead of potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster also declared a state of emergency because of the threat of Hurricane Dorian.
Later on Saturday, the city of Charleston declared a state of emergency as well, to ensure the city is fully prepared for emergency operations. The Municipal Emergency Operations Center will be activated Sunday at 8 a.m. and will remain open as needed throughout the storm.
According to the National Weather Service, there is an increasing risk of strong winds and dangerous storm surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina during the middle of the week.
The National Hurricane Center said slow weakening is forecast, but fluctuations in intensity could occur over the next couple of days. Nevertheless, Dorian is expected to stay a powerful hurricane over the next few days, according to the NHC.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island, as well as from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Mouth of the St. Mary’s River, North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet, and Andros Island.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for North of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach and Lake Okeechobee.
A Storm Surge Warning was issued from Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County Line, and a Storm Surge Watch was issued from the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Mouth of the St. Mary’s River, as well as from North of Deerfield Beach to Lantana.
Swells are likely to begin affecting the east-facing shores of the Bahamas, the Florida east coast, and the southeastern United States coast during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Flooding will be a major concern for Florida. Rainfall rates, combined with storm surge, could result in life-threatening flash floods. Dorian is expected to produce 12 to 24 inches, isolated 30 inches, of rainfall totals for the Northwestern Bahamas alone.
NHC says Dorian is expected to produce 5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches, for the Coastal Carolinas.
Panovich said everyone living along the Southeast coast should be paying attention. The track could shift.
“Residents in these areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place and not focus on the exact forecast track of Dorian’s center,” according to the National Hurricane Center.