Dorian At A Virtual Standstill, Looms Off Florida Coast As A Category 4
Hurricane Dorian was nearly stationary this evening, the National Weather Service reported during its 11 p.m. update.
A slow westward to northwestward motion was expected to resume overnight and continue into early Tuesday.
It's also weakened slightly but still remains a catastrophic Category 4 storm that threatens Florida’s east coast with dangerous storm surge and inundating rains.
LATEST ON THE STORM
As of 11 p.m., Hurricane Dorian had become nearly stationary after it had started to make much-anticipated turn to the west-northwest. It continued to weaken with a maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. In about six hours it had moved 5 miles and was about 100 miles west of West Palm Beach.
The National Hurricane Center’s forecast track for Dorian has been nudged a bit more to the east. It was expected to turn to the northwest early Tuesday and then turn to the north later in the day. On Wednesday night, Dorian is expected to turn again, this time to the northeast, according to the National Weather Service. The core of the storm was expected to pound Grand Bahama island into Tuesday morning, meteorologists said.
“It's not gonna move much here for the next 18 to 24 hours,” said Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist Lance Wood. “But we are pretty confident that the turn to the northwest, kind of parallel on the coast, will happen and we'll start to see Dorian move on Tuesday and then going by Florida, probably by Georgia more on Wednesday night.”
Some of Dorian's outer bands have already begun to lash portions of Florida's east coast.
The hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast Tuesday night through Wednesday evening. It should be in Georgia and South Carolina by Wednesday night and Thursday and around the North Carolina coast by late Thursday and early Friday.
“Tropical storm winds are expected over much of the Florida east coast and hurricane winds are likely along the immediate coast,” said Ray Hawthorne, a meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.
Forecasters say Dorian could produce storm surge of 4-7 feet from Lantana to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River near Jacksonville, and 2-4 feet from Lantana to Deerfield Beach.
“Hurricane Dorian is the strongest storm to ever threaten the state of Florida on the East Coast,” Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said Sunday. “No matter what path this storm takes, our state will be impacted. We will continue to work around the clock to prepare.”
Forecasters say the storm is expected to remain a potent Category 4 storm, then gradually weaken but still remain a strong hurricane as it meanders up the coast, producing strong winds and dangerous storm surge for coastal Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina later this week.
Projections Monday call for Dorian to generate 2-4 inches of rain along Florida’s Atlantic coast into Georgia, with isolated totals of 6 inches, but 5-10 inches – and up to 15 inches in isolated areas – in the coastal Carolinas.
Forecasters reinforced Monday that Florida’s east coast could still experience devastating impacts, even if the projected northerly turn occurs.
“Although the official forecast does not show Dorian making landfall along the Florida east coast, it is still possible for the hurricane to deviate from this forecast, and move very near or over the coast,” Richard Pasch, senior hurricane specialist, wrote in his Monday morning forecast discussion. “Users are reminded not to focus on the exact forecast track.”
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for coastal areas of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Brevard counties, and St. Johns County will issue an evacuation order on Monday. Governor Ron DeSantis suspended tolls on Florida’s Turnpike, and some other toll roads across the state.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Dorian stories from WUSF and throughout the state
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Lantana to Altamaha Sound, Georgia
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for North of Deerfield Beach to south of Lantana
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for the Flagler/Volusia County Line to the Savannah River
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for north of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Flagler/Volusia County Line to the Altamaha Sound Georgia
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for north of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Lake Okeechobee
Polk and Highlands counties remain under a tropical storm watch