Some areas along the east coast are no longer under a hurricane warning as Hurricane Dorian slowly crawls north parallel to the First Coast en route to a possible landfall in the Carolinas.
Hurricane Dorian strengthened slightly as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. update continues to produce tropical storm conditions along the east coast, bringing storm surge along with dangerous surf.
“Tonight, things are getting better for most of Florida except for maybe the very northern part," said Lance Wood, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center. "I think after midnight tonight into the early morning hours, as Dorian begins to move on by, Florida’s kind of out of the woods.”
LATEST ON THE STORM
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dorian remains a category 2 storm heading north-northwest at 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 110 mph with higher gusts, and it is located about 150 miles south of Charleston, S.C., and about 275 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, N.C. Minimum pressure is at 961 mb. Hurricane-force winds extend 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend 195 miles from center.
On its current track, Dorian will move past Florida before turning to the north. It will then turn north-northeast on Thursday morning and approach the coastal Carolinas Thursday into Friday morning, according to the weather center. It is forecast to weaken the next couple of days but remain a dangerous hurricane.
The core of the hurricane is expected to remain offshore but tropical storm force conditions are likely for the Space Coast and First Coast areas until this evening, according to Ray Hawthorne, a meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.
“The long-awaited turn toward the north-northwest we’ve been expected has materialized,” Hawthorne said. “Storm surge flooding is still concern, especially along the First Coast, where 3-5 feet of surge is possible. 3-5 inches of rain is also anticipated, but conditions should begin improving late tonight as the hurricane finally pulls away from the state.”
Areas along Florida’s east coast also could experience strong winds and large waves, and dangerous rip currents for the next several days.
The continually growing eye and expanding hurricane and tropical-storm-force winds are due to the gradual weakening of Dorian. Some reorganization is expected as it tracks through warm, uninterrupted waters of the Atlantic, but high vertical wind shear should weaken any gains in wind speed and expand the area of the storm as it approaches the Carolinas.
Dorian is expected to merge with a trough of low pressure as it approaches the Carolinas, and this will likely enhance the rain and wind on its western side of the storm.
On Dorian’s current track, the coastal Carolinas can expect 5-10 inches, with isolated totals of 15 inches.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Dorian stories from WUSF and throughout the state
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for the Flagler/Volusia County line to Poquoson VA
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Neuse and Pamlico Rivers
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Hampton Roads
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for north of Savannah River to the North Carolina/Virginia border
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for north of Ponte Vedra Beach to Savannah River
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Flagler/Volusia County line to Savannah River
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague VA
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of Chincoteague VA to Fenwick Island DE
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist Ray Hawthorne contributed to this report.