12:00 PM (Wednesday) | ****Hurricane Dorian now impacting coastal regions of Georgia and the Carolinas as it pushes slowly to the north...intensification is possible next 24 hours****
Hurricane Dorian remains a category 2 storm at midday and it has picked up a bit of forward speed now moving NNW at 9 mph with 105 mph maximum sustained winds and a central pressure of 964 millibars. Gusty squalls are rotating around Hurricane Dorian and impacting much of the coastal region in northeastern Florida as well as coastal sections of Georgia, South and North Carolina. Hurricane Dorian is likely to at least maintain its category 2 strength as it moves closer to the Carolina coastline and it very well could undergo some intensification as it heads over warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and leaves “upwelling-induced” cooler water behind. By early Friday, Hurricane Dorian will move to a position over the Outer Banks (NC) and will become increasingly influenced by an advancing trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere. This upper-level feature will cause it to accelerate to the northeast passing well to the east of the Mid-Atlantic region on Friday, but important impacts are still on the table for coastal sections.
Hurricane Dorian is moving NNW at midday now almost at the latitude of the Florida/Georgia border and it will begin a turn to the north and then northeast over the next 12 hours or so. This track will bring it very close to the Georgia and Carolina coastlines and then ultimately to a position right over the Outer Banks, NC by early Friday. The intensity level of Hurricane Dorian has been pretty consistent in recent hours, but there is a chance it undergoes some intensification as it moves over warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and leaves cooler water behind which was caused by “upwelling” during its stationary time period over the northwest Bahamas. During that time of nearly no movement, Hurricane Dorian weakened from a category 5 storm to a category 2 status and has held that classification level ever since.
Georgia, Carolinas, Virginia, Delaware
Hurricane Dorian is likely to stay off the coast of Georgia, but will produce tropical storm winds and heavy rainfall in coastal regions of the state. As Hurricane Dorian approaches the Carolina coastline, there is the chance that it makes a landfall just inside the Carolina coastline. However, even if no landfall is made, there will be a significant impact in these coastal regions with rain, wind, coastal flooding and storm surge. For example, Charleston, SC can experience an extended and major coastal flooding event with Hurricane Dorian’s induced storm surge along with hurricane-force winds (75+ mph). There are some model forecasts that suggest Charleston, SC could see its 2nd highest water-level on record from the storm surge. The Outer Banks (NC) will likely experience hurricane-force winds and widespread power outages are likely from Hurricane Dorian. Even the Virginia Tidewater and Delmarva Peninsula could endure tropical storm conditions on Friday as the storm accelerates to the northeast.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York
An upper-level trough of low pressure will cross the Great Lakes on Thursday night and Friday and this will intensify a broader mid-latitude trough along the east coast. As a result, Dorian will accelerate to the northeast and pass well east of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York region on Friday and ultimately move to a position near Nova Scotia, Canada by the latter part of the weekend. Much cooler air will push into this part of the Mid-Atlantic on Thursday following a cold frontal passage and it’ll remain quite cool on Friday as Hurricane Dorian slides to the east. Coastal sections of New Jersey and New York can be impacted by tropical storm force winds on Friday and some coastal flooding remains a possibility.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Basin, as the climatological peak of the tropical season approaches, there are now two new tropical storms (Fernand and Gabrielle). TS Fernand should push into northeastern Mexico over the next 24 hours or so and TS Gabrielle is likely to head out into the open part of the central Atlantic. This is the 4th year in a row that we have had 3 or more named storms in the Atlantic Basin at the same time during the hurricane season. Getting three named storms simultaneously in the Atlantic Basin is a fairly common occurrence. It has now happened in 28 out of 54 hurricane seasons in the satellite era (since 1966) or 52% of the time (source Philip Klotzbach, CSU). The Atlantic Basin tropical season generally focuses in on the time period from August 15th to October 15th.
Meteorologist Paul Dorian