Hurricane Dorian, now the second most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded, smothered and battered the northern Bahamas at Category 5 strength on Sunday, making landfall with sustained wind speeds of 185 mph. It continues its northwest crawl toward the southeast U.S. coast, and still threatens to make landfall on Tuesday.
Dorian is currently forecast to — at best — graze the east coast of Florida after making a northward turn sometime Monday. Its likely path remains far too close for comfort, however, and some forecast models still project that it will hit Florida, which has been under a state of emergency in preparation for the storm since Wednesday. Meteorologists and authorities have warned that the small but uniquely powerful hurricane remains very dangerous, even if it doesn’t shift west — let alone what may still happen further up the coast in Georgia and the Carolinas later this week.
#Dorian continues to blow my mind this evening. Note how the reds are expanding at the end of the loop…a possible indication of an expanding wind field. pic.twitter.com/5279AcKf7O
— Steve Caparotta, Ph.D. (@SteveWAFB) September 2, 2019
— Latrae Rahming (@p0sitivechange) September 1, 2019
terrified residents huddled against the storm in their shattered homes. The storm’s western eyewall began crossing the eastern part of Grand Bahama Island around 9 p.m. and the slow-moving storm is forecast to continue to pound the Bahamas well into Monday.
Where will Dorian strike next, and when?
According to the National Hurricane Center’s forecast on Sunday night, it’s not yet clear if Dorian will make landfall in Florida early this week or if the storm — or at least the storm’s eye — will remain offshore while it moves up the coastline. Though the storm’s most-likely path will keep it offshore, everything depends on what happens once the storm makes its projected northward turn early in the week.
#HurricaneDorian starting to come onshore in Vero Beach, Florida. The plan is to follow the eye north along the coastline in the H.E.R.V. and be in position just in case it makes landfall and/or document it’s closest approach to the coast. Watching closely… pic.twitter.com/qofafsGi5W
— Mike Theiss (@MikeTheiss) September 2, 2019
Hurricane conditions are expected to persist within 30 miles of Dorian’s center — unless it grows larger — and the storm is currently forecast to remain at Category 4 strength through early Tuesday morning, then weaken to a Category 3 by Wednesday afternoon. (At least one horrifying possibility appears to have been ruled out: the Miami Herald noted on Sunday that meteorologists do not believe the storm could make a surprise swing to the southwest like the devastating Hurricane Andrew did at this point in its trajectory in 1992.)
#Dorian isn’t yet a huge #hurricane, but it may become one this week: https://t.co/6hp1iJM6PY pic.twitter.com/gFJ5KbQOZ7
— Brian Donegan (@WxBrianD) September 2, 2019
This post has been repeatedly updated and revised across the progression of the storm.
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