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TRACKING: Category 5 hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian has begun to encroach on the northern islands of the Bahamas. It will pass over them today as a category 5 hurricane with max sustained winds up to 160 mph. Gusts will be even stronger. This is a 6 hour loop of the hurricane.

As a category 5 hurricane, the wind itself produces catastrophic damage. For comparison, severe thunderstorm warnings are issued for gusts of 58 or more mph. In addition to the winds, storm surge and heavy rain will likely produce areas of flooding.

The storm is moving to the west at about 8 mph. After ravaging the Bahamas, the latest model guidance suggest that the storm may be steered more north along the Florida coast.

Note that the cone is not indicative of the size of the storm but rather where the hurricane could track. There still may be a landfall in Florida but a more likely scenario keeps Dorian offshore from the US mainland. As it moves north, Dorian is expected to weaken but it could still be a major hurricane as it approaches Georgia and South Carolina.

Even though the storm is expected to remain offshore, effects will still be seen on the coast, mainly as tropical storm force winds (39+ mph) may batter the east side of Florida.

Heavy rain will also accompany this storm along with the threat for storm surge.

While the Bahamas are taking a direct hit, the worst case scenario may be avoided for the US. Residents in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina still need to be on high alert and pay attention to local officials. The probability of hurricane force winds (74+ mph) drop off as the storm approaches Florida.

 

Brandon Libby

Meteorologist

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