Hurricane Dorian continues to inch closer to the northwestern Bahamas with “life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall” expected, the National Hurricane Center said.
A tropical storm watch was issued for portions of the Florida east coast Saturday as Miami-Dade and Broward counties were removed from Hurricane Dorian’s “Cone of Concern.”
The powerful Category 4 system maintains winds of 150 mph as the storm continued to move west at 8 mph.
As of the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. Saturday advisory, the storm was located 310 miles east of West Palm Beach and about 125 miles east of Great Abaco in the Bahamas.
The NHC issued a tropical storm watch for the east coast of Florida from Deerfield Beach in South Florida to Sebastian Inlet in central Florida.
“Dorian is forecast to move over a deep layer of very warm waters, which is like high octane-fuel for hurricanes,” The NHC said Saturday.
“The combination of the warm ocean and the prevailing low shear along Dorian’s path should favor some additional strengthening, but most likely the hurricane will experience some fluctuations in intensity due to eyewall replacement cycles that are difficult to predict.”Dorian was expected to move near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday and move near the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday.
Dorian was then expected to make a gradual turn toward the northwest and then north, possibly not making a Florida landfall, “however there is large uncertainty in the exact location and timing of this northward turn,” the NHC said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians not to let their guard down despite shifts in forecasts showing Hurricane Dorian possibly staying off the shore of the state. The cone of potential pathways still includes much of the state, and DeSantis said if residents are within that cone they should be prepared.
“Looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact. If it bumps further east, that obviously is positive. If it bumps just a little west, than you’re looking at really, really significant impacts. Don’t make any assumptions, remain vigilant and be prepared,” DeSantis said at a briefing Saturday morning.
The latest forecast track has narrowed the “Cone of Concern,” as Miami-Dade County and Broward County no longer face the threat of the center of the hurricane.As of Saturday afternoon, no watches or warnings had been issued for Florida.A hurricane warning was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, while a hurricane watch was in effect for Andros Island.
“A prolonged period of life-threatening storm surge and devastating hurricane-force winds are likely in portions of the northwestern Bahamas,” the NHC said in a statement.The NHC said the same threats will affect Florida’s east coast early next week “but since Dorian is forecast to slow down and turn northward near the coast, it is too soon to determine when or where the highest surge and winds will occur.”Category 4 hurricane winds generate “catastrophic damage,” according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Life-threatening flash floods are expected in the Bahamas this weekend and through coastal areas of the southeastern United States next week, the NHC added.