If the 11 PM track from the National Hurricane Center verifies, things are looking a little better for Central Florida… but it’s far from the final word on the subject because we’re still in the cone. The 11 PM track has the storm just creeping from the coast toward the Attractions area over a 24+ hour period starting late Monday.
With this track, the closest pass to Disney’s Castaway Cay in the Bahamas is 8PM Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane (140 MPH winds). Disney Cruise Line has already adjusted two sailings on the Disney Dream to avoid the storm, and had previously adjusted one sailing on the Disney Fantasy. Port Canaveral remains at a heightened alert level in anticipation of the hurricane despite the current track veering further south. The storm is expected to make landfall on the south Florida mainland just north of Jupiter Island as a major category 4 hurricane (winds of 140 MPH) late Monday or early Tuesday. It then creeps northwest 24 hours, winding up in Okeechobee County as a weak category 1 hurricane. Beyond that is beyond the 5-day cone, but it could keep creeping northward toward the attractions. If this is the case, wind is not as much of a concern as rain. A multi-day crawl of the storm across the peninsula could dump upwards of 15 inches of rain in some isolated areas, leading to risks of freshwater flooding throughout the state.
No theme park closures or delays have been announced as of the time of this writing. Portions of the Bahamas may be placed under hurricane watches on Friday.
Your early storm preparations should continue because the track can still change. Also keep making plans to execute your final storm preparations as early as this weekend if needed, depending on how the track might change.
As we’ve said repeatedly, the track itself continues to be a major point of uncertainty. Forecasters are more confident that some part of Florida will be hit by Dorian as a major hurricane… but the exact area to be most affected continues to be in question. And yes, it’s still possible that it curves up the Atlantic coast like Matthew did in 2016. The Attractions are NOT out of the woods yet… but it’s looking more hopeful tonight.
1. THE RISK OF LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS THIS WEEKEND CONTINUES TO INCREASE IN THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS, AND HURRICANE WATCHES COULD BE ISSUED ON FRIDAY. RESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE THEIR HURRICANE PLAN IN PLACE AND LISTEN TO ADVICE GIVEN BY LOCAL EMERGENCY OFFICIALS. 2. THERE IS AN INCREASING LIKELIHOOD OF LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE ALONG PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA EAST COAST LATE THIS WEEKEND OR EARLY NEXT WEEK, ALTHOUGH IT IS TOO SOON TO DETERMINE WHERE THE HIGHEST STORM SURGE WILL OCCUR. RESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE THEIR HURRICANE PLAN IN PLACE, KNOW IF THEY ARE IN A HURRICANE EVACUATION ZONE, AND LISTEN TO ADVICE GIVEN BY LOCAL EMERGENCY OFFICIALS. 3. THE RISK OF DEVASTATING HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS ALONG THE FLORIDA EAST COAST AND PENINSULA LATE THIS WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK CONTINUES TO INCREASE, ALTHOUGH IT IS TOO SOON TO DETERMINE WHERE THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL OCCUR. 4. REGARDLESS OF THE EXACT TRACK OF DORIAN, HEAVY RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR OVER PORTIONS OF THE BAHAMAS, FLORIDA, AND ELSEWHERE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES THIS WEEKEND AND INTO THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK.
Next track comes out at 5AM. Keep calm and carry on!