5PM Thursday: Dorian Steady but Slowing… Could be Major Hurricane with Impacts Monday – Tuesday. Prepare, but Don’t Panic.

Dorian remains a very real – but very uncertain – threat to Central Florida. Having said that, the uncertainty is starting to fade a little bit. Confidence is high that Dorian will have some impact to Central Florida… including heavy rainfall… but specifics on wind speed and other threats remain elusive at the moment.

The 5PM Advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows Dorian passing north of Castaway Cay on Sunday with 130 MPH winds, and impacting the Florida mainland Monday afternoon with 130 MPH winds. Then it’s a 24-hour crawwwwwwl up towards the attractions area Tuesday while dropping to 75 MPH winds.

Tropical storm force winds could arrive in the Attractions area as early as Sunday morning, but late Sunday evening is more likely.

One more important piece of information: The NHC says that Hurricane-force winds extend outward only up to 15 miles from the center of the storm in its present configuration. That could grow, but the key takeaway is that Dorian is different than Irma, which had a ridiculously large wind field. For Dorian, tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles. So even if Dorian turns out to be a hellbeast, it might be a small, localized hellbeast. Which is good unless you’re right in the path of the center core… just ask anyone who lived along Hwy 27 in Polk/Lake County when Irma decided to drive north late that night in 2017.

NHC Key Messages: (Pay special attention to # 3 and 4).

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 there tonight or
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

On the attractions front, you can bet that most central Florida attractions have begun quietly instituting the early stages of their storm plans; however no closures or delays have been announced at the time of writing this post. Further afield, Disney Cruise Line is also monitoring the storm for potential impacts to its fleet. Meanwhile, Port Canaveral itself is under a heightened alert status due to the potential approaching storms.

Those living in the Attractions Area should continue their early storm preparations… and be prepared to execute their final storm preparations this weekend; but keep in mind that the timeline and the intensity might change again as more and more model runs come in. And yes, there’s still a chance it becomes a total dud for us… but that’s LESS likely now than before.

As always, don’t panic. We’re going to get through this. Surround yourself with trustworthy, no-hype weather information. We rely on trusted meteorologists who can communicate without going breathless over the storm. We personally place a high level of trust in WFTV-TV and Florida Storms / Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. We’ll be here to “interpret and observe” the impact of the storm on the Attractions, but we again remind you that this site is for information and entertainment purposes only. We will never knowingly mislead you or hype the storm for the sake of getting clicks… but we are NOT trained meteorologists.

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