The 11AM Saturday track continues to bode better and better for central Florida. Model runs are starting to consistently shift the storm eastward to the point that it is more likely than not that the center of the storm would stay off the coast of Florida.
Central Floridians can feel safe temporarily suspending final preparations for the remainder of Saturday while we ensure that this track “sticks.” It’s critical to note that: (1) we are still in the forecast cone but are closer to the edge of it, (2) the cone only represents a correct forecast 66% of the time, (3) the cone only represents the center of the storm… depending on the size of the storm, impacts can still occur well outside of the cone, and (4) the cone can still change in either direction.
Here’s the relevant language from today’s Area Forecast Discussion by the local National Weather Service office:
Model guidance has shifted the track to the east, a little farther offshore the coast. If this trend persists, this would reduce but not eliminate the wind and (rain) flooding threat over EC FL. However, severe beach erosion and some surge remain likely. It is important to note that all of east central Florida remains in the track cone of uncertainty. Due to the trend in model track guidance, NHC has not issued a Hurricane Watch yet for any of FL but a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch is possible later today along portions of the FL east coast.
The storm still looks potentially devastating for the Bahamas, with a slow pass over the northwestern Bahamian islands likely to bring heavy rain, 150 MPH winds, and significant storm surge to the area for an extended period of time… 24-48 hours! This could cause extended impacts for Disney’s Castaway Cay, but the island is further away from the core of the storm based on the current path.
NHC Key Messages:
1. A PROLONGED PERIOD OF LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND DEVASTATING HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED IN PORTIONS OF THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS, PARTICULARLY ON THE ABACO ISLANDS AND GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND. A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THESE AREAS, AND RESIDENTS SHOULD LISTEN TO ADVICE GIVEN BY LOCAL EMERGENCY OFFICIALS AND HAVE THEIR HURRICANE PREPARATIONS COMPLETED TODAY. 2. LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND DANGEROUS HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS ARE STILL POSSIBLE ALONG PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA EAST COAST BY THE EARLY TO MIDDLE PART OF NEXT WEEK, BUT SINCE DORIAN IS FORECAST TO SLOW DOWN AND TURN NORTHWARD NEAR OR JUST OFFSHORE OF THE COAST, IT IS TOO SOON TO DETERMINE WHEN OR WHERE THE HIGHEST SURGE AND WINDS COULD 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 STRONG WINDS AND DANGEROUS STORM SURGE IS INCREASING ALONG THE COASTS OF GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND NORTH CAROLINA DURING THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK. RESIDENTS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF DORIAN. 4. HEAVY RAINS, CAPABLE OF LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS, ARE EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF THE BAHAMAS AND COASTAL SECTIONS OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES THIS WEEKEND THROUGH MUCH OF NEXT WEEK.
Next updated storm track is due at 5PM. Keep calm and carry on… and go enjoy your Saturday!