5AM Sunday: Track Nudges West But Still Offshore. Tropical Storm Warnings for Portions of Coast. Standby but Don’t Stand Down. Don’t Panic.

With the forecast models continuing to inch Dorian a bit more Westward following its interaction with the Bahamas over the next day or so, the track has once again been nudged slightly west. The storm center is still expected to remain offshore in the current thinking (with a close pass by Cape Canaveral), but portions of the Attractions Area remain within the cone of uncertainty so we still can’t let our guard down just yet. Tropical Storm Warnings are now up for part of the Florida Coast and the NHC has cautioned that additional watches and warnings are possible later today.

The early morning watch and warning map shows a hurricane watch for coastal waters and offshore waters near Cape Canaveral… but the watch is not currently in effect for the land areas of Brevard County.

Analysis late last night by the local National Weather Service office indicated that sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts to Tropical Storm force are expected across interior areas of the state Monday night through Tuesday. This analysis may change later this morning when the next “Hurricane Local Statement” is released.

Here’s the latest thinking on the path from the NHC.

A high
pressure ridge to the north of Dorian should maintain this westward
movement through today.  By tonight, the global models show the
ridge weakening, and this evolution should result in a slowing of
the forward speed, with the hurricane becoming nearly stationary
around 48 hours.  In comparison to its earlier runs, the new ECMWF
track forecast takes the system farther to the west during the next
couple of days, and is the southwesternmost model through 48 hours.
As a result, the official track forecast has been shifted a little
west during that time frame.  In 2 to 4 days, Dorian should turn
northward in response to a trough over the eastern United States.
By the end of the period, the flow on the south side of the trough
should cause the cyclone to move northeastward near the Carolinas.

The westward shift of the NHC track within the first 48 hours
necessitates the change from a Tropical Storm Watch to a Tropical
Storm Warning for a portion of the Florida east coast.  Although
the official track forecast does not show landfall, users should not
focus on the exact track since a Florida landfall is still a
distinct possibility.

The storm still represents a significant threat to the Bahamas.

Here are a few key messages…

1. A prolonged period of life-threatening storm surge, devastating
hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains capable of producing
life-threatening flash floods are expected on the Abaco Islands and
Grand Bahama through Monday, and a hurricane warning is in effect
for these areas.

2. A tropical storm warning is now in effect for a portion of the
Florida east coast.  Since Dorian is forecast to slow down and turn
northward as it approaches the coast, life-threatening storm surge
and dangerous hurricane-force winds are still possible along
portions of the Florida east coast by the middle part of this week.
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. There is an increasing risk of strong winds and dangerous storm
surge along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North
Carolina later this week.  Residents in these areas should continue
to monitor the progress of Dorian.

4. Heavy rains, capable of producing life-threatening flash floods,
are possible over coastal sections of the southeast and lower
mid-Atlantic regions of the United States through late this week.

Next party is due at 11AM. Keep calm and carry on, but check back around 11AM, 5PM, and 11PM for updates.

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