Hurricane Dorian Looms Large off the Coast of Florida

After hovering stationary over the Bahamas for more than a day and killing at least five people, a relentless Hurricane Dorian finally began its journey towards Florida by “beginning to inch northwestward.” After nearly one week of preparations by the state of Florida, Dorian is expected to pick up steam Tuesday morning as it barrels its way mirroring the eastern Florida coast before making its way up the Atlantic. 

Dorian remained a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds at 120 miles per hour, as the southern eyewall continued to pummel Grand Bahama, according to the 8 a.m. advisory provided Tuesday morning by the National Hurricane Center. Storm movement remained at just 1 mile per hour, but meteorologists expect Dorian to pick up steam after stalling overnight. According to the forecast, Dorian will not directly hit Florida, with forecasts showing the hurricane’s center remaining offshore. The southeast Georgia coast can expect to feel the effects of Dorian by early Thursday morning. 

Even though the forecast confidently places the worst of Dorian off of mainland Florida, the coast — from Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach — is expected to begin experiencing hurricane conditions as early as Tuesday night as the storm makes its way. By Friday morning, 2 a.m. to be exact, experts expect that Dorian will come dangerously close to the shores of North Carolina as a hurricane. “Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days,” wrote the hurricane center in its advisory. 

Hurricane Dorian spent the majority of Labor Day just hovering over Grand Bahama, pounding the island with 12 to 18 feet of storm surge and winds that topped 145 mph. The violent storm ripped off roods, flooded shelters, and was responsible for taking the lives of at least five people, although the death toll is expected to climb as Dorian makes its way up the Atlantic and away from the islands. Horrifying videos began to surface on social media late Monday, plenty showing devastating floods of murky brown waters that battered at people’s windows, invaded the first floors of homes, and in some extreme cases, reaching the floor of people’s attics. 

Relief efforts for the Bahamas have already kicked off, many of which are being led by the Bahamian communities in South Florida. Even though Florida is expected to be spared a direct hit, avoiding the worst-case-scenario, forecasters are still predicting there’ll be rough weather on the central coast. Martin and Brevard counties will begin experiencing hurricane force winds on Tuesday morning, while tropical-storm force winds will affect Florida residents into Thursday morning as the gusts exit out of Florida. Mandatory evacuation orders are still in place for 13 eastern Florida counties within the coastal area. There are 85 opened shelters, including 22 special needs shelters that are ready to help people as they ride out the storm. 

People who find themselves within hurricane Dorian’s path should be aware and heed all warnings from officials. Briefings throughout the day will help people outline their preparations as Dorian mirrors the Florida coast before moving up the eastern seaboard. Here are some events to keep an eye on:

  • 10:30 a.m. ET — Lenny Curry, the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, and other emergency officials will hold a briefing.
  • 11 a.m. ET — Florida Power and Light will hold a news conference.
  • 1 p.m. ET — Florida’s Martin County emergency operations center holds a news conference.
  • 1:45 p.m. ET — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes reporters’ questions. 
  • 3 p.m. ET — Federal Emergency Management Agency has a news briefing.
  • 4 p.m. ET — Florida’s Broward County has a press conference.