MIAMI – Dorian, a Category 3 hurricane packing winds of 185 kph (115 mph), is heading toward the Carolinas after lashing Georgia and the east coast of Florida with strong winds and waves.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 1200 GMT public advisory that the hurricane was 115 kilometers (70 miles) south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, and about 275 kilometers (170 miles) south-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina.
“A turn toward the northeast is anticipated by tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is forecast on Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Dorian will continue to move close to the coast of South Carolina today, and then move near or over the coast of North Carolina tonight and Friday,” the NHC said.
Forecasters said Dorian’s “center should move to the southeast of extreme southeastern New England Friday night and Saturday morning, and approach Nova Scotia later on Saturday.”
Hurricane-force winds extend outward from the storm’s center for about 95 kilometers (60 miles).
A storm surge warning is in effect from the Savannah River to Poquoson, Virginia, Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, the Neuse and Pamlico rivers, and Hampton Roads, Virginia.
A hurricane warning is in effect from the Savannah River to the North Carolina-Virginia border, and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from the North Carolina-Virginia border to Chincoteague, Virginia, and for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point south.
The NHC has issued a tropical storm watch from north of Chincoteague, Virginia, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, and in Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point, as well as for the tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island, and Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC said.
Hurricane Dorian killed at least 20 people in the Bahamas, where it made landfall earlier this week and battered the Abaco Islands, Grand Bahama and other islands in the northwestern part of the country.
Bahamian Health Minister Duane Sands said on Wednesday that the death toll was expected to rise.
Sands said 17 of the fatalities were in the Abaco Islands, where Dorian made landfall on Sunday, and three were in Grand Bahama, where the storm arrived on Monday.
Forecasters are now watching Tropical Storm Gabrielle, a poorly formed system in the Atlantic basin.
Tropical Storm Fernand, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, has broken up after drenching northeast Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.