Major Hurricane Dorian moved toward the Carolinas on Wednesday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Dorian was located at latitude 31.3°N and longitude 79.6°W which put it about 105 miles (170 km) south of Charleston, South Carolina. Dorian was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 955 mb.
A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Savannah River, Georgia to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, Florida to Savannah River, Georgia. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from the mouth of the St. Mary’s River to Savannah River, Georgia and from the North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague, Virginia. A Tropical Storm Warning was also in effect for Chesapeak Bay south of Smith Point. Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast from Chincoteague, Virginia to Fenwick Island, Delaware, for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point and for the Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island.
Hurricane Dorian strengthened back into a major hurricane on Wednesday night as it moved over the warm water in the Gulf Stream. A large eye with a diameter of 45 miles (75 km) became more circular and symmetrical. The ring of thunderstorms surrounding the eye became continuous and a little thicker. The strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Other bands of showers and thunderstorms revolving around the core of Hurricane Dorian also got stronger. Storms around the core of Dorian generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane and the surface pressure decreased.
The circulation around Hurricane Dorian increased in size on Wednesday. Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 200 miles (320 km) from the center. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Dorian was 20.6. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 22.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 43.2. Hurricane Dorian was capable of causing widespread major damage.
Hurricane Dorian will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours. Dorian will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C. It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Dorian could get a little stronger during the night. An upper level trough over the central U.S. will move toward Hurricane Dorian on Thursday. The upper level trough will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the hurricane. Those winds will cause the vertical wind shear to increase, which will cause Dorian to start to weaken.
Hurricane Dorian will move around the western end of a subtropical ridge over the western Atlantic Ocean. The ridge will steer Dorian toward the north on Wednesday night. The upper level trough will turn Hurricane Dorian toward the northeast on Thursday. On its anticipated track Hurricane Dorian could approach the coast of South Carolina on Thursday morning. Dorian will move along the coast of North Carolina on Thursday afternoon and Thursday night.
Even if the center of Hurricane Dorian stays just south of the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina, the large circulation means that locations near the coast are likely to get hurricane force winds. Winds blowing water toward the coast could cause storm surges of 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.5 meters) in some locations. Dorian could also drop locally heavy rain and cause flash flooding near the coast.
Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Fernand made landfall north of La Pesca, Mexico on Wednesday and Tropical Storm Gabrielle developed south of the Azores. Ar 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Fernand was located at latitude 25.0°N and longitude 99.0°W which put it about 100 miles (160 km) west-northwest of La Pesca, Mexico. Dorian was moving toward the west-northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.
At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Gabrielle was located at latitude 21.5°N and longitude 34.4°W which put it about 1220 miles (1965 km) south-southwest of the Azores. Gabrielle was moving toward the northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 m/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.