Tropical Storm Watches have been posted in advance of Hurricane Dorian, which is slowly crawling closer to the state.
Dorian remains a powerful category 4 hurricane with top sustained winds of 150 mph as of the 5 pm Saturday update from the National Hurricane Center. Seasonably warm ocean temperatures and light wind shear — both of which are normally needed for intense hurricanes — are expected to fuel the storm for several more days.
A significant change in the weather pattern that is steering Dorian is likely to keep the worst of the hurricane just offshore the Florida east coast. However, the hurricane is large enough, strong enough, and could move close enough to spread tropical storm force winds across sections of the Treasure Coast.
Tropical storm force winds extend about 105 miles from the center, and forecasters say that could expand. For these reasons, Tropical Storm Watches have been issued from Deerfield Beach in Broward county to Sebastien Inlet near the Brevard/Indian River county line. High surf and rip currents are expected this weekend into early next week.
A ridge of high pressure that is steering the Dorian is forecast to keep pushing it westward this weekend toward the northwestern Bahamas. The ridge; however, is now forecast to be much weaker by Monday, which will cause it to slow or stall just offshore of Florida Monday. A turn toward the north is likely Tuesday and Wednesday, in the general direction of the Carolinas.
Tropical storm force winds could also reach parts of South Florida and the Space Coast on Monday, gradually spreading toward Daytona Beach and the First Coast on Tuesday. Hurricane force winds are becoming less likely and should stay offshore.
Coastal flooding is likely, regardless of how close Dorian gets to the state. The new moon is causing high astronomical tides during the times of high tide. The National Weather Service in Jacksonville has issued Coastal Flood Advisories. Tidal departures may reach 1 to 2 feet above normal this weekend.
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center says 2 to 5 inches of rain may still fall along portions of the east coast, but these amounts may change depending on exactly how close the storm gets.