Eastern North Carolina moving into Dorian’s sights

Published 10:44 pm Saturday, August 31, 2019

Though Hurricane Dorian continues barreling westward toward the coast of Florida, its evolving track has eastern North Carolina in its sights.

According to an update from Beaufort County Emergency Services, a cold front in the southern U.S. is expected to steer Dorian toward South and North Carolina over the coming days, putting the category 2 storm off the coast of Wilmington/Morehead City by sunrise on Thursday morning.

“Please understand that there is still a large degree of uncertainty with the current forecast models, as there continues to be many variables at play,” Chris Newkirk, operations chief of fire/emergency management for Beaufort County Emergency Services, wrote in an email Saturday night. “We may not know of the anticipated impacts this storm may bring to our area for another 24 to 48 hours. It is imperative that you continue your efforts to become a prepared and resilient community as you monitor the progress of Dorian.”

Dorian is a category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, currently moving at a speed of 8 knots toward the Bahamas. Previous forecasts included a direct hit to southern Florida, but now forecasters are calling for the storm to skate up the coast of Florida in the coming days, turning northeast toward the Carolinas.

“Trends have increased significantly for our area regarding tropical storm force winds, which may occur as early as sometime Wednesday. Other specifics are too uncertain this far out,” wrote Erik Heden, warning coordination meteorologist, for the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City.

The latest update from NWS Newport/Morehead City says confidence is high for increased rip currents off the coast, however, confidence “is low on direct impacts because we are four to six days away.”

Newkirk said the next update from BCES will be Sunday afternoon/evening. The first briefing for municipal and county leaders, first responders and response agencies will take place as early as Monday afternoon.

“We realize that Monday is a holiday, but we may not be afforded the opportunity to push these conversations back to Tuesday,” Newkirk wrote.