Hurricane Dorian Strengthens To ‘Major’ Category 3 As It Batters The Carolinas

Hurricane Dorian has strengthened overnight and is now a “major” Category 3 storm.

The National Hurricane Center said they were able to determine the storm has increased its sustained winds speeds by using an Air Force “Hurricane Hunter” plan.

“The forecast motion should bring the core of Dorian near the coast of South Carolina during the next 6 to 12 hours and over the Outer Banks of North Carolina between 24 and 36 hours,” the NHC said in its 11:00 pm update, the Washington Examiner reports. “Since the NHC track prediction continues to take Dorian dangerously close to the southeast U.S. coast, all interests from Georgia to the Carolinas should remain vigilant to the possibility of experiencing destructive winds, flooding rains, and life- threatening storm surges from this hurricane.”

The Washington Examiner adds:

Those winds are capable of “devastating damage” in which “[w]ell-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes,” according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Forecasters are now closely watching how quickly the storm will again weaken and how close its core will get to the coast. Hurricane-force winds are extending outward up to 60 miles from the center of Dorian and tropical-storm-force winds extend as far as 195 miles.

The NHC cautioned that the increase in the storm’s intensity carries with it new dangerous potential.

“1. Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds are expected along portions the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and portions of southeast Virginia and the southern Chesapeake Bay, regardless of the exact track of Dorian’s center. Water levels could rise well in advance of the arrival of strong winds. Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local emergency officials,” the reports cautions.

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“2. Flash flooding will become increasingly likely across coastal Georgia into the eastern Carolinas overnight. On Thursday, there is a high risk of flash flooding over coastal sections of the Carolinas, where significant, life-threatening, flash flooding is expected,” it continues.

As of Thursday morning, the storm is battering the Carolina coastline, as its about 65 miles from Charleston, South Carolina, and about 155 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina, CBS News reports.

The report adds:

A summary of watches and warnings in effect, via the National Hurricane Center.

  • Storm surge warning: From the Savannah River to Poquoson, Virginia; the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds; the Neuse and Pamlico rivers; Hampton Roads, Virginia

  • Hurricane warning: From the Savannah River to the North Carolina-Virginia border; the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds

  • Tropical storm warning: From the North Carolina-Virginia border to Chincoteague, Virginia; Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward

  • Tropical storm watch: North of Chincoteague, Virginia, to Fenwick Island, Delaware; Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point; tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island; in Massachusetts from Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach; Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Nantucket, Massachusetts