Dorian's Eye Wall Nearing the Coast of South Carolina

Sep 4, 2019

11 PM Update: The eyewall of Hurricane Dorian is now parallel to the North Carolina coastline. Moderate to heavy rain is still falling over the Pee Dee and will eventually taper off early Friday morning. As of the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, Dorian is holding on as a category 2 hurricane. Maximum winds are still 100 mph and pressure has fallen to 958 mb. Storm motion has picked up just a bit and is now to the NE at 13 mph.   The center of the eye is about 35 miles southeast of Wilmington NC.

3 PM Update: Dorian’s outer eyewall continues to dump torrential rain on the Pee Dee and Grand Strand this afternoon. So far, 24 hour rain totals throughout the region are approaching 10 inches: Pawleys Island has accumulated 9.81” and a station in North Myrtle Beach reported accumulations of 8.64”. Dorian remains at Category 2 strength with sustained winds of 110 mph and minimum central pressure of 958 mb. The hurricane is moving north northeastward at 8 miles per hour.

12 PM Update:  The center of Hurricane Dorian was located only 45 miles east of Charleston, SC.  Top sustained winds were 110 mph, and the category 2 storm was moving north-northeast at 8 mph.  Recent wind gusts to hurricane strength were reported at Shute Folly in Charleston Harbor, Winyah Bay, and at Fort Johnson on James Island. 

The outer eye wall of Dorian is likely to move over coastal sections of northern Charleston County by 1 pm, then into coastal areas of Georgetown County between 1 and 2 pm, followed by a visit to the Myrtle Beach areas between 2 and 3 pm.  The storm surge and wind impacts will be greatest in these areas at those times. 

8 AM Update: Dorian remains a category 3 hurricane with top sustained winds of 115 mph. It is making a turn, and is now moving north-northeast near 8 mph. This means the eye of Dorian is likely to stay just offshore of South Carolina. However, tropical storm conditions have been reported overnight and this morning over a wide swath of the coast. Charleston International Airport reported a wind gust to 68 mph shortly before dawn. 

The center of the storm is 70 miles south-southeast of Charleston. It is not yet at its closest approach to the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions. Therefore, it is likely winds will continue to pick up there this morning. 

Several tornadoes have been reported and detected by radar from outer rain bands, especially over Horry county. Additional fast-moving tornadoes are possible today.

11 PM Update: Dorian is now Category 3 storm and considered a Major Hurricane once again. Maximum sustained winds are 115 mph and the minimum pressure is 955 mb. Storm motion is to the North at 7 miles per hour. Dorian could remain a Category 3 hurricane through late tomorrow morning, but should then weaken as it enters and area of drier air and increasing wind shear.

5 PM Update: Dorian is a bit stronger, but still a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph and central pressure of 961 mb. The hurricane is moving north northwest at 8 miles per hour. There are no updates to the forecast track: Current guidance keeps Dorian’s center offshore, but the National Hurricane Center stresses that any wobble left of track will bring Dorian onshore the Carolinas. Regardless of Dorian’s realized track, life threatening storm surge, excessive rainfall, and flash flooding are likely in South Carolina over the next 24 hours.

Conditions are slowly deteriorating along coastal South Carolina as Hurricane Dorian approaches from the south. 

A sustained wind of 39 mph was recently reported at Folly Beach Pier, with a gust to 51 mph, according to a special update from the National Hurricane Center at 4 pm. 

The storm was located 165 mph south of Charleston and moving north-northwest at 9 mph.  Maximum sustained winds were at 110 mph and the minimum central pressure was holding steady at 962 mb.

The National Hurricane Center has continued Hurricane Warnings for the entire coast of South Carolina, while Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect over inland areas from Walterboro to Sumter and Florence.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say that tropical storm force winds over the Charleston area early this evening will spread to near Georgetown shortly after midnight, then to Myrtle Beach before dawn on Thursday. Hurricane force wind gusts are likely right along the coast, closest to the center of Dorian during the day Thursday.

The eye is most likely to pass just offshore; however, a small wobble to the west could bring the eyewall of the dangerous hurricane on to the coast. Even if the eye stays just offshore, storm surge remains one of the largest concerns and for that reason, Storm Surge Warnings are in effect. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet in most areas, with the most surge prone areas potentially seeing a surge up to 8 feet.

Rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts to 15 inches are expected along the coast. This could result in flash flooding of low-lying areas and neighborhoods near creeks and streams, well away from the coast or from Dorian's path. 

Conditions are expected to improve late Thursday night as Dorian moves northeastward along the North Carolina coast.

Tropical Storm Fernand has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, near the Mexican coast, and will not be a threat to the United States. Tropical Storm Gabrielle is over the open waters of the Atlantic, northwest of the Cape Verde Islands. It is also not forecast to reach the U.S. mainland.