Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Forever Dorian


This wait for Hurricane Dorian has tried everyone's patience, but there is encouraging news today for some of us in its path . First, the storm has begun to deteriorate and is now at the top of the scale of a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph sustained winds. The estimated minimum central pressure has risen from a low yesterday of 911 millibars to 959 mb now, lowering the wind speed. The eye-wall has become difficult to see on radar, although it is still clearly visible in satellite shots. At 1 pm EDT Dorian was moving northwest at only about 3 mph, at last leaving Grand Bahama. We are under a storm surge warning and a hurricane watch here. Interestingly, areas north of us beginning at Edisto Beach are now under a hurricane warning, but we are not.

Importantly for our location near Savannah, the official estimated path has changed slightly to the east and now places the center of the storm 110 miles east of our location as it passes moving north. At this estimated position, our area at the coast will likely experience tropical storm force winds beginning Wednesday afternoon but possibly earlier in the day Wednesday. It should pass north of us in the middle of the night Wednesday-Thursday. The storm is expected to arrive in our area both weaker and further offshore that Hurricane Matthew three years ago. But of course, forecasts can change.

Storm surge here is forecast to be four to seven feet above normal water levels at the coast, and is expected to be closer to two feet above the current King Tides where we are located 15 nautical miles from the ocean up the Ogeechee River. High tides here at The Ford Plantation will be around 3:15 am and 4 pm Wednesday, and 4:15 am and 5 pm Thursday. We will be closely watching the Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning high tides which I expect will be the highest water we will see.

It is worth noting that the National Hurricane Center has been remarkably accurate in its forecast tracks, all the way down to the dead stop over Grand Bahama for 36 hours. The track has had no meaningful changes for nearly a week now, except to move the center a little more east of our location as it passes. The meteorologists there deserve our highest compliments.

There seems to be high confidence now of four things:
Northerly movement begins today.
It will track parallel to Florida tomorrow.
It will turn northeasterly tomorrow night into Thursday as it               passes east of our location.
The storm center will be very close to Cape Hatteras Friday.

Keep in mind that things can change quickly. The NHC Tweeted the following a after this morning's update:
IMPORTANT: The headline for this #Dorian advisory is NOT    that the wind speed has slightly decreased. The combined wind, surge, and floods hazards are the same or even worse since the hurricane has become larger. Full advisory: http://hurricanes.gov

For ourselves, we are nearly decided to stay in place for this storm, although we could change our minds and leave as late as tomorrow morning if the track changes. We will hate to be here if we lose power or if trees are falling, but leaving normally means a big delay getting back if there is damage and roads are closed. Even without power, we can stay on our boat with its generator if the threat of high winds and surge have passed.

Here's hoping everyone on the southeast coast stays safe and that property damage is minimal. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have suffered in the Bahamas. 

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