SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB/AP) - Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 4, has weakened a little more, but remains a powerful and dangerous storm.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 2 p.m. that the Category 4 storm’s maximum sustained winds fell to 150 mph - down from 155 mph earlier in the day.
On Sunday, Dorian blasted the Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 220 mph, tying the record for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall.
The storm continued to creep westward at 1 mph. Its center was located about 25 miles northeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama island. It was about 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The center said Dorian is expected to move “dangerously close” to the Florida east coast late Monday through Wednesday evening and then move north to coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday night and Thursday.
A hurricane warning along Florida’s east coast has been extended northward to the Flagler-Volusia county line. A hurricane watch has been extended northward to Altamaha Sound in Georgia.
Though it’s forecast to track offshore of Florida’s East Coast, errors in forecasting (that cone of uncertainty) are enough that the East Coast could still see hurricane force winds and some mandatory and voluntary evacuations are being enacted.
If the storm stays on its best track, the impact on the Suncoast will be minimal with only a few breezy days and possibly a rip current issue mid-week. Otherwise, as the storm lifts north we may actually see lower rain chances and rain free skies by later in the week.
Until then expect those afternoon thunderstorms.