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Local EMA monitors Hurricane Dorian

From Staff Reports

 

AMERICUS — After hurricane Dorian destroyed homes and businesses, and claimed at least five lives in the Bahamas, it was steadily churning its way toward the east coast of Florida. The Weather Channel was reported gigantic tides at Stuart, Fla., early Tuesday afternoon.

According to AccuWeather, Dorian’s destructive path through the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm was just the beginning to a storm that could affect a large portion of the southeast, and millions of people along the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coasts.

 

Nigel Poole, director of Sumter County Emergency Management Agency, told the Times-Recorder at lunchtime Tuesday that they are still in the preparedness mode. “We’re monitoring the system closely,” he said. “Currently, we don’t anticipate any problems here in Sumter County, but we will be ready to do what we do best if it becomes necessary.”

 

Accuweather sent out a press release Tuesday with some interesting facts about Dorian:

  • With sustained winds speeds of 185 mph, Dorian is tied for the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane by wind speed since 1851, along with Wilma (2005), Gilbert (1988), and Labor Day (1935). The only storm with higher wind speeds was Hurrricane Allen in 1980, with 190 mph winds — a storm that provided a trove of scientific information, which led to insights about storm dynamics, precipitation structure and eyewall replacement cycles, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA flew 13 flights into Hurricane Allen, recording an unprecedented level of data. After one particularly rocky flight, a scientist kissed the ground upon landing and resigned from the National Hurricane Research Laboratory days later.

 

  • This is the first and perhaps only Hurricane Dorian.

The World Meteorological Organization manages a formal storm-naming system. Every six years, the same list of storm names is used. The name Dorian first appeared in 2013, but the storm system that year only reached tropical storm level.

The previous “D” name was Dean, a name that was retired after 2007’s Hurricane Dean killed 44 people and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in the Caribbean, Hispaniola, and Mexico. Names of especially destructive and deadly storms are removed and replaced with another with the same letter.

It’s possible Dorian, based on how deadly it becomes, also will be removed from the list of storms prior to its next cycle in 2025.

 

AccuWeather reported that Hurricane Dorian was on the move again Tuesday — albeit a slow one — after parking itself over Grand Bahama Island for more than 12 hours Monday evening into Tuesday morning and relentlessly thrashing the island. A little more than 100 miles away from West Palm Beach, Florida, Dorian crawled northwest at 2 mph.

Millions are under evacuation orders from Georgia to Virginia with all eyes on Dorian, which has weakened to a Category 2 storm, and the track it takes along the southeastern coast of the United States. AccuWeather meteorologists continue to believe that the center of Dorian will remain east of Florida.

But forecasters have concerns that Dorian could parallel the Carolina coast with battering winds, pounding waves and torrential rain and even make a direct strike on the Carolinas. Significant impacts are in store for coastal areas even if landfall is avoided.

Exactly when and how fast the hurricane accelerates its northward motion and departs the Bahamas will affect the timing and exact track of the storm over the balance of the week. AccuWeather Chief Broadcast meteorologist Bernie Rayno said that even on Tuesday, “the crawl north is going to be very slow.”

Despite Dorian weakening to Category 2 hurricane with 110-mph sustained winds on Tuesday, the storm remains as dangerous as ever, particularly because it’s growing larger in size, its wind field expanding. It should not be taken lightly, forcasters caution.

“Even though Dorian is forecast to gradually lose intensity near the eye, the hurricane will gradually grow in girth in the coming days,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.