As Hurricane Dorian continued to pummel the northern Bahamas on Monday, the south-eastern United States was bracing for the impending storm.
Though the slow-moving, powerful storm was downgraded from a category 5 to a category 4 hurricane, the second most powerful on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said the hurricane was still “extremely dangerous”, with winds of up to 150mph, extending up to 45 miles outward from the eye.
It has proved particularly difficult over the last four days for experts to forecast Dorian’s path, but here’s what the NHC is expecting from the storm as it approaches the United States mainland:
The hurricane is expected to stay over the Bahamas on Monday night.
Over the course of the night, the storm is predicted to head west or north-west, picking up speed “dangerously close” towards the Florida east coast.
Whether Florida will be directly hit by Dorian is still unclear. After initially thinking it would likely make landfall there, the NHC is projecting that the storm’s center will stay clear of the state’s east coast.
It nonetheless warns that even a “small deviation to the left” of its forecast will cause serious damage.
The NHC predicts that the storm will approach to the northern Florida and southern Georgia coastlines as early as Tuesday evening.
Even if the storm’s center does not hit the coasts directly, it is predicted to come close enough to cause life-threatening storm surges and catastrophic winds. Residents along Florida and Georgia’s eastern coastlines have been ordered to evacuate.
The NHC projects that the hurricane will remain a powerful category 4, but could possibly downgrade to a category 3, throughout Tuesday.
Wednesday and beyond
The NHC expects that the hurricane will continue to move north on Wednesday and into Thursday, moving beyond the Florida coast and upward, parallel to the South Carolina coasts.
The tempest could lessen to a category 2 hurricane as it brushes the eastern edge of South Carolina, but may remain at hurricane strength all week.