Dorian, Still a Formidable Force, Bears Down on the Carolinas

While the storm has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, it is still causing heavy rainfall, strong winds, and even tornadoes in the southeastern United States.


Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian off the coast of South Carolina, on the afternoon of September 5. (Image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center)

Mere days after unleashing 48 hours of fury over the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian – somewhat weaker but bigger than ever – has begun a new assault on the Carolinas.

The storm is slowly making its way up the United States’ eastern coastline, bringing heavy rainfall, storm surge, and high winds. Downtown Charleston was flooded on Thursday morning, and power outages were reported in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

It’s likely that the Carolinas will experience 24 hours of intense rain, flooding, and tropical storm- or even hurricane-force winds. Storm surge is likely to cause flooding along the coastline from Georgia to Virginia.

Tornadoes were also reported along the eastern Carolinas on Thursday. More are expected throughout the day.

Dorian had decreased to a Category 2 hurricane, and its walls seemed weaker, after departing the Bahamas and making contact with Florida. However, it then moved out to sea, where favorable weather conditions caused it to briefly regain Category 3 status.

While it has since calmed slightly – becoming a Category 2 storm once again – Dorian has grown significantly in size, with hurricane-force winds extending about 60 miles from its center, and tropical storm-force winds extending 195 miles.

Although the storm is located slightly off the coastline, this increased range means that its effects are likely to be widely felt.

The region has seen more than its fair share of extreme meteorological events. Just last year, Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, respectively, crashed through the southeastern United States, causing widespread havoc.

Dorian is likely to continue its path up the coastline, decreasing in strength as it interacts with land, but reaching Virginia late Thursday. South Carolina is expected to experience more intense winds as the day goes on.

The hurricane’s path has been infamously unpredictable, although warm waters and moist air have allowed it to remain a healthy storm system for longer than originally predicted.

Current models show it continuing to move slowly up the coastline, potentially even reaching Newfoundland before losing hurricane status.

Direct Relief has stationed Hurricane Preparedness Packs throughout the southeastern United States in anticipation of hurricane season. The packs, developed with experts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, contain life-saving materials designed to meet essential medical needs caused by hurricanes and similar disasters.

In addition, the organization has extended offers of medical aid to partners in the Carolinas, and will continue to monitor Dorian’s progress and offer assistance wherever it is needed.

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