UPDATE: THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 5: Dorian is currently positioned about 80 miles southeast of Charleston, North Carolina, and is steadily picking up speed, presently moving northwards at about 10 mph. It is gradually weakening, with maximum sustained winds at around 110 mph, although the National Hurricane Center is still issuing severe storm surge and hurricane warnings, particularly for North Carolina.
The models are all suggesting that Dorian will weaken slowly over the next few days as it encounters an area of increased vertical shear. It will probably still remain a hurricane for the next 72 hours, after which it is expected to lose the characteristics of a tropical storm and become extra-tropical.
The system is likely to continue to accelerate, travelling north and then turning northeast, steered around the southern flank of a trough of low pressure to the north. Current forecasts are putting Dorian just off Cape Hatteras by mid-afternoon Friday, local time, before it continues heading northeast towards Nova Scotia and beyond.
A very short-lived pulse of large surf is expected to progressively affect spots along the Eastern Seaboard as the system brushes past. The short fetch on the southern flank of the storm, exaggerated by its north-easterly movement, means that, at most spots, there will only be a tiny window where offshore winds coincide with swell.
EARLIER: MONDAY SEPTEMBER 2: Dorian is now located about 100 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, and has come to an almost complete standstill, moving westwards at around 1 mph. It has now reached Category 5 with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph. The National Hurricane Centre is warning of ‘extreme destruction’ on Grand Bahama Island, with gusts of up to 200 mph and storm surges of well over 20 feet.
The system is expected to remain slow-moving over the next 36 hours, before turning northwest and north. It is then expected to accelerate towards the northeast, steered around the southern flank of a developing trough of low pressure. It will remain a very dangerous major hurricane for the next several days, only gradually weakening as it encounters an area of increased vertical shear.
WATCH: Dorian Live on our Satellite Beach Cam HERE.
Current forecasts are for the system not to make landfall in Florida, but the experts are quick to point out that any small deviation to the east could still bring it onto the coast and cause havoc.
Later in the week, the models are suggesting that Dorian will skirt along the East Coast, generating large surf and strong winds in Georgia, South and North Carolina.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31: Dorian is now located about 500 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, and continues to move steadily west-northwest. It is now already a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, and still increasing. It is expected to begin moving westwards later today and then slow down as it passes north of the Bahamas. It will remain a really powerful system as it tracks towards the east coast of Florida, expected to make landfall sometime on Monday.
Keep an eye on your local Florida forecasts HERE
Indications are still for Dorian to continue strengthening over the next day or so as it maintains tracks over an area of high sea temperatures and low vertical wind shear. After that, things are difficult to predict, with some fluctuations in strength but still remaining a very strong system.
Severe warnings are currently in effect for the northern Bahamas, and will probably come into effect soon for Florida. A short-lived pulse of very large, stormy surf is expected in the Bahamas later today and tomorrow, and then in Florida on Monday and Tuesday. If you are not caught up in the chaos, head for somewhere south of the main disaster area.
Longer-term forecasts, although very uncertain at this stage, show Dorian turning northwards and tracking up the east coast, gradually weakening as it goes.
Hurricane Dorian is heading towards Florida over the next few days. And while it's an extremely dangerous situation, sustained winds are forecast at around 100mph – it does mean that we could to see some epic surf, south of the impact zone.
Currently, Dorian's located about 300 miles east of the Bahamas and is moving in a north-westerly direction. At the moment, the maximum sustained winds are increasing. The system is expected to continue moving northwest or west over the weekend, reaching the northwest Bahamas on Sunday and then continuing on towards Florida.
MSW forecaster, Tony Butt says: “All indications are for Dorian to continue strengthening, becoming a major hurricane by Friday night and hitting Category 4 by Sunday. Several factors including a decrease in shear (shear means vertical wind variation, a lack of which tends to encourage hurricane formation), at the same time as the system moves over sea surface temperatures of 29°C (warm water basically means more energy).
“Warnings of hurricane-force winds and storm surges are in effect for the Bahamas over the weekend. The exact trajectory of the system is still very uncertain, but it will probably hit the east coast of Florida sometime late in the weekend or early next week.
“If you have time for surfing among the chaos, head for somewhere just south of the impact zone, where you could be looking at a few hours of large surf accompanied by strong offshore winds.”