Update 11:45 am Sunday: Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have adjusted the forecast track just a few miles west of the previous track. This small adjustment and an expanded tropical storm and hurricane force wind field are the reasons why Hurricane Watches are in effect from north of Deerfield Beach to the Brevard/Volusia county line. Top sustained winds are near 180 mph.
Hurricane force winds now extend up to 45 miles from the eye and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles based on the latest update. Earlier, those winds extended 30 miles and 110 miles, respectively.
Tropical Storm Warnings remain in effect from north of Deerfield Beach to Sebastien Inlet. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach, and has also been expanded to Lake Okeechobee.
Hurricane Dorian has become a "catastrophic" category 5 hurricane, according to the 8 am advisory from the National Hurricane Center Sunday morning.
Forecasters also made a slight westward adjustment in their forecast track for Major Hurricane Dorian overnight. This necessitated the issuance of a Tropical Storm Warning for residents along Florida’s Treasure Coast from Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet.
The last line of Senior Hurricane Specialist Richard Pasch’s forecast notes Sunday morning was noteworthy for Floridian’s along the Atlantic Coast.
“Although the official track forecast does not show landfall, users should not focus on the exact track since a Florida landfall is still a distinct possibility.”
Major Hurricane Dorian is now expected to slow down before it turns to the northwest on Tuesday. Forecast Pasch went on to say in his key messages that life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds are “still possible” along portions of Florida’s east coast by the middle part of the week.
The latest forecast track and official advisory information from the National Hurricane Center is available in the Florida Storms mobile app, which we also summarized in a tweet early Sunday.
Several updates overnight on Major Hurricane #Dorian...
Left: Storm could stall Monday just E of West Palm, before turning north.
Middle: NHC says FL landfall “distinct possibility” based on avg forecast error and uncertainty factors. #FLwx
A significant change in the weather pattern that is steering Dorian is still likely to keep the worst of the hurricane just offshore the Florida east coast. However, the hurricane is large enough, strong enough, and could move close enough to spread tropical storm force winds across sections of the Treasure Coast.
Tropical storm force winds extend about 105 miles from the center, and forecasters say that could expand. For these reasons, Tropical Storm Watches have been issued from Deerfield Beach in Broward county to Sebastien Inlet near the Brevard/Indian River county line. High surf and rip currents are expected this weekend into early next week.
A ridge of high pressure that is steering the Dorian is forecast to keep pushing it westward this weekend toward the northwestern Bahamas. The ridge; however, is now forecast to be much weaker by Monday, which will cause it to slow or stall just offshore of Florida Monday. A turn toward the north is likely Tuesday and Wednesday, in the general direction of the Carolinas.
Tropical storm force winds could also reach parts of South Florida and the Space Coast on Monday, gradually spreading toward Daytona Beach and the First Coast on Tuesday. Hurricane force winds are becoming less likely and should stay offshore.
Coastal flooding is likely, regardless of how close Dorian gets to the state. The new moon is causing high astronomical tides during the times of high tide. The National Weather Service in Jacksonville has issued Coastal Flood Advisories. Tidal departures may reach 1 to 2 feet above normal this weekend.
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center says 2 to 5 inches of rain may still fall along portions of the east coast, but these amounts may change depending on exactly how close the storm gets.