MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Hurricane Dorian has strengthened into a dangerous category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph and gusts up to 165 mph. Within the next day, Dorian is forecast to continue to strengthen; sustained winds up to 150 mph are expected. The track from the National Hurricane Center has shifted slightly northeastward since Friday afternoon.
The ridge to the north of Dorian is building, causing the storm to head west. In 2 to 3 days, the western edge of the ridge will erode, causing Dorian’s steering winds to collapse and therefore slowing the storm down as it approaches Florida. The hurricane will then eventually turn north, but exactly when it turns north could be the difference between a catastrophic landfall along the east coast of Florida and a glancing blow. The newest forecast cone below shows a shift to the northeast, taking into account that some models are keeping the storm offshore while others have it making landfall. This is not a sigh of relief to anyone along the east coast - even if Dorian turns north early, it could still pose a flooding, wind and tornado threat to Florida, as well as threaten Georgia and the Carolinas.
A few bullet points on how this relates to you...
+ There is no reason to cancel your Gulf beach plans this weekend. If you’re heading to Panama City Beach, Gulf Shores or anywhere in between, the weather will be just fine through at least Tuesday of next week. Go, have fun, eat some seafood for us.
+ The risk to Alabama is low at this time, but there are still some longshot scenarios on the table that could change that.
+ So, in Alabama, there’s no need to worry or go buy a generator - but, you should pay attention to updated forecasts over the weekend. Current data trends suggest that the storm will go east of Alabama, and have little to no impact on us. But, that could still change.
+ Travel plans to the Bahamas, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale for this weekend/early next week should be reconsidered. Life-threatening storm surge, destructive wind and inland flooding are all increasingly likely for south Florida and the Bahamas this weekend and into next week.
You can track Dorian yourself anytime on the WSFA First Alert Weather App and here on WSFA.com.
Now for our local weather...
Our Labor Day weekend will feature hot and humid weather with highs in the low 90s. Pop up showers and storms are possible in the afternoon and evening hours.
For college football, there are two local home games - Faulkner takes on Bluefield at 11am in Montgomery, and Troy plays Campbell at 5pm at the Vet. Expect hot, muggy weather with a small chance of a passing shower or thunderstorm.
Our weather beyond the weekend depends on Hurricane Dorian, but for now it looks to stay on the drier side. We’ll keep you updated.