Dorian has hardly moved since yesterday, and inflicting horrific damage on the northern Bahamas. As noted yesterday the economic impacts are estimated at $5 Billion, or half the total GDP of the nation. By comparison, that would be an $8 Trillion dollar storm in the US. And of course that is only a background to the humanitarian disaster. Reports are coming in of people trapped on second floors, needing to cut their way out of attics as the storm surge rises in excess of 25 feet in places – that remember high waves are riding on top of that storm surge.
In the face of such scenes it is hard for people in the future path of the storm to maintain perspective. Fortunately, Dorian has weakened somewhat, and while the forecast track has not changed much, it has shifted a bit further offshore from Florida, Georgia, and southern South Carolina. Good news, but especially for a compact storm the little wobbles matter, although less so on the weaker west side. The northern SC and North Carolina coast remain within the forecast damaging wind swath of that weaker western side of the storm. Here’s the impact estimate based on the NHC 5am forecast:
So nothing has changed in terms of expectations or recommendations since yesterday: follow the advice of local emergency managers, realizing that they are based on low probability but possible conditions. In all cases, the golden rules are shelter from wind, evacuate from water. Especially for the Georgia Coast (all of it, not just Savannah 🙂 ), this is more and more likely to be a coastal flooding event with 3 to 4 feet of water riding on on the top of the daily high tides. Some of the models even indicate that the majority of the rain will stay offshore. But prepare for tropical storm force winds and the usual consequences: branches down, a few trees random toppling over, and scattered to moderate power outages. And if you are in areas that flooded in the storms in the last two years, you should anticipate that again, although I expect water levels will be a foot or so below the Matthew/Irma levels.