Hurricane Dorian reaches Category 4 strength


8:30 p.m. UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center has received additional data from the NOAA Hurricane Hunters indicating that Hurricane Dorian’s winds have reached 130 mph which puts the storm officially at Category 4 strength.

8 p.m. UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center has issued their intermediate advisory on Hurricane Dorian.

Maximum sustained winds have climbed up to 125 mph which puts the storm at a high-end Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. When a hurricane reaches max winds of 131 mph, it’s classified as a Cat. 4.

Other notes from Dorian include a Hurricane Warning in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island. A Hurricane Watch is up for Andros Island.

A Hurricane Warning is issued when hurricane-force winds are expected to be felt within 36 hours. A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane-force winds are possible within 48 hours.

Regarding Dorian’s potential impacts for the lower 48, we’re still a good day or so out from really starting to get a grasp of “where and when.” The entire east coast of Florida remains in-play for a potential landfall, or at least to have hurricane conditions likely to be felt.

5 p.m. UPDATE: The strength of Hurricane Dorian has not changed. The new advisory from the National Hurricane Center still has the maximum sustained winds at 115 mph, though the latest Air Force Reconnaissance flights have shown gusts peaking up to 140 mph. Dorian has also slightly shifted more toward the west northwest and has slowed to 9 mph.

The storm continues to move toward the Bahamas. As Dorian makes its approach during the Labor Day holiday, further strengthening is expected, possibly reaching mid-range Category 4 status, which is unchanged from other recent forecasts.

One fairly significant change, though, is the track. The official National Hurricane Center track wants to turn the storm sharply to the north close to the Florida coastline.

2 p.m. UPDATE: Hurricane Dorian has been upgraded to a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds.

Hurricane Dorian continues to increase in intensity as he moves over the warmer waters of the Western Atlantic.  The latest information update from the National Hurricane Center has Dorian now as a major hurricane.  A major hurricane is a Category 3 or higher and Dorian received that status today as winds were clocked to be near 115 mph with gusts close to 130.

 A Category 3 hurricane is defined by sustained wind speeds of 111 – 129 mph and a Category 4 is 130 – 156 mph, Cat 5 is 157 and above.

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Dorian is then forecast to move west and reach Category 4 strength as he moves closer to the Bahamas and reaches wind speeds of 130 mph. Current forecast is calling for Dorian to make landfall along the central east coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on Monday afternoon or late evening (Labor Day). 

Anyone with interests in Central Florida may need to get squared away and brace for what may be one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the central coast of east Florida in years.  The last major hurricane to make landfall on the east coast of Florida was Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992, he was a Category 5.

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