Dorian Strengthens to Category 3, Could Make Landfall in North Carolina

By Melanie Sun

The National Hurricane Center reported in its 11 p.m. advisory that Hurricane Dorian has gained strength passing over warm waters and returned to a Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds speeds of close to 115 mph (185 km/h) being recorded.

The advisory said that Dorian is moving northwards at almost 7 mph (11 km/h).

The NHC said that over the next 12 hours, Dorian is expected to fluctuate in intensity, after which it is forecast to turn north-northeast and slowly weaken on Thursday.

On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, Category 3 hurricanes are classified as storm systems in which register sustained maximum winds speeds of 111-129 mph (178-208 km/h). Category 2 systems register sustained maximum winds speeds of 96-110 mph (154-177 km/h).

Dorian could make landfall in North Carolina on Thursday night or Friday, according to forecasts.

The Miami-based NHC said at 8 p.m. EST that Dorian could strengthen again to a Category 4 by Thursday because it is hovering over warm waters, a key ingredient in hurricane intensity, NHC meteorologist Lance Wood said.

The NHC issued a storm surge warning that covered the whole length of the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and extending to Hampton Roads in southern Virginia.

The storm surge warning for the next 36 hours, with danger from life-threatening coastal inundation, is in effect for:

  • Mouth of St. Mary’s River to Poquoson VA
  • Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
  • Neuse and Pamlico Rivers
  • Hampton Roads

More than 2.2 million people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate.Warnings are still in place north of St. Mary’s River Florida.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • North of Savannah River to the North Carolina/Virginia border
  • Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Mouth of St. Mary’s River to Savannah River

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of St. Mary’s River to Savannah River
  • North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague VA
  • Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • North of Chincoteague VA to Fenwick Island DE
  • Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point
  • Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island

Reuters contributed to this article.