Hurricane Dorian Could Bring Significant Wind Damage With Saturated Ground

Sep 2, 2019

Dorian is beginning to move northwestward at about one mph, and the National Weather Service says a slightly faster move toward the northwest or north-northwest is expected later today and tonight. A turn toward the north is forecast by Wednesday evening, followed by a turn to the north-northeast Thursday morning. 

Steven Pfaff, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wilmington, says wind damage from the storm could be significant and compounded from all the rain.  He says it’s important to be aware of the storm’s sustained wind speeds – Category 3 now according to the Saffir-Simpson scale, but as we learned from the devastation of last year’s Category 1 Hurricane Florence – there are many other factors that determine severity of impacts.

"Yes, and with storms that come up the coast and this one projected to weaken in a sense, we can't let our guard down.  We don't want to focus on the Saffir-Simpson scale.  We want to focus on the impacts – what those impacts mean to everyone – and stay safe, make the right decisions based on impacts – not what the storm’s Saffir-Simpson scale is."

We’ll see rough surf and rip currents; there could be coastal inundation and storm surge on Wednesday.  But the danger increases on Thursday, according to Pfaff. He warns of fairly significant wind, and with a saturated ground, it doesn't take much to knock trees down.  Pfaff says to expect damage to trees, power lines, and weaker structures.