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Not here: Dorian stays east of county / September 04, 2019

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami and the National Weather Service in Wakefield are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dorian as it begins its slow march up the east coast of the United States.

For now, it appears that Mecklenburg County will be untouched by the storm, though out of caution at least one event in the area scheduled for Friday night has been canceled: the country music concert at South Hill’s Centennial Park featuring local performers Jason Link, Katie Davis and Jason Houchins.

The National Weather Service is predicting rain for the area on Thursday and Friday, but total rainfall is expected to be less than four-tenths of an inch over the two-day period.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, forecasters said storms winds were picking back up along portions of the Florida coast as Hurricane Dorian headed northwest at about 6 mph.

There is a tropical storm watch in effect for Virginia’s coastline from Chincoteague to the Chesapeake Bay area from Smith Point southward, but no similar watch or warning has been issued for Mecklenburg or surrounding counties.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

Dorian began its turn towards the southeast U.S. late Tuesday morning after pummeling the northwestern Bahamas to a degree not seen before in the history of Atlantic hurricanes, according to meteorologist Jeff Master with the Weather Underground forecasting website. Dorian lashed the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 185 mph — tying the mark for the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall. The only other Atlantic hurricane to match Dorian’s destructive ferocity was the unnamed 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys.

Dorian pounded the Bahamas for 22 hours before falling to Category 4.

As the Dorian moves north, it is expanding in size. Forecasters expect tropical storm-force winds to extend outward by about 150 miles. How close the eye moves toward coastal Virginia will determine the extent to which this area will feel its winds.

While all eyes are still on Dorian, forecaster are already looking to the next hurricanes to develop this season. Tropical Storm Ferdinand formed Tuesday in the western Gulf of Mexico, and there are several storm systems brewing off Cape Verdes near Africa which could develop into major storms.

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