Hurricane Dorian's eyewall is battering the North Carolina coast. The storm will begin to accelerate north offshore of the east coast later today.
Eastern North Carolina, especially around Cape Hatteras are being hammered by wind and storm surge from Dorian. A number of tornadoes have spun up in Dorian's outer bands. It will slowly let up through the day as the storm moves offshore and turns north.
Dorian will come close enough to eastern Virginia and Cape Cod that winds over 40 mph are forecast and some storm surge flooding is a threat, especially in the Norfolk area. Dorian will track close enough to New Jersey and Long Island to raise water levels a couple of feet, plus or minus, at high tide.
Farther north, Atlantic Canada is in the path. A significant storm is forecast, especially in Nova Scotia, with winds at or near hurricane force.
The Key Messages from the National Hurricane Center on Dorian are:
1. Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds are expected to continue along portions of the North Carolina coast, portions of southeast Virginia and the southern Chesapeake Bay. Water levels could rise well in advance of the arrival of strong winds. Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local emergency officials.
2. Flash flooding is occurring, and will continue to become more widespread across the eastern Carolinas and far southeast Virginia this morning. There is a high risk of flash flooding over these areas, where significant, life-threatening flash flooding is expected.
Elsewhere in the tropics, the only system of consequence is a strong tropical disturbance in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It is likely to develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next few days. It's about a week away from reaching the eastern Caribbean islands on the current schedule, so it is not worth thinking about at this point. If it develops, its name will be Imelda.
Behind it, the next disturbance moving off Africa does not appear to be as strong. It only has a slight chance to develop in the next five days.
Tropical anxiety is heightened because of Dorian, but it would be more unusual to NOT have tropical disturbances moving off of Africa this time of year than what we're seeing. Having said that, the peak of the Hurricane Season is next week, so it's the time of year to stay aware of what is going on in the tropics.