Meteorologists with the National Weather Service pushed Hurricane Dorian’s arrival time back from overnight Wednesday to between 6 a.m. and noon on Thursday, but conditions were expected to get worse through Wednesday night in advance of the hurricane.
Representatives of local and state government agencies assembled in Glynn County’s Emergency Operations Center at 6 p.m. Wednesday to hear the latest news of the hurricane’s progress towards the Isles.
Dorian is forecast to stay out at sea and to skim the coast, bringing tropical storm conditions to the Golden Isles. Winds are expected to hit sustained speeds 45-55 mph and gust up to 73 mph, which is on the low end of the NWS’ last forecast.
The highest wind speed recorded in Glynn County was 43 mph in the city of Brunswick, while the highest the hurricane has been seen to produce on land is 62 mph in St. Augustine.
According to National Weather Service meteorologist Al Sandrick, the NWS “no longer has any belief” that Georgia’s beaches will experience hurricane-force winds, and the storm is expected leave Glynn County behind sometime between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. Friday.
Glynn County is still under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch. A hurricane warning is still in effect out at sea.
Sandrick said flooding is no longer much of a concern. A storm surge warning is still in effect for the Isles, however.
Storm surges of three to five feet and rainfall between four and six inches on the coast are anticipated, which will likely result in flooding, Sandrick said.
“What we have in the Intracoastal Waterway now is what Dorian has to use for flooding places like the city of Brunswick and some flash flooding on Jekyll Island, and frankly it isn’t much,” Sandrick said.
Florida has already experienced some flooding, Sandrick said, and Georgia can expect the same in particularly low-lying areas along the coast.
“Places where you normally see problems, that’s where I’d expect to see problems,” Sandrick said.
The Intracoastal Waterway in Florida saw about three feet of flooding, he said.
“That’s just about what I expect to see inside coastal Georgia, about three feet above mean high or higher water,” Sandrick said. “You might see some water on the righthand lane of the Torras causeway at high tide, but at this point, I think that’s about all we’re seeing.”
Surf overwash around Gould’s Inlet and the King & Prince Resort is likely, he said, along with the St. Marys Riverfront and the righthand lane of the F.J. Torras Causeway.
Sandrick said storm surges are also likely to impact spots along Lanier Boulevard in Brunswick and the area around Marshside Grill on U.S. Highway 17, among others.
He was optimistic. Overall, Dorian’s impact on the Isles is looking more and more manageable, he said.
The NWS likely won’t hold an 8 a.m. briefing on Thursday, and will wait until around 2:30 p.m., he said. By that point Dorian may already have passed over the Golden Isles, he said.
County elected officials plan to discuss evacuee reentry plans 9 a.m. Thursday, and tentatively to hold a press conference on the subject at 10:30 a.m.
GDOT district materials specialist Greg Leggett said the transportation department plans to close all of the state-owned bridges in Glynn and Camden counties for pre-inspection. Some may not have to undergo a full inspection and will reopen shortly after they’ve closed.