Dorian crawls up Florida's east coast toward Carolinas

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After a day sitting over Grand Bahama Island, Hurricane Dorian made its northwestward turn Tuesday -- very slowly. 

As of the 11 p.m. update, Dorian was still about 95 miles east of Cape Canaveral, moving northwest at 6 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph -- not necessarily good news, the NHC warned.

"The headline for this Dorian advisory is NOT that the wind speed has slightly decreased. The combined wind, surge, and floods hazards are the same or even worse since the hurricane has become larger," the NHC update noted.

Hurricane-force winds extend out about 45 miles from the storm's eye, with the strongest winds remaining on the east side of the storm.

The Storm Surge Watch was extended northward from Duck, NC to Poquoson, VA, including Hampton Roads.

Through the past two days, Freeport, Bahamas, has mainly stayed just west of Dorian's eye, and had not had a break from its winds, explained FOX 13's meteorologist Dave Osterberg. 

"It's been blowing and blowing and blowing in Freeport now for 24 to 36 hours," he said. "I don't know what kind of structures and trees...that can withstand that type of wind for that long of period of time."

Remaining stationary for over a day is ultimately what caused Dorian to weaken from a Category 5 hurricane to a Category 3, Osterberg said.

"These storms need warm, warm water and it's using all the surface water to keep it up,"  he explained. "As it's using all that water, water from underneath comes up and it's cooler down just causes the storm to weaken."

LINK: Track Dorian on

On Monday, the high pressure system that was steering Dorian last week broke down, as expected. A trough heading to the east coast is beginning to steer Dorian northwest, then should pull it north, paralleling Florida's east coast before turning northeast.

The forecast keeps it offshore, with all of Florida completely removed from the cone of uncertainty. 

"I don't think wind is going to be an issue for the east coast," Osterberg explained. "I think it's going to be the water, just like it was with Hurricane Matthew a couple of years ago."

If Dorian follows the projected track, it appears the hurricane force winds -- of at least 74 miles per hour -- will remain offshore, but the east coast could still experience wind speeds between 40 mph and 55 mph. There is the potential for the Dorian to not make landfall in the lower 48, but there will still be storm surge along the east coast of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

Beach erosion and coastal flooding are likely. 

LINK: Track Dorian on

The following watches and warnings have been issued: 

A storm surge warning is in effect for:
- Jupiter Inlet FL to Surf City NC

A storm surge watch is in effect for:
- North of Surf City NC to Duck NC
- Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
- Neuse and Pamlico Rivers

A hurricane warning is in effect for:
- Sebastian Inlet FL to Ponte Vedra Beach FL
- North of Savannah River to Surf City NC

A hurricane watch is in effect for: 
- North of Ponte Vedra Beach FL to Savannah River
- North of Surf City NC to the North Carolina/Virginia border
- Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds

A tropical storm warning is in effect for: 
- Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas
- North of Ponte Vedra Beach FL to Savannah River
- Jupiter Inlet FL to Sebastian Inlet FL

A tropical storm watch is in effect for: 
- The North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague VA
- Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward

It may still come close enough to bring tropical storm-force winds to in Polk and Highlands counties, but otherwise, there are no major impacts to the Tampa Bay area. After Dorian passes Florida, rain chances will drop for at least two days. 

Dorian is now tied for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. The National Hurricane Center said Dorian made landfall at Elbow Cay, Abacos around 12:40 p.m. Sunday, followed by a second landfall at 2 p.m. on Great Abaco Island near Marsh Harbour.