Friday, 30 August 2019 18:13

Dorian strengthens; strong winds expected in Richmond County by Tuesday

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The potential impact of Hurricane Dorian on the Carolinas is still uncertain as the storm strengthened to a Category 3.

Maximum sustained winds were at 115 mph with the storm moving west-northwest at 9 mph, according to Friday’s 5 p.m. update.

Forecasters are currently predicting the storm will hit the central coast of Florida as a strong Category 4 on Tuesday. 

A chart from the National Hurricane Center shows Richmond and surrounding counties could see tropical-storm-force winds during the day.

Where it goes from there is still up in the air.

Most models have Hurricane Dorian skirting up the east coast of Florida, and slowing to a Category 2 or maybe even at Category 1 as it reaches Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday.

A potential rainfall chart shows Richmond County can expect 1-2 inches of rain from the storm through Friday, Sept. 6.

Once scenario, which forecasters say is unlikely, takes the storm across Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico where it loops back towards the east through the panhandle and through central Georgia and South Carolina and bringing the center of the weakened storm near Richmond and Scotland counties. 

If that happens, the eastern part of the state — still recovering from Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018) — could receive more rain than currently predicted.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina on Friday.

“Hurricane Dorian creates an imminent threat of severe economic loss of livestock, poultry and crops ready to be harvested,” Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a statement. “At my recommendation ...the Governor has directed the Department of Public Safety to temporarily suspend weighing those vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested. The Governor has also declared that the maximum hours of service for drivers prescribed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-381 should be waived. 

“A copy of Executive Order No. 100 is located online at www.ncagr.gov/disaster,” Troxler continued. “Farmers will be required to show a copy of the executive order upon request by law enforcement officers, exempted vehicles must produce documentation sufficient to establish their loads are being used for carrying feed for livestock and poultry, or transporting livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested in the State of North Carolina.”