BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been a long journey. Dorian has been in the news now for nearly two weeks. Plodding, inching its way through the Caribbean and then blowing up into a monster, category 5 hurricane in the northern Bahamas.
After scraping parts of the southeast U.S. coast, Dorian officially made landfall at 8:35 a.m. Friday over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina with maximum sustained winds estimated near 90 mph. Dorian is the 18th hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since 1950.
During the day, Dorian will begin to pull away from the U.S. mainland and race over the open Atlantic. That’s where we come in, the last stop before Dorian starts to slowly lose its tropical characteristics and accelerates towards Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the great beyond.
Thankfully, Dorian’s path near New England is forecast to be well offshore, likely 150 miles or so from land. But, it will likely be just close enough to scrape southeastern New England with just a little taste of its fury for a short period of time early on Saturday.
By Friday afternoon, clouds will gradually thicken and skies will become overcast from south to north.
Some scattered rain showers are possible along the South Coast late in the day, but most of the rain will hold off until after dark Friday.
The steadiest and heaviest rainfall will come between 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, Dorian will accelerate well past our latitude, taking the wind, rain and clouds with it.
The highest rainfall totals will be in areas closest to the storm, Cape Cod and the Islands. We expect 1 to 3 inches of rain in these locations with the possibility of some localized flooding during some of the heaviest bands of rain early Saturday morning.
Coastal areas from the North Shore, through Boston and through the South Shore will likely receive between .5 to 1 inch of rain with fewer totals as you travel farther inland.
The strongest winds will also be located across Cape Cod and the Islands. Expect wind gusts between 40 to 60 mph on Saturday morning, veering from east to northeast and finally to the north-northwest as the storm passes by.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for these areas, essentially highlighting the potential for tropical-storm-force winds (greater than 39 mph). Some downed trees, branches and power lines are possible.
For the remaining coastal areas of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, expect gusts between 30 and 40 mph on Saturday morning. Inland of Interstate 95, wind gusts will be much lower, in the 20 to 30 mph range.
Obviously the seas will be very rough as Dorian passes by. Seas as large as 15 to 20 feet are likely in our coastal waters east of Cape Cod and the Islands. Some minor coastal flooding is possible between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday on the north and east facing Cape Cod beaches and the north side of Nantucket. Tides will not be astronomically high, no major flooding issues or property damage is expected.
I do anticipate some large breaking waves at the beaches that could lead to some minor beach erosion. These large waves always draw people to the coast during an event like this, but be aware, those waves will be dangerous to anyone entering the surf, venturing out on jetties or viewing from sea walls. Spectators should stay in safe areas, away from possible splash over. The risk of rip currents will also be very high. A high surf advisory has been posted for parts of the area through Saturday.
With a storm like Dorian, we cannot stress enough that you stay tuned to WBZ-TV and CBSBoston.com for updates. While we don’t anticipate any major changes at this point, any minor shift in track can and will have major consequences.
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ