The Tampa Bay area appeared spared from Hurricane Dorian’s path early Wednesday as the still-strong category 2 storm headed for Georgia waters.
Dorian is still being felt in Florida Wednesday, but it should be its last day in the Sunshine State. Forecasters said it will pass the Florida-Georgia line early Thursday morning.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Gabrielle appeared in the Atlantic overnight, but seems to pose no current threat to the U.S.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Dorian was about 115 miles east-northeast of Jacksonville at 2 p.m. Wednesday, moving northwest at 9 mph and maintaining winds of 105 mph. The storm grew considerably as it left the Bahamas Tuesday, sending tropical storm-force winds 160 miles from the storm’s center.
Dorian has been riding nearly parallel to the east coast, the Hurricane Center said. Florida has been mostly spared, but for some heavy winds along the coast.
“The further you go into the spine of the peninsula, there’s not much going on,” National Weather Service forecaster John McMichael said. “It’s reaching mostly coastal areas.”
Some winds have extended into east-central Florida, but the effects are mostly being felt along he state’s Atlantic beaches, where winds between 39 and 60 mph have been recorded.
Despite an abundance of school closures and some shelve-clearing preparations, Tampa Bay was spared from the wrath of Dorian, which devastated the Bahamas and still poses a significant threat to Georgia and the Carolinas. Weather Tuesday was mostly sunny, while Wednesday is expected to be warm and muggy with some high clouds and a little rainfall.
A low-pressure system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico formed into Tropical Storm Fernand Tuesday morning and should hit northeast Mexico Wednesday afternoon.
Out in the Atlantic, another fast-growing low-pressure system became Tropical Storm Gabrielle, the season’s sixth named storm, early Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center said Gabrielle is heading northwest at 10 mph with 40 mph winds and should intensify and speed up as the week goes on. The storm is forecast to remain int he mid-Atlantic and poses no threat to land within the next five days.
An emerging tropical wave is also being monitored of Africa’s coast. Forecasters give it a 70-percent chance of becoming a tropical depression within five days as it heads west past the Cabo Verde Islands.
Times Staff Writer Josh Fiallo contributed to this report.
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