Hurricane Dorian’s path through the Atlantic Ocean may spare Miami-Dade and Broward counties a direct hit, but weather forecasters stressed Monday that people should still expect plenty of rain and strong winds, though not powerful enough to lift a roof.
That can change — if that message isn’t clear yet — if there are shifts in the Category 5 hurricane’s track.
“Some uncertainty remains in Dorian’s exact track and movement today through Tuesday,” the National Weather Service said in a briefing on Monday. “Small changes to the forecast will mean big differences in impacts at any given location.”
The National Weather Service said Monday that Broward can reasonably expect gusts ranging from 35 to 55 miles per hour, with the gusts being stronger on the coast, throughout Tuesday into the evening. The coastal and metro areas of Broward County were under a tropical storm watch.
In Miami-Dade, where there were no advisories, the gusts will be lower, between 35 and 45 miles per hour on the coast.
The rain bands in both counties will be quick moving, but people need to be mindful of the accompanying gusts, said Robert Molleda, a severe weather expert with the National Weather Service.
“They can pack a punch,” Molleda said on Monday.
Both county coasts have the potential to flood as scattered thunderstorms intertwine with Dorian’s outer bands. Rain will be increasing Monday and continue into the end of the work week.
Forget about boating. All coastal waters in Miami-Dade and Broward are under a tropical storm warning. The Monday forecast for the Atlantic off Miami Beach was 5 to 7 feet seas directly off the coast, with it reaching up to 9 feet.
Beach gawkers and surfers — they come out during every major storm — need to be wary, Molleda said.
“The seas are going to be building pretty high, especially on Tuesday,” Molleda said. “And the beach is not going to be safe.”
Experts also say that homes in both counties could lose power.
In 2017, nearly 4.5 million of FPL’s 4.9 million customers lost power during Hurricane Irma —which did not make landfall in the two counties — for a week or more. In Miami-Dade 92 percent of account holders lost electricity while 85 percent of households lost power in Broward.