Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas as a deadly Category 5 storm, has been battering the southeastern US coast for the past couple of days as a weakened — but still dangerous — Category 2 storm.
This weekend, Dorian is expected to advance north to New England, and parts of Massachusetts and other neighboring states could feel the storm’s effects.
On Thursday morning, the storm — which weakened to a Category 2 storm after briefly strengthening to Category 3 — raked the Carolina coast, bringing strong winds and tornadoes and leaving more than 200,000 without power. The storm earlier swept by Florida at a relatively safe distance after leaving at least 20 dead in the Bahamas.
On Thursday morning, the National Weather Service also issued a tropical storm watch for the Cape Cod and Islands, meaning that conditions could be possible for a storm with sustained winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour or higher in the next 48 hours.
Projections call for Dorian — which is expected to track about 160 miles south of Nantucket — to clip the southeastern Massachusetts coast late Friday into early Saturday.
The earliest reasonable time that tropical storm-force winds could arrive in Massachusetts is Friday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.
However, the powerful gusts will most likely arrive between sometime late Friday and early Saturday, officials predict. Forecasters say there is a risk for scattered wind damage on the Cape and Islands from late Friday into Saturday morning.
The greatest risk for tropical storm-force winds is on Nantucket and the outer Cape.
Northerly wind gusts of 40 to 60 miles per hour are possible late Friday into Saturday morning across southeast New England, forecasters said, which could lead to scattered power outages.
Current rainfall predictions have the southern Massachusetts coast receiving about 2 inches of rain, while Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket could get as much as 4 inches of precipitation. The heaviest rainfall is expected late Friday night into Saturday morning.
The Cape and Islands could also see some flooding from the heavy rainfall, forecasters said.
There is also the potential for minor storm surge/inundation in spots, particularly along Nantucket Harbor, on Saturday morning, forecasters said. However, a storm surge watch or warning had not been issued for Massachusetts or other New England states as of Friday morning.
Rainfall flooding is possible, but New England is not threatened with flash flooding, according to Friday morning projections.
And a silver lining in Dorian’s dark clouds: There is currently no risk tornadoes in the region due to the storm.