Dorian’s wind and rain hit Suffolk

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019


Hurricane Dorian is still on track to impact Suffolk and the rest of Hampton Roads with wind and rain Thursday night and part of Friday.

According to the 5 p.m. Thursday update by the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian is about 45 miles south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., moving northeast at nearly 10 miles an hour with maximum sustained wind speeds of 105 miles per hour.

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Dorian is expected to keep moving northeast with an increase in speed through Saturday.

Based on the forecast track, the center of the hurricane was expected to continue to move close to the coast of eastern South Carolina for several more hours Thursday evening, and then move near or over the coast of North Carolina Thursday evening and Friday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center of Dorian, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220 miles.

Suffolk was under a tropical storm warning, storm surge warning and tornado watch as of Thursday evening.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within 36 hours, according to the hurricane center, and a storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland during that same time frame.

According to Mike Rusnak, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Wakefield office, heavy rains and strong, gusty winds are expected for Suffolk Thursday night, with the heaviest rain expected Friday morning and afternoon.

Five to seven inches of rain are expected in Suffolk, Rusnak said. A flash flood watch is in effect Thursday night through Friday night, and there will likely be flooding issues and power outages based on the forecast. Hurricane Dorian is then expected to move off the East Coast Friday night.

Rusnak also said that there may be thunderstorms in Suffolk Thursday evening that “have the potential to produce quick spin-up tornadoes,” probably after 5 p.m. Thursday and through most of Thursday evening.

The threat of a tornado in the Suffolk area has increased slightly as of the 5 p.m. Thursday update by the National Hurricane Center.

The city of Suffolk opened an emergency shelter at 5 p.m. at King’s Fork High School, 351 Kings Fork Road. The site is Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and fully generator powered for citizens who are medically dependent on electricity, according to a city press release.

Those who choose to come to the shelter should bring enough supplies to last at least two days for each family member. No pets will be allowed unless they are assistance dogs. Those who have pets who are considering coming to the shelter can contact the Suffolk Police Department’s non-emergency number at 923-2350, Option 8.

The city’s Emergency Operations Call Center, at 514-4570, is available to take calls for residents seeking storm-related information. The phone number for non-emergency road-related issues is 514-7600.

The Virginia Department of Transportation was preparing for heavy rain, winds and flooding in southeastern and coastal Virginia as these regions began seeing impacts from Hurricane Dorian Thursday evening.

VDOT staff have readied trucks and equipment, inspected and cleared drainage facilities, lifted lane closures where possible to keep roads clear for emergency responders and evacuees, and notified additional debris and tree removal crews to be on standby when Hurricane Dorian arrives.

The storm is expected to impact these areas through Friday, according to a Thursday press release, and travel may be difficult during that time. Dorian could potentially bring coastal and inland flooding, storm surge, damaging winds and prolonged power outages.

“It is important for residents and motorists in the storm’s path to be weather aware, and regularly seek official updates on conditions,” according to the press release.

The city recommends that residents who live in Zone A, or in a location prone to flooding, to consider moving vehicles to higher ground, protecting belongings and possibly moving to higher ground in Zones B, C or D within Hampton Roads.

Suffolk city offices will be closed on Friday, as are Suffolk Public Schools.

Visit for the latest on events and activities have been either canceled or rescheduled this week due to Hurricane Dorian.