Deadly Hurricane Dorian on Wednesday crept far enough up Florida's east coast for forecasters to drop surge warnings for Port Canaveral and south but extend hurricane warnings north to the North Carolina-Virginia border — though Long Island is not in its sights.
The storm, which spent the weekend hammering the Bahamas with 185 mph winds and unfathomable amounts of rain, was about 130 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, at 8 p.m. and about 255 miles south southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
The storm should only bring Long Island's East End rain and gusty winds on Friday, though surfers and mariners from New York City to Montauk can anticipate high waves and a high risk of rip currents, said Brian Ciemnecki, an Islip-based National Weather Service meteorologist.
"The storm itself is going to be passing well south and east of us; if we get any rain, it'll be from the far outer bands, the outer bands really will extend quite a distance from the center of the storm itself," he said by telephone.
Hoping to limit any erosion or possible flood damage at Wantagh's Jones Beach, George Gorman, regional director of Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, "we are building the wall of sand on the beach in front of the boardwalk from the East Bathhouse to the West Bathhouse which is in front of the Central Mall."
"This will help protect the mainboard walk and facility buildings," Gorman said in an email.
The new Boardwalk Cafe, which opened in time for the 2018 July Fourth holiday, was elevated above the flood zone, he said. Some of the park's newer games also are protected. "The WildPlay and East Games Area were built so that if they are flooded there will be none, or minimal impact damage," Gorman said.
At Jones Beach and other state parks along the shore, "We are removing some lifeguard equipment, beachfront signs and reducing trash receptacles." Sandbags are being filled just in case.
While swimming still is allowed at Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Hither Hills, Sunken Meadows and Wildwood, lifeguards will have only "minimal" equipment, Gorman said, cautioning: "If the forecast changes and becomes more severe we will remove that equipment from the beachfront."
Dorian was downgraded Tuesday to a Category 2 from this weekend when it was a Category 5, the National Hurricane Center said. Storms ranked Category 2 have winds ranging from 96 mph to 110 mph; the minimum wind speed for Category 5 is 157 mph.
On its current path, "the core of Hurricane Dorian will move parallel to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight," the national hurricane experts said. "The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday."
Evacuations were ordered along the U.S. southeast coast, affecting millions of residents, after Dorian spent the weekend over the Bahamas, an archipelago island nation in the Atlantic, demolishing homes and killing at least 20 people. The death toll in the Bahamas, where about 13 percent of its approximately 350,000 people are impoverished, is expected to rise.
Though Dorian is expected to weaken in the next two days, it likely will remain a powerful hurricane for the next few days, the National Hurricane Center said.