Although the coastal Carolinas will likely be among the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian, Charlotte could feel the storm’s impact as early as Wednesday night.
The Charlotte region appears to have a 20 to 30 percent chance of being hit with tropical-storm-force winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service’s latest probability chart.
The National Weather Service office in Greer says it expects a wide range of conditions, from east to west, as Dorian moves up the Carolinas coast late Wednesday and Thursday.
Meteorologist Scott Krentz said “the deepest moisture and areas of tropical banding will occur along and east of the I-77 corridor.” He said up to an inch of rain is possible in areas along and just east of I-77.
Winds are expected to increase Wednesday night. Krentz said the current forecast in the Charlotte area is for winds of about 15 mph, gusting at times to 30 mph.
Wind speeds and rainfall totals will increase rapidly to the east of Union County, forecasters say. But little impact from wind or rain is expected west of Charlotte, farther from the center of the storm.
“The effects of Dorian should wane rather quickly Thursday night,” Krentz said.
More than a third of North Carolina — including the Raleigh area and the I-95 corridor — could fall within the storm’s path, the latest projections show. But areas further west may be affected, too.
Through much of Monday, Dorian pummeled the Bahamas with winds up to 145 miles per hour. The storm was crawling westward at 1 miles per hour in the morning and early afternoon. But by 5 p.m., it had ground to a halt.
Where — and whether — Dorian makes landfall is still unclear. Regardless of its path, the storm’s slow pace will likely bring heavy rain and wind to the coasts of North and South Carolinas.
Experts now predict 5 to 10 inches of rain in the coastal Carolinas, with isolated areas of 15 inches.
Welcoming storm evacuees
Not far from Charlotte, some companies and organizations are gearing up to help Hurricane Dorian’s evacuees.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is making its Rock City Campground and bathhouse facilities available to evacuees free of charge.
Speedway officials are asking evacuees to check in at the Camping World Racing Resort office at 6600 Bruton Smith Blvd. in Concord, which can be accessed at the entrance to zMAX Dragway. Those checking in after-hours can do so by visiting the camping section of the speedway’s website.
The city of Rock Hill, S.C. is also making an RV lot — next to the BMX Supercross Track at 1307 Riverwalk Parkway — available to the storm’s evacuees. The lot has 43 RV sites, which will be available on a first come first serve basis at no charge. The lot has water and electric hook-ups, along with a central dump station.