Storm surge – the deadly and destructive push of sea water that comes ashore during a hurricane – is a growing threat for coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas over the next couple of days as Dorian swirls by.
The hurricane center warned that "the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline."
Larger swells and battering waves generated by Dorian will persist for several days, according to the Weather Channel,
This will lead to "increasing beach erosion and coastal flooding, particularly around times of high tides, which are generally an hour or so before or after midday and midnight," the Weather Channel said.
These impacts will occur regardless of how close Dorian's center tracks or whether it ever moves ashore in any part of Georgia or the Carolinas. The surge impacts will also be in addition to those from the drenching rain and howling winds that will slam the region.
In Georgetown, South Carolina, Tom Foose already had the sandbags he needed. The Tomlinson's department store manager saved them from hurricane season last year.
Foose, Tomlinson's and Georgetown is now under a storm surge warning, which means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline during the next 36 hours. Feet of water could rush these streets, possibly flooding the historic homes and shops that define this district.
"We are going to prepare, pray and if something happens, we will clean up and start again," Foose said as he placed sandbags at the glass storefront.
As of 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, Dorian was a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and was located 205 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina.