Major Hurricane Dorian Poses a Significant Threat to FL, the Southeast & NW Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian is now a major category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph as of this discussion. A hurricane watch is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas. Dorian is moving towards the northwest at 10 mph and is expected to turn towards the west during the next 24 hours as a sub-tropical ridge of high pressure builds to its north and east. Unfortunately, this westerly turn will place the hurricane on course to impact the northwest Bahamas and Florida later this weekend and into early next week. 

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Environmental conditions will be favorable for Dorian to strengthen even further over the next few days. Currently, the National Hurricane Center forecasts the winds to peak around 140 mph three days from now. There is a possibility, that the storm could end up a little stronger than forecast given the favorable environmental conditions and very warm waters throughout the southwest Atlantic. Many times the last several years, wind shear and or dry air have been able to keep systems relatively weak, but it appears those factors will not be in place to prevent another major hurricane strike in Florida.

Wind gust forecast (mph) from the EURO model shows the possible scale of wind impacts.

Wind gust forecast (mph) from the EURO model shows the possible scale of wind impacts.

Rainfall forecast for Dorian.

Rainfall forecast for Dorian.

Computer model guidance is in strong agreement that Dorian will track across the northwestern Bahamas Sunday or Monday and make landfall somewhere along the east Florida coast Monday night or Tuesday. No one at this time can predict exactly where the center will come ashore (assuming it doesn’t stay just offshore) along the Florida coast, but the general thinking is somewhere between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral Florida. As Dorian nears Florida, steering currents are going to weaken dramatically and the system is going to slow down and move slowly bringing torrential rainfall, damaging winds and very dangerous storm surge along the coast. Once Dorian makes landfall in Florida, The hurricane will likely make a sharp right turn and move north throughout the rest of the Florida peninsula into southeast Georgia and the eastern portion of the Carolinas. There is still a low chance that the storm could make the right turn just offshore of Florida which would definitely be a much better scenario than the one we are looking at now. With each passing hour chances are lowering that there will be a significant change in the overall track. We fully expect that tropical storm and hurricane watches will be issued for portions of Florida by tomorrow evening. At this time, chances are low that the storm will enter the Gulf of Mexico.

5 Day EURO ensemble tracks.

5 Day EURO ensemble tracks.

If you are in the within NHC cone, you should begin preparing for this storm as it will be a dangerous, high impact event that may last several days in some areas. Make sure you have a hurricane kit and plan in place. Listen to your local officials as they know your area the best and heed all evacuation warnings if issued. The best case scenario is that Dorian will make a northerly turn just off of the coast keeping the biggest impacts offshore and the worst case scenario is we have a major hurricane moving south to north through the Florida peninsula and portions of the southeast impacting many places. If you are in southeast Georgia and the eastern Carolinas, please pay close attention to the forecast track of Dorian over the next few days as the system may impact portions of the southeast United States later next week.

Thank you for using the hurricane tracker app and we will have another email update as conditions warrant. Thank you.

TS Dorian May Impact FL/NW Bahamas As A Powerful Hurricane

Summary: Today, Tropical Storm Dorian is a strong tropical storm and is on the verge of becoming a hurricane. The US Virgin Islands are under a hurricane warning and Puerto Rico is under a tropical storm warning as the storm will move through the region today. Once Dorian is north of Puerto Rico, it is forecasted to become a hurricane as the environment will be conducive for strengthening. A building ridge of high pressure over the Southwest Atlantic will likely turn Dorian towards the Northwest Bahamas and Florida early next week. A track into the Gulf of Mexico early next week is also possible and cannot be ruled out.

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Track: It is highly unlikely that Tropical Storm Dorian will make a right turn and head out to sea. A strong ridge of high pressure is forecasted to build north of the storm in a few days and will cause Dorian to make a left turn towards the NW Bahamas and the FL coastline. While models have varied a little day to day, there haven’t been any wild swings in the model data. All models and ensembles agree on a turn west towards the NW Bahamas & FL. Unfortunately, chances are high that the NW Bahamas and somewhere along the FL Peninsula will see direct impacts from Dorian early next week. However, it is too soon to know exactly where landfall will occur this far out. Beyond Monday, it is possible that Dorian could slip into the eastern Gulf of Mexico if the ridge of high pressure is stronger than currently forecasted.

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06Z European ensemble model guidance.

06Z European ensemble model guidance.

Intensity: Model guidance is picking up on the favorable environment and warm waters in the Southwest Atlantic which should lead to Dorian becoming a major hurricane in about 3 days. The NHC states: “All indications are that by this Labor Day weekend, a powerful hurricane will be near the Florida or southeastern coast of the United States.” There is nothing in the forecast at this time that will greatly hinder Dorian from becoming a powerful hurricane. The NHC currently forecasts the peak intensity to be near 115 mph (category 3). Take this system very seriously if you are in the NHC’s cone.

The latest intensity models forecast a powerful hurricane.

The latest intensity models forecast a powerful hurricane.

Alert Levels: The latest 5 Day Alert Level Map from the Hurricane Tracker App now has "elevated" 5 day alert levels for a good portion of the FL Peninsula. Have a hurricane plan in place & know how to execute those plans if watches/warnings are issued. Risks are increasing for FL & NW Bahamas.

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NHC Key Messages:

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