Dorian Moving Northwest Florida Risks Higher For A Major Hurricane
Dorian having now cleared the Virgin Island, Puerto Rico and the northeast Caribbean is now over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean with no land masses ahead of it until this weekend when the Northern Bahamas come into play and ultimately Florida. Looking at the satellite presentation Dorian is impressive with a well defined core. Upper air conditions are very favorable for strengthening until landfall somewhere along the Florida east coast (from what we see at the moment). There is nothing preventing Dorian from becoming at least a category 3 hurricane. There will be minimal wind shear (strong winds aloft) and ocean water temperatures along the forecast path are in the middle 80s.
We noticed that an eye feature started to form yesterday evening only to have some dry air come in and cut that off but the process of an eye developing seems to starting again. Highest winds are 85 mph and Dorian continues to move right along to the northwest at 13 mph. I don’t any significant change in the motion today or tonight but it will start to turn more to the west northwest on Friday. That turn is critical in determining whether the landfall risk for Florida is to the southern part of the state or further north.
The key to Dorian’s future lies in a strong upper high that is forecast to strengthen across the Southwest Atlantic from Bermuda into the Southeast US. The vast majority of weather models have this as a strong robust feature which would favor landfall further to the south in Florida (south of Cape Canaveral). Hurricane track model guidance is very tightly clustered regarding forecast tracks.
One additional development overnight is that it appears that Dorian will be moving a bit slower toward Florida which buys some time regarding a landfall. Best guesstimate of a landfall at this point is sometime Monday morning. After that more uncertainty develops depending on the strength of that high. Does Dorian cross the state into the Gulf of Mexico or does it slow down and start a turn to the north over land which could be a very long grueling process for Florida with prolonged winds and heavy rain. These are all on the table and we will be grappling with those issues over the next few days.
MANY THANKS TO TROPICAL TIDBITS FOR THE USE OF MAPS
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