A Hurricane Named Dorian Likely To Hit Florida UPDATED

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Dorian is a poorly to moderately organized tropical storm just west of the northern reach of the Leeward Islands, expected to affect Puerto Rico by the end of the day today, then to move into the Southwest North Atlantic, where it will likely become a hurricane between 36 and 48 hours from now.

It is highly likely that Dorian will strike the US 48 this weekend or Monday, somewhere, as some kind of storm. There is a very good chance this will be Florida as a Category 2 Category 3 or 4, i.e., MAJOR hurricane, but it is very early to be sure of that.

Where will Dorian strike?

The full range of spaghetti strands projecting Dorian’s ultimate path include turning north before wandering into the North Atlantic, turning left and passing through the Gulf and making landfall anywhere from Texas to the Florida Panhandle. But most of the pasta is pointing to the Atlantic coast of Florida.

Way to early to say this, but I’ll say it anyway and revise later: The most likely zone of impact of hurricane force winds in Florida is somewhere between West Palm Beach and Saint Augustine. Vacationers in Orlando this coming weekend may expect rain.

How strong will Dorian be?

UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center is now saying that Dorian will become a Major (Category 3 or 4?) before it makes landfall in, probably, Florida.

The National Weather Service hurricane experts are cautioning that predicting Dorian’s intensity and size are both very difficult. The current estimate from the Hurricane Center is that Dorian will reach mid to low Category 2 strength, and be a moderately sized to small hurricane, prior to landfall in Florida, but with the caution that the full range of models includes a stronger and physically larger storm. The “Experimental late-cycle intensity guidance” for Dorian, as of this morning, has about an 80% chance (my estimate) of the storm reaching Category 3 or above, with a very strong possibility of Category 4 or even 5. But the more traditional models suggest something closer to a 50-50 chance of Dorian reaching Category 3. It is, of course, way to early to say much, but the chance that Dorian won’t be a hurricane as it reaches landfall somewhere in the US is nil.

It is possible that Dorian will intensify and then weaken while out over the Atlantic. This usually causes chaos and dumbosity in the news reports. Once a hurricane reaches a certain category, the news reporters add that category value to the name of the storm and it stick. Any time a storm reduces in strength it is denigrated as a lesser storm no matter what it does later to redeem itself. You know the drill.

When will Dorian hit something?

Dorian is likely to hit a lot of things, directly or indirectly, starting very soon. This morning Dorian is bearing down on Pueto Rico as a tropical storm. The storm may scrape the Turks and Caicos Islands and will almost certainly affect the Bahamas. This will happen between the wee hours of the morning tomorrow and late Friday.

Some time Saturday morning the outer reaches of the storm may be lashing the Florida coast and landfall could occurover night or the next day, possibly as late as Monday AM, if the current projections, which are VERY EARLY, are proven. Or, as noted above, something entirely different can happen.

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