Hurricane Dorian 8/29/2019 Forecast Update

Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 1:47pm

As we continue to march into the Labor Day Weekend the big weather story is Hurricane Dorian and the potential impact it will have along the east coast. Let's take a look at the latest track, forecast and key messages for Dorian. The small eye of Dorian has appeared on Satellite imagery off and on throughout the day. The storm is currently out of any radar range so we are having to rely solely on satellite imagery until the storm closes in on the United States and gets back into radar range. A reconnaissance aircraft flew into the storm this morning and has reported that the storm had a double eyewall structure with a small inner eye only 5 nautical miles in diameter with a larger outer eyewall of around 25 nautical miles in diameter. 

Dorian is currently moving northwest and is forecast to continue to move that direction over the next 24-36 hours between an upper level low that will drop southwest across the Florida Straits and a mid-level ridge to the northeast of Dorian. Over the next 48 hours a ridge of high pressure is expected to develop north of Dorian that should cause the storm to begin to track in more of a west-northwest pattern. Looking at all the model data there is some disagreement with the track of the storm after 72 hours. The National Hurricane Center Track Forecast is literally the same as it has been most of the day today. This track lies pretty close to several of the models being used to forecast the track of Dorian. The European Model has the storm tracking a little south of the NHC track at this point. We are still a bit to far out to determine exactly where this storm will make landfall and where the greatest impacts could occur in the southeast. 

The storm is in a great environment for steady intensification over the next 48-72 hours with warm ocean water and very little shear. Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday and is currently forecast to be a Category 4 as it makes landfall on Monday along the east coast of Florida. Again I must caution you that there is still a great deal of distance between the storm and the Florida coast. The storm could easily track north or south of the projected path. Residents living in the state of Georgia should also be ready for possible impacts from this storm as the margin for error past 5 days could easily have this storm making landfall in Georgia if the track shifts. 

Key Messages

1. The risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds this weekend continues to increase in the northwestern Bahamas and hurricane watches could be issued in that area late tonight or during the day on Friday. Residents should have their hurricane plan in place and listen to advice given by local emergency officials.

2. There is an increasing likely hood of life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida east coast late this weekend or early next week. Although it is too soon to determine where the highest storm surge will occur. Residents should have their hurricane plan in place, know if they are in a hurricane evacuation zone, and listen to advice given by local emergency officials.

3. The risk for devastating hurricane-force winds along the Florida east coast and peninsula late this weekend and early next week continues to increase, although it is too soon to determine where the strongest winds will occur.

4. Regardless of the exact track of Dorian, heavy rains are expected to occur over portions of the Bahamas, Florida and elsewhere in the southeastern United States this weekend and into the middle of next week.

As far as impacts here in Rowan County. We may not see any impacts form this storm until next weekend at this time. If the storm continues to hold its forecasted track it would cross the state of Florida. Move into the Gulf and then make a potential second landfall near the Florida-Alabama coast. At that point the storm would move through the southeast and likely get downgraded to a Tropical Depression bringing heavy rains and tropical moisture to the county by the end of next week.  The European Model below shows how we could see around an inch and a half of rainfall here in the county by next weekend if the storm holds its current forecasted track.


The GFS model shows us getting virtually nothing from this storm if it holds the current forecast track. Again remember the models are in disagreement after 73 hours based on the track of this storm.


I will continue to keep you updated on the track of Dorian and any possible impacts for this storm. Continue to simply stay weather aware at this point as there is no need to rush out and buy anything to prepare for this storm in Rowan County based on current data and forecasting. As always thank you for following Rowan County Weather!




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