I have been promising an update for the past couple of days but decided against posting until I had a better understanding of the features that will impact Dorian’s forecast. While there is still some uncertainty about the exact track of the storm, we do have a general idea what features will ultimately determine Dorian’s track.
I will start with the official forecast from the NHC. For the past two days, Major Hurricane Dorian has been hammering The Bahamas bringing catastrophic winds with sustain winds of 185 mph with gusts to and possibly more that 200 mph. Dorian approached the islands moving west around 8-9 mph and since reaching the Grand Bahama Island it has come to a near standstill (~1 mph). The general direction of motion at this time is due west but has wobbled as it interacted with the islands giving the impression that the overall direction had shifted.
The following is my opinion of the possible forecast and not an official forecast. For official information, listen to your local authorities and never make a decision based on information from non-official media/social media outlets.
This will be a brief update to point out many large scale pieces that will be major players in the upcoming forecast. All model images were taken from the same GFS run for illustration purposes only.
There will be a northwestward and eventually a northward turn as the ridge to the north begins to weaken and the next piece of energy dives southeastward towards Dorian’s latitude.
As the ridge weakens and the shortwave picks up the hurricane, Dorian will begin moving more northwest around the western periphery of the ridge over the Atlantic. When that turn will exactly occur is still unknown but it is expected in the next 24 hours or so. The core of Dorian will be very close to the eastern shore of Florida with some models indicating that the pass could be close enough for hurricane conditions along the coast and tropical storm conditions extending well inland. During this time we expect Dorian to be weakening but still maintaining its Major Hurricane classification as it moves NNW.
Ridging over western and central US builds back in slightly to the north of Dorian and a strengthening ridge over the Atlantic could track Dorian closer to the NE Florida coast Tuesday into Wednesday. Hurricane conditions can be expected along the coast however the center of the storm should remain offshore (though minor shifts to the track could bring the center onshore during that time period and should be closely monitored).
On Wednesday, we are keeping an eye on a feature that will round the north portion of the high over the central US and dig southeastward weakening the eastern periphery of that high freeing Dorian to lift northeastward as the final trough digs in from the northern Plains and eventually pushing Dorian from the area by early Friday morning.
If the current model forecasts hold (big if) we should see Dorian approach the North Carolina coast from the southwest as a category 1 or 2 hurricane. Some of the models keep it offshore while some bring right up the coast with a chance of landfall along the Outer Banks. As Dorian travels northward, the wind field will increase in size allowing tropical storm force wind gusts inland and possible hurricane force winds along the immediate coast with a close passage of the storm. If it tracks further off the coast, the wind threat moves further east with it. There is also expected to be heavy storm surge that will impact the entire coast as it approaches the area. Heavy rain can be expected with the passage with the storm with areas closest to the center getting the higher rainfall totals. Its too early to nail down an exact forecast but ENC will still feel the effects of Dorian in every scenario.
I will hold off posting percentages at this time because I simply do not know for sure and I am not that interested in being the first person to post the percentages. I prefer them to be as accurate as possible before releasing to the public.
All residence along the ENC coast and inland should prepare now for a potential hurricane passing close or making landfall along our coast and heed the instructions from local officials in the expected orders for evacuations. Do not wait until the storm is at our doorstep because it will be too late. For more information about how to prepare for a hurricane please visit the following link: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
I will post once the hurricane begins to make its northward turn and we get a better idea of the forecast track.