Tropical Storm Dorian, the fourth named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season, continues to organize and gradually strengthen in the Caribbean this morning. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds of 60mph, and is 14mph short of Category 1 hurricane strength. IR satellite imagery shows the compact storm approaching the Lesser Antilles, with the most direct impacts expected in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.
Impacts later tonight in these areas will be 2-4” of widespread rain with locally higher amounts to 6”, life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, and of course tropical storm force wind speeds. Hurricane Watches (pink), Tropical Storm Watches (yellow), and Warnings (blue) have been issued.
Dorian will then continue west-northwest through the Caribbean, where further strengthening is expected over warm waters with decreasing shear. These favorable conditions will allow the storm to increase to hurricane strength by mid-week, possibly as early as Tuesday or Wednesday morning per the National Hurricane Center. While Puerto Rico is not expected to take a direct hit from the storm at this point, at least tropical storm strength winds, locally heavy rain, and coastal flooding are expected.
The Dominican Republic is expected to take the strongest impact from the storm, as it looks to make landfall late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning as *at least* a category 1 hurricane. Due to the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola, rapid weakening will occur as the storm is sheared apart. Remnants of the storm, possibly still at tropical depression strength (sustained winds below 39mph), will then push northwestward, generally toward the Florida peninsula.
Uncertainties do remain quite high with this storm, particularly due to its very compact size. It is harder to predict smaller storms’ track and peak intensity. Additionally, the location of landfall on Hispaniola will have significant impacts on the rate of weakening, and eventually the track of the storm late-week. Below are the “spaghetti plots” from several weather models that show the potential tracks of the storm, with general consensus toward Florida in the next 7 days.
Key messages from the National Hurricane Center are below.
For continued monitoring of Tropical Storm Dorian and its forecasted impacts, visit the National Hurricane Center and local National Weather Service office websites. We will have additional updates on our social media pages as well (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @tdswx).