Hurricane Dorian expected to intensify, threaten Florida as a Category 3

All indications are that by Labor Day weekend, a powerful hurricane will be near or over the Florida peninsula.

Dorian became a hurricane on Wednesday and at 11pm, hurricane hunter planes found the storm strengthening.

“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph with higher gusts,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11pm public advisory. “Dorian is forecast to strengthen into a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days.”

Public advisories and other text, along with maps and other graphics, get updated below.

Dorian should intensify to a Category 3 by Saturday and stay that way until landfall.

In a Category 3 hurricane, winds range from 111 to 129 mph. There is a high risk of injury or death to people, livestock and pets from flying and falling debris.

Helping Dorian intensify is being in an environment of low wind shear.

The storm is moving northwest at about 13 mph, and that general motion — toward a weakness in a subtropical ridge — is expected to continue through Friday. That would bring Dorian over the Atlantic, well east of the southeastern and central Bahamas on Thursday and Friday.

Then, a ridge is expected to build over the western Atlantic. This change in steering pattern should cause Dorian to turn west-northwestward and head for the Florida peninsula.

“The actual track of the hurricane in three to five days will depend on how much the western Atlantic ridge builds during that time frame,” according to the NHC’s 11pm Forecast Discussion. “This is, of course, subject to uncertainty. The official track forecast is very similar to the previous one, and close to the latest simple and corrected dynamical model consensus.”

Rainfall in the Bahamas and southeast U.S. may cause life-threatening flash floods.

The key takeaways: The risk of dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds later this week and this weekend continues to increase in the central and northwestern Bahamas, and along the Florida east coast, although it is too soon to determine where these hazards will occur.

People in Florida should have their hurricane plan in place and not focus on the exact forecast track of Dorian’s center, since the average five-day track error is about 200 miles.

Wednesday, Dorian’s center re-formed farther north than expected, sparing Puerto Rico some of the worst weather. That will also be good for Hispañiola on Thursday.


This page should update on its own, like ThePhillyFiles weather page, so keep returning to see changes. The National Hurricane Center often begins advisories with a list of what has changed since the previous one.

Full advisories come every six hours (5am, 11am, 5pm and 11pm using Eastern Daylight Time) and intermediate advisories come every three hours in between (8am, 2pm, 8pm, 2am). There will be more advisories as Dorian gets close to landfall.

And keep scrolling down for the video, How to use the Cone of Uncertainty.

Monitor the progress of Dorian and make sure to have your hurricane plan in place. Keep a week’s worth of the basic items you’ll need on hand throughout every hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30).


Continuing Coverage: Hurricane Dorian


The latest on Hurricane Dorian:

from the National Hurricane Center
from the National Hurricane Center
from the National Hurricane Center
from the National Hurricane Center
from the National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Erin was downgraded to a depression at 11pm Wednesday. Also, the storm turned to the northeast, late Wednesday. It is expected to become post-tropical on Thursday, turn north-northeastward and then accelerate through Friday. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect for Erin.

from the National Hurricane Center
from the National Hurricane Center

VIDEO: How to use the Cone of Uncertainty

National Hurricane Center (NHC) Hurricane Specialists John Cangialosi and Robbie Berg explain how the cone of uncertainty is created, what its limitations are, and what it can be used for.

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