Dorian Expected to Reach, Maintain Major Hurricane Status
Editor: All readers are encouraged to watch for the latest forecast models published. This article is NOT the latest forecast. All forecasts are viewable to the public and outside the paywall.
While the ECMWF (Euro) and GFS models vary, Hurricane Dorian is forecast to strengthen to a major hurricane as it heads toward eastern Florida. The storm is currently on a northwestern track as a Category 1 and packing maximum sustained winds near 85 mph.
On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and urged “every” Floridian to prepare for the storm.
“It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely. Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster,” he said. “I will continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian closely with emergency management officials.”
“The state stands ready to support all counties along the coast as they prepare.”
The latest forecasts put landfall on eastern Florida, though the models disagree over whether it will maintain a more southern track.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said in the 5:00 AM forecast discussion that “Dorian appeared to have a bit of a hiccup in its structure,” and the Air Force Reserve mission indicated a “dry slot was noted penetrating into the southeastern portion of the circulation, with the eye becoming cloud- and rain-filled.”
Central pressure ticked up a bit to around 991 mb, but is not cause for optimism. Falling pressure typically indicates a storm is strengthening, while rising pressure indicates weakening.
Nevertheless, the GFS forecast, which indicates weaker ridges to the North, appears to be the outlier. The ECMWF (Euro) model, which forecasts a more southern track, typically (though not always) ends up being more accurate in these debates.
Given the data, the NHC said the most notable change in their new forecast is that Dorian is a little slower than the previous forecast as it approaches Florida.
“Because of the uncertainty in the track of this storm, every resident along the East Coast needs to be ready,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz. “As updates come out, it’s important that Floridians continue to pay attention to media and local officials as the track of this storm has been changing and can continue to change rapidly.”