Joe’s Weather World: Dorian wobbles and lumbers in the Bahamas (MON-9/2)
It’s been one of the most fascinating storms, in my opinion, over the last few days to observe from afar. It continues to be nightmare for those who are dealing with a storm that, this morning, is moving slower than a baby can crawl. The storm, packing winds of over 150 MPH is sitting on top of Grand Bahama Island.
For that island as well as the others Great Abaco/Little Abaco Island…it’s been a terrible weekend. The storm was the 1st category 5 hurricane to strike the Grand Bahama Island, a part of the world where one would think this would’ve happened before. Other islands in the Bahamas have been hit by a category 5 hurricane in the past. The rate of strengthening was almost unbelievable and was more reminiscent of what happens in the western Pacific Ocean with typhoons. The steadiness of the near max intensity of 185 MPH was unique as well for the Atlantic Basin.
Now the issue is the forecast north turn…that hopefully will keep the worst of the winds from Dorian off the coast of FL…but the window of destructive winds is only going to be 20-50 miles east of the coastline…a close call if ever there was one.
It’s a track forecast to be very similar to Matthew from a few years ago. I’ve brought this track up now for 4 days…and while Matthew didn’t hit Florida directly there was still over $1 Billion worth of damage and some areas remained without power for at least a week. Dorian will move even slower east of the coastline.
Today: Mostly sunny, more humid and milder with highs a seasonable 85° or so.
Tonight: Muggy with lows near 70°
Tomorrow: Hotter with highs 85-90° with heat index values near 100° in spots. Storm risks later in the day…especially from KC southwards.
Wednesday: Refreshing…morning lows in the 50s with PM highs well into the 70s to near 80°
Our weather set-up at the end of this discussion.
Just a fascinating storm…historic in many ways really. It maxed out yesterday with winds of 185 MPH. Truth is we’ll never know the stregth of the surface winds because unless the weather equipment is like what’s on top of Mt Washington, in New Hampshire, which gets those types of winds every so often in the winter…most typical wind instrumentation would’ve blown away of failed with those extremes.
We have some data from recon flights that continue to penetrate the eye of the storm…and that’s the basis for the 185 MPH winds yesterday with even higher gusts.
Essentially it was like a 30+ mile wide EF4 tornado…for example what struck Linwood, KS…except instead of hitting and moving along within minutes…this lasted for hours and hours because of the slow movement to the storm…which continues this morning.
There is no doubt in my mind that Dorian maxed in strength yesterday. It’s still though extremely powerful but will likely eventually “weaken” more over the next 3 days
Infrared pictures this morning clearly show a hurricane that isn’t as powerful. Yesterday there was lightning ringing the entire eye of the storm…a rarity for this side of the world. Today there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much. Cloud tops aren’t as cold either circling the center of the storm and it’s finally gone through 1 or 2 ERC’s that I’ve written about in the last few blogs weakening the core winds but expanding the size of the hurricane in a broader sense. Let’s see how it responds to this latest “core” rearrangement.
Yesterday when the storm peaked at 185 MPH…it was the 2nd strongest (by wind) hurricane in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Caribbean and the Gulf Of Mexico.
By lowest pressure it was in the top 10 if I remember correctly.
There are big differences with these potent hurricanes when it comes to wind and the damage as illustrated below. A 185 MPH hurricane can do almost 1400 TIMES the damage of a minimal hurricane (75 MPH winds)
That’s what the folks in parts of the Bahamas have been dealing with…for hours on end.
It’s not the 1st time the Bahamas have been hit by a category 5 hurricane…granted though we should look back into history before the 1950s with some skepticism regarding the wind speeds below.
The forecast turn to the north continues on virtually every computer model we have…a confidence builder but again we’re dealing with a scenario that has little room for error. Even with that turn expected there will be some pretty nasty surge moving into the eastern coast of Florida with significant wave action eroding the sand along the coast. Storm surge will be an issue but not as bad (as long as the hurricane remains offshore).
Potentially the areas near the outer banks of NC will have the biggest issue depending on the time of high tides etc.
You can see that even with an offshore track to the storm…winds of 75 MPH are still likely along the coastline.
More on Dorian tonight.
A cold front will come into the area tomorrow. Timing is during the middle of the afternoon. It will be hot and humid ahead of the front, and still pretty warm even right behind the front. The risk of storms will be there…so far the models aren’t doing a lot with this potential because of perhaps some weak capping.
Some of the models that typically generate storms easier do indeed get a line of scattered storms together in the evening Tuesday from just south of KC towards the Lakes region. There will be a lot of instability out there so there may be a risk of isolated severe storms, mainly from near and south of the Metro but something to watch.
Temperatures for the rest of the week will vary somewhat…from cooler than average to more seasonable levels…there will be a few sneaky hot days over the next couple of weeks at least. Of note as well…not a lot of rain is expected for awhile.