A hurricane watch has been issued for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, but it’s unclear if Tropical Storm Dorian will be able to muster the 74-mph winds needed to reach Cat 1 status.
The National Hurricane Center’s forecast as of 11 a.m. has Dorian 60 miles west northwest of St. Lucia with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1005 mb.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for portions of the Dominican Republic.
The threat of winds and heavy rains later this week into this weekend in the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Florida is increasing. Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of
Dorian and ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Nearly the entire Florida Peninsula is in the hurricane center’s 5-day forecast cone, which has the center of the system between Freeport in the Bahamas and Hobe Sound at 2 a.m. Sunday.
Cities including St. Augustine through the Keys on the east coast and Homosassa Springs through Everglades City on the west coast are in the forecast cone.
Dorian is forecast to be a high-end tropical storm with 70 mph winds as it approaches the Florida coast.
11 AM EDT: Here are the latest Key Messages on#Dorian. For more information, seehttps://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB,@NWSSanJuan and your local meteorological service.pic.twitter.com/OV3oSK6Eec— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic)August 27, 2019
There is a between a 30 and 40 percent chance that coastal Palm Beach County could begin feeling tropical storm force winds late Friday in to Saturday morning.
“There is a real opportunity that this could have a major impact on Florida this weekend,” said Dan Kottlowski, senior hurricane forecaster at AccuWeather. “It could just be an overgrown tropical wave by then, but we really don’t know for sure at this point.”
At 8 a.m., Dorian was about 15 miles west-northwest of St. Lucia with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. It is moving west-northwest at 13 mph.
NHC hurricane specialist John Cangialosi said in the 5 a.m. forecast that conditions for Dorian to intensify improve north of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. But it’s still unclear how much interaction there will be between Dorian and Hispaniola’s mountain ranges, which, at higher than 10,000 feet, can shred systems as they pass.
While the average 5-day track error is about 230 miles, hurricane center forecasters said Florida residents should keep an eye on Dorian and “ensure their hurricane plan is in place.”
The average 2-day track error is about 78 miles. The three-day track error is about 115 miles.“Especially given the upcoming Labor Day weekend, we will need to keep a close eye on Dorian’s evolution,” said Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson in his Cat 6 column.
South Florida Water Management District officials are also preparing for heavy rain ahead of, and from, Dorian. The Weather Prediction Center has rainfall totals through Sunday of as much as six inches in Palm Beach County.
That would be on top of the nine nches district gauges have measured in coastal Palm Beach County has already received this month.
Palm Beach International Airport has recorded a whopping 12 inches since Aug. 1. That’s 5.5 inches more than normal.
Meteorologist Robert Garcia, of the National Weather Service in Miami, said heavy rainfall is expected before Dorian would reach the coast under the current path.
“We’ll be able to refine what we’ll see from Dorian later this week,” he said Tuesday morning. “But we have to realize we have the threat of gusty winds, lightning and rainfall each of the days through this week that are unrelated to Dorian.”