Tag Archives: Northwest Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian Hammers the Northwestern Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian hammered the Northwestern Bahamas on Monday.  After pounding the Abacos on Sunday night, Hurricane Dorian moved slowly across Grand Bahama Island before stalling over that island for much of Monday.  There were reports of significant storms surges, numerous injuries and some fatalities.  Dorian was still battering Grand Bahama Island on Monday night.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Dorian was located at latitude 26.9°N and longitude 78.5°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) north-northeast of Freeport, Bahamas and about 100 miles (160 km) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.  Dorian was essentially stationary.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 946 mb.

Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island.  A Hurricane Warning was also in effect for the portion of the Florida coast from Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet and from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning was also in effect for the portion of the coast from Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast from Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach and for Lake Okeechobee.

Hurricane Dorian weakened slowly on Monday.  As it remained nearly stationary the winds around Dorian mixed cooler water to the surface.  Hurricane Dorian was unable to extract enough energy from the ocean to maintain its extreme intensity,  The circulation in core of Dorian developed two concentric eyewalls.  The concentric eyewalls suggested that the hurricane had started an eyewall replacement cycle which may have also contributed to the reduction of the wind speed.

The concentric eyewalls also produced an increase in the size of the circulation around Hurricane Dorian.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out abou 150 miles from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 15,2 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 40.3.

Hurricane Dorian was south of a high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high was blocking Dorian and preventing the hurricane from moving toward the north.  The western end of the high is forecast to weaken on Tuesday.  When the end of the high weakens, it will allow Hurricane Dorian to move toward the northwest.  An upper level trough over the U.S. will approach Dorian on Wednesday.  The trough is forecast to turn Dorian toward the northeast.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Dorian could approach the Central Florida coast by Tuesday night.  Dorian could approach the Carolinas on Wednesday night.

Hurricane Dorian will move into an environment favorable for intensification when it starts moving again on Tuesday.  Dorian will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  However, Hurricane Dorian could still be in the weakening part of the eyewall replacement cycle and Dorian may not intensify despite the favorable environment.  The upper level trough will produce southwesterly winds which will cause wind shear to increase on Wednesday.  The increase in wind shear will likely cause Hurricane Dorian to weaken when it approaches the Carolinas.