The fourth named storm of the 2019 hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin continues to get its act together as it bears down on Puerto Rico, and is currently forecasted by the National Hurricane Center to make a Labor Day landfall along Florida’s east coast as a Category 2 hurricane.
Tropical Storm Dorian is nearing Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and a northwest movement of 13 mph. Air Force hurricane hunters flew into the storm this morning and recorded a minimum central pressure of 1003 mb.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but a Hurricane Watch is also in effect for the islands as forecasters continue to monitor the storm’s intensity. A Tropical Storm Watch has also been issued by the government of the Dominican Republic. As much as six inches of rain could fall across much of the affected area.
The future track for Dorian is a complicated one. The storm will turn more north than west for a few days, but then is expected to be steered more west than north, putting it on a path to reach the Florida coast by Labor Day. The current path would suggest landfall somewhere around Daytona Beach or St. Augustine, but that could change either north or south by hundreds of miles.
From there, the National Weather Service’s GFS model projects the storm to slowly move up the eastern seaboard to the Carolinas. If this path winds up being realized, this will be a storm that will impact the U.S. for all of next week.
If this storm travels as it currently seems that it might, there will be little impact to East Tennessee, at least as far west as the Cumberland Plateau. Storms that generate in the vicinity of Dorian at this time of year often wind up in the Gulf of Mexico. If that were to be the case, the chances for an eventual impact in the Cumberlands goes way up. There are currently some models suggesting that Dorian crosses the Florida peninsula and enters the Gulf, but they would be considered outliers at the moment, as there is a loose modeling consensus for the storm to make landfall along Florida’s east coast, then turn north.
The GFS model is currently bone-dry (and hot) for the Cumberland Plateau through the first week of September, with only a slight chance for thunderstorms on the first weekend of the month. If those projections pan out, folks in this area may be wishing for the remnants of a tropical storm in another week or so.