GOOD NEWS: DORIAN TO MISS LOCAL AREA TO THE EAST; ALMOST A CAT. 5 HURRICANE… Hurricane Dorian is on the cusp of becoming a rare, category 5 major hurricane on this Saturday afternoon. Maximum winds are pegged at 150mph with further strengthening not out of the question over the next 2 days. The good news to be able to highly confidently report this evening is that there is very, very little to almost no chance of Hurricane Dorian affecting south Alabama or northwest Florida in the days ahead. The model data has consistently showed an eastward-trending track, and odds are beginning to increase that the core of Dorian may even spare the Florida Peninsula to some extent. That idea is still not set in stone, however, and residents in the Florida Peninsula should continually to vehemently monitor the progress of this powerful, dangerous hurricane over the next several days. We’ll keep this update a bit shorter now that we can almost conclusively say our local area will have no danger from Dorian. Let’s look at a few more details…
LOCAL SHOWERS & STORMS ARE HAPPENING… Scattered showers and thunderstorms have fired up this afternoon across coastal counties and in Escambia (AL) and Covington counties as of 2:15PM. At the time this video is being produced, heavy rain is happening near Gonzalez, Molino, Chumuckla, Appeton, Florala, Crestview, Baker, Milligan, Holt, Harold, and Loxley. These storms are slowly moving westward. Severe weather is not expected locally today. Heavy rain will be possible at times through sunset. Another round of scattered storms is expected on Sunday afternoon and evening.
DORIAN: SATURDAY EVENING – POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS DISCUSSION… There is an extremely high chance that south Alabama and northwest Florida will never have any significant impacts from Hurricane Dorian. Model trends have been highly consistent in the last 2-3 days in keeping the core of Dorian well to our east. I will continue to closely monitor the latest raw model output and specific forecasts for any notable changes, but as of now, ALL of the indications I have point to this hurricane completely missing our area to the east. Great news! Interests in the Florida Peninsula, eastern Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina should closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Dorian. This is as close as I can give to an “all clear” without actually saying the words.
DORIAN: HIGH-END CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE… As of 2PM Saturday, Hurricane Dorian remains a very dangerous, category 4 major hurricane with maximum winds near 150 mph. Minimum central pressure is down to near 945 millibars. Dorian is moving west at approximately 8 miles per hour. Further intensification is possible, meaning Dorian may become a category 5 hurricane in the hours and days ahead. Regardless of if Dorian is a category 3, 4, or 5 hurricane, the impacts will could be devastating for parts of the northern Bahamas. Eyewall replacement cycles and other micro-scale phenomena can affect the overall intensity of this dangerous hurricane. Intensity fluctuations are expected, and even if Dorian weakens somewhat, there is a high chance of further strengthening. The hurricane is in an environment conducive for strengthening.
DORIAN: UPDATE ON HURRICANE WATCHES & WARNINGS… The northwestern Bahamas remain under a Hurricane Warning as the core of Dorian approaches. This could be a devastating situation for the northernmost islands in the Bahamas. A Hurricane Watch continues for Andros Island. I expect that a Hurricane Watch or Tropical Storm Watch will be issued for parts of the Atlantic coast of Florida later today or on Sunday. Even if the core of Dorian misses the Florida Peninsula to the east, tropical storm force winds may still happen at the coastline.
DORIAN: EXTENSIVE IMPACTS POSSIBLE IN PARTS OF FLORIDA, GEORGIA, CAROLINAS… The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center says that Dorian will likely approach the Atlantic/eastern coast of Florida as a very dangerous category 4, major hurricane on Labor Day Monday into Tuesday. Interests in and near West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Palm Bay, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Merritt Island, Orlando, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Palm Coast, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Fernandina Beach, Brunswick (GA), and Savannah (GA) should CLOSELY monitor the progress of this dangerous hurricane. We also note that South Carolina and North Carolina residents should keep close tabs o on Dorian in the days ahead. More rapid intensification is not out of the question, and the intensity forecast of Dorian may have to be adjusted higher in future forecasts! Don’t get so caught up in the category number (whether it’s a 3, 4, or 5) that you forget that potentially EXTREME impacts could happen in some of these areas!
30% CHANCE OF DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTHERN GULF… The National Hurricane Center is also keeping an eye on an area of low pressure currently situated between western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. This low pressure area will move westward in the days ahead into the southern Gulf, just to the north of the Bay of Campeche. Some slow development of this system is possible, and a tropical storm may form by Wednesday or Thursday before the system moves west into northern Mexico. NHC says there is a 30% chance of tropical storm formation. This system will likely not directly affect south Alabama or northwest Florida.
60% CHANCE OF DEVELOPMENT IN EASTERN ATLANTIC… There is now a 60% chance of a tropical storm developing near the Cabo Verde (formerly known as the Cape Verde) Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean near Africa in the days ahead. A tropical wave emerged off of the African continent yesterday. This system will likely move northwest in the days ahead. We note that long-term model trends continue to show this system moving into the open waters of the Atlantic and affecting no land areas. Great news!
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I’ll have more Hurricane Dorian updates this evening or on Sunday, as needed. Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great Saturday evening!
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