Hurricane Dorian is the season’s first Category Four storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
The National Hurricane Center’s track and stats are updated instantly here anytime there is a change in strength or forecast:
Unfortunately, Hurricane Dorian is showing a formidable structure: It is nearly symmetrical, with a tight/compact central dense overcast (bright colors on the satellite image) and well defined eye.
When we look at a hurricane like this, it’s striking how beautiful the structure is — but it’s eery because the “beauty” (symmetry/colors) signify a powerful and dangerous storm taking place. In meteorology-speak, we tend to call it a “buzzsaw” because of its resemblance to the tool — and unfortunately, the destruction it can cause.
As of Saturday night, Hurricane Dorian is a Category 4 Major Hurricane, bearing down on the northern islands of the Bahamas. It will stall for a day or two off the coast of Florida before moving north towards the Florida/Georgia/Carolina coast.
Minimum central pressure fell from 979 millibars to 948 millibars between 4 AM Friday and 4 AM Saturday: that’s a 31 millibar drop in 24 hours – the very definition of rapid intensification, also known as bombogenesis.
The central pressure continued to drop, albeit at a slower pace through Saturday evening, and as of the 10pm advisory, the pressure is 940 millibars.
On this kind of pace, there is a chance Dorian could be a Category 5 storm prior to approaching Florida’s coastline; however, it’s doubtful that it would be higher than a strong Category 3 or lower-end Category 4 near the Atlantic Coast.
In fact, the forecast track is trending to more of something that looks like Hurricane Matthew from 2016. Days in advance, we expected Matthew to crash into Florida as a major hurricane; instead, it actually scraped along the coastline never making landfall (that’s the point when the eye completely crosses over land) until it reached South Carolina.
If you are traveling to Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas for Labor Day weekend or next week, reconsider your plans: check cancellation policies and stay informed! If you do decide to go ahead and risk it, be sure you find a local media outlet in that area. National networks are great, but if you’re trying to make decisions, the local outlets will be able to provide much more applicable information.