06 September 2019

Dorian finally makes U.S. landfall on Cape Hatteras, now heading to Canada

Eighteen days after exiting the African coast, and three days after its closest approach to south Florida, Hurricane Dorian finally made landfall in the U.S., barely.  The center of the eye just clipped Cape Hatteras, North Carolina around 8:30am EDT; the intensity was 90 mph and 956 mb. However, even without a technical landfall further south, the western eyewall and wind field battered and flooded the coast from central Florida up through Virginia, and it's not done yet.

As of Friday afternoon, Dorian is centered 300 miles south of New York City, or 750 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Tropical storm force winds now extend an average of 175 miles from the center, and hurricane watches and warnings plaster Nova Scotia and Newfoundland where severe impacts such as strong wind and significant storm surge are expected to begin by Saturday morning and continue into Sunday.  The last few hurricanes to hit or get very close to Nova Scotia were Earl (2010), Bill (2009), Kyle (2008), Juan (2003), and Gustav (2002).  Juan hit the province as a Category 2 hurricane and the name was retired because of the impact there.
Also to wrap up Dorian, I have a long list of radar loops covering the journey since it passed over the Windward Islands on August 27 at http://bmcnoldy.rsmas.miami.edu/tropics/radar/. There's a 5-day-long loop that covers the entire southeast U.S., and brand new today is one I was able to pull together that covers Dorian's history-making trek over the northern Bahamas... be sure to check them out.
The name Dorian was added to the 2013 list when Category 5 Hurricane Dean was retired in 2007.  The 2013 version of Dorian was actually quite similar to 2019's Dorian in terms of origin and track (but definitely not intensity).  It began as an African wave on July 22 and tracked westward through the deep tropics as a tropical storm, over the Bahamas as a tropical depression, turned north right before reaching Florida, and then dissipated off the North Carolina coast on August 4.  But the 2019 version will certainly make this Hurricane Dorian's last appearance.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Gabrielle is maintaining its northwesterly track, and is forecast to continue strengthening for the next several days as it heads into the north central Atlantic, possibly becoming the season's third hurricane. It's centered about 1200 miles northwest of Cabo Verde, and is not a concern to land.

The tropical wave that left the African coast two days ago remains a feature of interest, and the National Hurricane Center is giving it a 70% chance of becoming at least a tropical depression in the next five days.  Long-range model guidance has been indicating that unlike Gabrielle, it could continue westward across the deep tropics. The latest 50-member European model ensemble has a majority of members that keep a southern path over the ten days, and this is representative of the past few cycles. However, keep in mind that this extended-range model guidance comes with a *LOT* of uncertainty, and is not an official forecast.  For now, we just keep an eye on their consistency and trends.

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