Blog: Changes In Dorian’s Track/Speed

Weather Blog

As expected…there have been some changes in Dorian’s track. It is weaker in the long term, and it is forecast to move slower. Having said that… it does look like we’ll still see some problems in the region (including Hampton Roads).

So let’s take a look.

Hurricane Dorian is moving generally north off the coast of Florida. The eye is definitely not as sharp nor as small as yesterday.

Dorian on SatRad

Since it has opened up, the sustained winds have decreased to 105mph. The pressure has increased to 962 mb (millibars of pressure). The system is forecast to move northward today. It is then expected to turn to the northeast tomorrow morning.

Track Of Dorian

If the turn happens too late, then it’s possible that it will make landfall around Charleston, South Carolina. Whether it does or not, an upper level trough and a cold front should push Dorian to the northeast along the Carolina coasts. The hurricane could briefly make landfall around Wilmington, North Carolina. It is then forecast to move near the shore towards Hatteras around mid-Friday morning.

Track Of Dorian

That timing has slowed down a little in the track and the models. The European model has been slower since yesterday, and now other models are following suit. The storm is then forecast to move rapidly away from our region late Friday into Friday night.

There is still some uncertainty in the exact track of the center. However, the models are fairly clustered together. Most of them are still near or just south of Hatteras Friday morning. However, there are a couple which do take it just north of Hatteras.

Forecast Models

Keep in mind that these are forecasting the centers of the storm. When you look at the pressure lines, you can see that the tropical storm force winds will be able to spread out from the center. Here is the wind field forecast for Dorian Friday morning from the National Hurricane Center.

Dorian Wind Field

The yellow area in the above graphic indicates tropical storm force winds, while the red is hurricane force. Looking at that forecast, it agrees with the latest GFS and European models.


Since the storm is forecast to move in a little later, the timing of the rain is a little later, too. Now it looks like most of the rain will hold off until about Thursday evening.

Future Trak (Thursday Eve.)

The rain will increase then from Thursday night into Friday morning.

Future Trak (Friday Morning)

Then the rain will linger for a while. Even behind the system. So it may not push out until Friday evening. The rain forecasts keep shifting. This morning the GFS and the European models put more of a focus on North Carolina for the band of heavy rain. They have both dropped south (for now).

Rainfall Forecast (GFS)
Rainfall Forecsat (Euro)

The NAM (not shown) had this yesterday, but ironically today it puts the heavier rain closer to Hampton Roads. At this time I am siding with the European solution, but stay tuned. It will be a sharp gradient. So it will be very track-dependent. Plus, a cold front will interact with the storm. Which model has the best handle on that? It’s hard to say, but the NAM can usually handle the local environment a little bit better. The other two can handle the storm better. So we’ll see.

The wind is also forecast to come in later. Now the winds probably won’t increase until late Thursday night.

Wind Forecast (Thursday Eve)

Then the wind will really increase Friday morning, but the worst of the winds will now be later in the morning (based off of the latest track forecast).

Wind Forecast (Friday Morning)

The wind could stay strong until late Friday — at least along the coast.

This wind will cause tidal flooding. I’ve been trending the tide forecast up lately since it seems like the storm won’t zip through the area as fast as previous forecasts showed. The tide may have a little more time to build up before the storm approaches the N.C. coast. So here is the latest forecast for Sewell’s Point. It is a good representation of Hampton Roads:

Tide Forecast (Hampton Roads)

This is based off of the National Weather Service forecast and one of the models that I use. I have been trending it up. If the storm can weaken a little more or move more offshore, then the tide forecast may go down a little. And vice-versa if it goes more north.

As you can see the forecast is lower than previous hurricanes. However, it is higher than hurricane Arthur in 2014. The current forecast is moderate to almost major. The forecast is for major tidal flooding along the Outer Banks. Here is the forecast for Duck, North Carolina:

Tide Forecast (Duck NC)

This shows major tidal flooding. However, it did come up quite a bit from the earlier morning forecast. The tide at Duck rose to 7.8ft during Isabel, but only to 5.22ft during Irene. 6.98ft during Sandy. That is according to our records. These tide forecasts are very apt to change. You can check the latest forecast yourself by clicking here: NWS tide forecasts.

Locally, today the weather will be fine. We’ll be partly cloudy with just a stray shower or two. It will be hot and humid. Highs will be in the upper 80s to low 90s. Tomorrow we’ll be mostly cloudy, but most of the showers won’t arrive until later in the day. Highs will be in the low 80s. Then the weather will deteriorate Thursday night into Friday based off of the latest track.

For now folks should trim trees. Stow away lawn furniture. Make sure your emergency kits are OK. There will likely be some power outages over the Outer Banks and parts of North Carolina. There may be some scattered outages over southeast Virginia.

Finally, there are a couple of other systems. Fernand is moving onto the east coast of Mexico as a tropical storm. Tropical Storm Gabrielle is over in the eastern Atlantic. It is moving northwest, and is forecast to stay out to sea.

Did I miss anything? Whew!

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

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