Hurricane Dorian: What We Know as Storm Approaches Florida

Further strengthening is likely Friday, and Dorian could eventually become a Category 4 storm

All eyes remain on Hurricane Dorian, as it continues to strengthen over warm Atlantic waters. Here’s the latest on the storm:

What's new as of Friday

The storm is a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds nearing 115 mph, as of the 2 p.m. National Weather Service advisory on Friday. Those strong winds are in a very small area though, with hurricane force winds expanding just 25 miles out from the center of the storm.

Further strengthening is likely today, and by afternoon or tonight the storm may be a major Category 3 storm.

What's next: A turn left

As Dorian becomes stronger, potentially becoming a Category 4 storm, an area of high pressure over the Atlantic will send it west towards Florida. We know this will happen. We also know that the storm will slow to a crawl as it approaches the Sunshine State this weekend.

Outer bands from the storm will arrive Sunday, with the worst weather then continuing into Monday and Tuesday. That’s when a potential landfall would be most likely along the state’s East Coast, particularly from the Space Coast, around Cape Canaveral and down to Miami.

Biggest question: A turn north

The biggest uncertainty right now, aside from where exactly a landfall would be, is when and where the storm will turn north.

That area of high pressure over the Atlantic, turning the storm west, is like a roadblock in the atmosphere. There’s another one over the western United States. Dorian will try to squeeze between the two next week, impacting the Florida Peninsula for several days.

But does that turn happen just before the storm makes landfall, meaning Dorian would parallel the coast for days, does it make the turn up through the middle of the state impacting areas like Orlando, or does the turn happen closer to the West Coast? All of those options, for now, remain in play.

That’s why the entire state needs to prepare.

By the end of the week, what’s left of Dorian may impact the Carolinas.

Will it impact New England?

At this point, it’s far too early to know if Dorian will impact New England, but it’s definitely possible.

If we get a piece of a much-weaker Dorian, or its leftovers in the form of tropical rains, it likely happens sometime next weekend.

When we will know more

Each hour we’re getting new and better information, helping us better analyze the storm. Hurricane-hunter aircraft continue to fly in and out of the storm, measuring wind speeds and pressure and extra weather balloons are being launched in part of the country to see what type of environment the storm is moving into.

This storm is definitely one that we’ll be talking about for at least another week, so stay tuned.

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