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Hurricane Dorian

August 31, 2019

By Paul Homewood

This is the first update on Hurricane Dorian, which is currently north of the Bahamas, moving westwards as a Cat 4 with winds of 150 mph.

 cone graphic

The current forecast track has the storm staying away from the Florida coast, where it will then turn quickly north and then north east. On this track, it will probably hit the Carolinas as Cat 2.

However, the consensus seems to be that the actual track will end up being further east, which will be good news for everyone on that coast. The National Hurricane Centre admit that they are hedging on the safe side at the moment, quite rightly in my opinion. Just in the last couple of days, the forecast track has changed significantly, because of uncertainty about prevailing meteorological conditions.

Just as importantly, the heaviest rainfall is expected to fall at sea, with coastal margins expected to receive no more than ten inches.

[Image of WPC QPF U.S. rainfall potential]


So far this season, Atlantic hurricane activity has been very quiet with just three tropical storms and Hurricane Barry, which barely made Cat 1 before hitting Louisiana.

We are now entering what is climatologically the busiest time of year for hurricanes, but currently the Atlantic looks to be free of any potential hurricane formation for the next week at least.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    August 31, 2019 5:13 pm

    I do not believe the wind speed compared to past Hurricanes. I bet this is more of those Satellite top of Hurricane based values.
    NuSchool Earth which has been very reliable in the past Hurricanes & Typhoons shows about 120Km/h.
    Not even 120Mph.

    • The Old Bloke permalink
      August 31, 2019 8:23 pm

      A.C.O., I too have been tracking the storm on Nullschool and as you say the best I have seen is 120 km/h. There is a plethora of weather recording stations both private and commercial on the projected path(s) so it will be interesting to see what wind speeds there are when it touches land.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        August 31, 2019 9:49 pm

        TOB: you may have the wind speed right (and it’s not unreasonable) but, it’s whatever the BBC and others say it is that gets reported. That is what will go on the record. [sigh]

  2. August 31, 2019 5:14 pm

    Apart from Dorian, the whole planet is quiet. With CO2 at 415PPM must be too warm ???

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 31, 2019 5:42 pm

    “The NHC estimated that Barry attained Category 1 hurricane status by 12:00 UTC that day, concluding that Barry was producing a small area of hurricane-force winds based on observations from the Hurricane Hunters, Doppler radar wind estimates of 75 mph (121 km/h), and recorded sustained winds of 72 mph (116 km/h) at Eugene Island oil field.”

    Before modern observation/tech., Barry would not have been recorded as a hurricane.

    Rated by climate politics if you ask me.

  4. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    August 31, 2019 6:00 pm

    We have relatives near Savannah GA.
    We have visited the barrier island near there.
    A close but not too close event will be a fine event.

    One of the things about the southern USA is that most of the moisture has to come from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. The Pacific Ocean is far away and the western mountains take the bulk of that moisture.

    An interesting concept since arrival of Europeans has been the climate boundary of the wet-dry 100th Meridian.
    Readers here may find this article useful from its historical aspects. Further, it asks if “climate change” is moving this boundary.

    I have yet to observe any climate change, but find the article worth reading, in any case.

    • dearieme permalink
      September 1, 2019 4:31 pm

      Thank you for the fascinating link.

  5. Sara Hall permalink
    August 31, 2019 6:04 pm

    Not to mention that two of this season’s named tropical storms (Chantal & Erin) developed some considerable distance north of the tropical zone and quickly became non events as far as wild weather is concerned. Were they given names that they really didn’t deserve?

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      September 1, 2019 10:03 pm

      Since the Met Office has started naming “storms” in the UK, undoubtedly.

  6. George L permalink
    August 31, 2019 6:43 pm

    Going Forward
    I believe, as Professor Lindzen has pointed out, that hurricane and tornado activity is much dependent on the temperature gradient between the tropics and northern latitudes. Temperatures have risen some since the trough about 1979 – mainly in the north. Thus there was less of a gradient. Now in the cycles it appears temperatures will be dropping again more so in the northern latitudes. Thus there will be more of a gradient and more storm activity. No doubt, the “climate change” scammers will try to say fossil fuel CO2 is behind it.

    • September 1, 2019 9:15 am

      Then they would have to explain the drop in temperatures – or doctor the data.

      • September 1, 2019 11:44 am

        There is a president for that. After all, the great Michael Mann removed the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age from history when they offended his goal.

  7. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 31, 2019 8:14 pm

    Obviously the Bahamas are going to bear the brunt of Dorian. It will not be pleasant there, and we should not forget them while being thankful that the population centres in the US will be spared the damage from even a Cat Ii in all probability. So far, a quiet season overall. But still a couple of months to run.

  8. JimW permalink
    August 31, 2019 8:37 pm

    Thanks for the update Paul, was just going to check NHC. We have a place in Fort Myers on the gulf coast, so it looks like a normal ‘summer’ wet day there which after Irma is good news.
    I followed Irma diligently as some posters have said the NHC info is far from accurate.

    • JimW permalink
      September 1, 2019 11:11 am

      Nullschool showing it skirting Bahamas , already on northern track. Nassau seperately forecasting 18mph wind today. Looks likely to miss landfall on Florida east coast , may indeed miss any landfall as it heads N East towards Greenland to meet its icey fate.
      Max groundlevel speed on western leading edge measured by nullscool today at 135km/hr, 85mph, Cat 1, bad enough, but why the constant fear mongering from NHC?

  9. Philip Mulholland permalink
    August 31, 2019 9:08 pm


    The following is from Ventusky. After bouncing off the coast of Florida on Tuesday 3rd Sept and then the Carolinas on Thursday 5th Sept. The projected track of Hurricane Dorian sees it ending up as part of an extratropical cyclone north of Newfoundland. It might (just might) end up bringing snow to Southern Greenland on Monday 9th Sept. (These long distance projections are always subject to change).

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 31, 2019 9:09 pm

    Hurricanes v. solar PV. I wonder what happened to all those toxic and plastic fragments that could not possibly have been retrieved?

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 1, 2019 8:56 am

      Obviously, windy conditions are ideal for wind turbines.

      Oh wait ….

  11. September 1, 2019 3:02 am

    All I have been hearing on the news is that this was expected to be at least cat 4 and is a most dangerous storm. So tired of hearing this over and over for every storm.
    Yes, any hurricane is a dangerous storm but the media keeps painting in red dramatics about one of the worst ever, yada, yada, yada.
    Please. Pray for those whom are impacted and stop trying to scare everyone.

    • Bertie permalink
      September 1, 2019 6:44 am

      Hear, hear!

      • dave permalink
        September 1, 2019 10:01 am

        “Pray for…”

        The CAGW lot are, indeed, always praying, – or mumbling in a black magic-y sort of way – for a disaster!

        The taunt, “Told you so!” is ready, whether it be hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm, at the ends of the Earth or the middle of an airport, at the North Pole or at the South Pole, at the top of the atmosphere or the bottom of the sea.

        Toujours l’audace! Toujours li’infamy!

  12. Ben Hyden permalink
    September 1, 2019 3:50 am

    Nothing emanating from the mouths of any members of media nor the government can be trusted. And I can’t be trusted. And you can’t be trusted.

    Better to turn off the TV and read a good cookbook, bake some cookies, and listen to some good music than to let these con-men lead us around by our noses.

  13. Athelstan. permalink
    September 1, 2019 7:53 am

    I hope very much that, it dorian swerves veering NEE and hits nowhere but sea.

    I am sick to the back teeth of the UK media hype, Hurricanes happen in Hurricane season and guess what, Hurricane seaso’ in here!

  14. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    September 1, 2019 9:58 am

    Damn! Missed Greta’s carbon fibre yacht!

  15. September 1, 2019 10:42 am

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  16. Waterbear permalink
    September 1, 2019 3:33 pm

    How is official wind speed calculated? Has the calculation changed recently?

    • September 1, 2019 4:33 pm

      It is supposed to be peak 1-min speeds, measured at 10m above ground:

      Invariably now though it is estimated from satellite data

      • rah permalink
        September 1, 2019 5:58 pm

        Peak sustained one minute at 10 meters for Saffir-Simpson categorization. There is no doubt that over the last few years NOAA’s National Hurricane Center has been broadcasting wind speeds well in excess of those that have been recorded by actual surface stations. I monitored the live feeds from every weather buoy and surface station on and off S. Florida in real time when Irma hit in 2017. When it hit Cudjoe Key they declared it a CAT 4. Surface and buoy data showed it to be no more than middle of the road CAT 3 at that time. When it came ashore on the mainland near Naples they declared it to be at CAT 3 strength. Actual surface data showed it to be packing solid CAT 2 wind speeds. They didn’t officially downgrade that storm from a CAT 3 to CAT 2 until about an hour after it made landfall near Naples.

        However, for Dorian or any storm as powerful as this one, which they now say has 180 mph sustained winds, how much difference will even a 20 or even a 30 mph error above actual make in the effects? Bottom line is for anyone in the path of this storm the only sane option is get the hell out of Dodge! And that doesn’t just apply to those on the coast. The effects of Andrew in 1992 should be a lesson to all that are thinking about trying to ride this one out.

        I don’t trust the current official track forecast of this storm. It is all too dependent on the speed of progression. If this storm happens to speed up in it’s traverse it could beat the trough descending out of the central US and be steered by the same ridge north of it that is currently keeping it headed west. Thus this storm could very well come ashore in SE or Central Florida. Nobody on the east coast of Florida is off the hook yet by any means!

      • September 1, 2019 7:28 pm

        NWS Hurricane Center reports 911mb min. pressure, 185 mph winds gusting upto 220, and 18-23 ft. storm surge. Sounds grim.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        September 1, 2019 9:59 pm

        I still don’t believe them, although according to NuSchool it has shfted up a gear to 150Kph.

      • JimW permalink
        September 2, 2019 1:01 pm

        We are getting videos now from Marsh Harbour which was a direct hit. Its bad, but nothing like a Cat5. Winds at Cat5 would leave nothing in its wake, palm trees would be match sticks. Away from the direct water front the houses look intact, I wonder if most damage is from storm surge rather than the wind, it looks that way. Anyway I would say this looks similar to Irma damage when it hit Florida gulf coast proper, it was Cat1/Cat2 by that stage. The nullschool data and the wu weather station data would appear to support this.
        NHC report speeds thousands of feet up and MSM just assume its ground speed. I know NHC are supposed to seperately report 10m above ground , but they clearly do not.
        Problem Freeport has now is that it appears to have stalled right above. We should know if it deviates northwards in a few hours.

  17. dearieme permalink
    September 1, 2019 4:37 pm

    If God were truly civilised then hurricanes would run NE, safely offshore, until taking a short, sharp diversion to the Washington DC area. I suppose people could always pray really hard for a second diversion to NYC.

  18. mjr permalink
    September 1, 2019 7:03 pm

    Just read the report on BBC new website – No mention of global warming/ disaster/ catastrophe. Someone should be sacked!!! Is Harrabin on a day off?

    • tomo permalink
      September 1, 2019 7:14 pm

      Harra’s probably on an aircraft somewhere

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      September 1, 2019 9:57 pm

      There’s no need to mention climate change yet – it’s implicit, they’ve already declared it the most powerful Hurricane ever to hit (wherever it hits!).

      There will be weeks or more of climate change attribution stories dragged out until they find another storm or heatwave to cover.

  19. Athelstan. permalink
    September 1, 2019 8:48 pm

    update from al beeb, wind speeds in excess of 185,(how the **** do they know) storm surge 7 m and blah, blah, hyperbolic exaggeration………………………….. cat 6 or 8, 9, 10,


    Do ya think that they’re banging the climastrology Alarmism drum – er possibly?

  20. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 1, 2019 10:57 pm

    You might want to drop in onto these links:,24.90,3000/loc=-77.003,26.987

    A bit of work to be done but all the info you require.

  21. rah permalink
    September 1, 2019 11:01 pm

    For those interested in details in hurricane forecasting Levi Cowan gets into the nitty gritty when there are active hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. Usually puts out a new video every night.

  22. A C Osborn permalink
    September 2, 2019 9:26 am

    The damage being shown in the Bahamas is certainly no worse or even as bad as the Category 3 1926 Miami Hurricane.
    Is it really consistent with 185mph sustained winds and gusts over 220mph?
    I thought that a Cat 5 Hurricane snapped off trees at ground level or removed their bark if strong enough to not be broken.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      September 2, 2019 11:31 am

      There does seem to have been a very large storm surge though.

  23. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 2, 2019 12:44 pm

    AOC. Where the hell are these winds of Hurricane force supposed to be, because I can’t find them on land based stations within the Bahamas.

    • Ivan permalink
      September 2, 2019 5:21 pm

      Probably all broken or off-line.

  24. Ivan permalink
    September 2, 2019 5:17 pm

    Now there are 3 other disturbances in the N Atlantic basin rated at 90%, 50% and 50% respectively likelihoods of becoming a tropical storm within 5 days by the US National Hurricane Center. That’s the kind of thing that can happen in peak hurricane season when the Madden-Julian Oscillation is in a state to promote rather than inhibit storm formation.

    The Madden-Julian Oscillation is really quite important in storm formation in the Atlantic basin. The MJO tends to operate at about a 45 day period, though it can be 90 days. So you can get extended quieter periods alternating with clusters of storms.

    Another issue is the location and prevalence of the Saharan dry air layer over the N Atlantic. This year the dry air has been especially persistent, and has inhibited much storm formation so far. Even Hurricane Dorian was initially considered not likely to do very much because of the proximity of this dry air layer, which initially kept Dorian rather small and incoherent.

    But things are now looking a lot more dangerous. The seasonal forecasts of an average to busy season may still happen – they were being repeated as little as a fortnight ago despite the continuing inhibitory conditions in the Atlantic at that point. People must have been fairly confident that wasn’t going to last very long.

  25. Emrys Jones permalink
    September 2, 2019 6:02 pm

    I lost all belief in the current hurricane reporting system when Cat 5 Michael came ashore. It left a stilt house on the shore line standing, barely touched the modern building code housing behind the beach and had a surge of 8′. Cat 5 it was not, nor anywhere near it.

    What do we learn from Michael? That there is now no meaningful system of categorising hurricanes.

    • Ivan permalink
      September 3, 2019 10:13 am

      It is indeed impossible to summarise the nature of a storm in a single number. The Category is just the maximum wind speed, and that can be localised over a small area, sometimes a very small area, and wind is much reduced only a small distance away, especially on the left hand side of a storm in the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless, if you are hit by the Cat5 wind field of a Cat5 storm, the damage in that locality will be devastating, but it is often quite a small area. Wind damage can be most important factor, but usually only when a small island gets a direct hit, as happened in Barbuda with Hurricane Irma in 2017.

      More often widespread damage comes from flooding or storm surge. These can be terrible in lower category storms. Hurricane Katrina had devastating storm surge and was only Cat 2 at landing, though it had been Cat 5 out at sea. One of the most terrible storms of modern times caused devastating flooding in Haiti, several years ago, and was not even a hurricane. The storm that hit Mozambique fairly recently caused devastating flooding.

      The eye of Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall Air Force base where there was devastating wind damage. The storm surge at Mexico Beach completely scoured numerous houses from their bases. This was considerably because of the precise topography of the coastline in that location, that funnelled the power of the surge. Overall Michael caused damage estimated at $25bn in the USA. But clearly not so terrible at the specific location you refer. And the winds may indeed have been much less than Cat 5 at that location. Michael was a truly terrible storm, but as you illustrate some areas get off much more lightly than others.

  26. john cooknell permalink
    September 2, 2019 9:52 pm

    The hurricane is situated over Grand Bahama which is sparsely populated and 150 miles away from the capital Nassau on New Providence island.

    Over 70% of the population of the Bahamas (250,000) live on New Providence near Nassau.

    Having been to the Bahamas a few times, some years ago, the reason I believe we don’t have the usual ambulance chasing reports from News teams on Grand Bahama is that it is quite difficult to travel there.

    Bahamians are quite familiar with Hurricanes and Tropical Storms. We had a hurricane pass by the same route when I was there if I recall correctly. All the Yanks in the hotel went home to Miami at the first warning. We few Brits stuck it out, but on reflection it did get a bit too wet and windy and all the electric failed! so perhaps we should have followed the Yanks.

  27. JimW permalink
    September 3, 2019 6:54 am

    Western wall beginning to collapse as it is stuck over Grand Bahama.
    This is very nasty for people on the island, but this was never a Cat5 hurricane.
    NOAA (NHC) promoted a very bad event to coincide with Greta’s arrival in US.

    • Ivan permalink
      September 3, 2019 11:24 am

      I don’t think the met authorities ever claimed it was Cat 5 at Grand Bahama. It was reported to be Cat 5 at Gran Abaco. It was reported to hit Grand Bahama as Cat 4 and is now reported as weaked to Cat 3 at time of writing. Even then, these places are large enough that many locations will remain outside the highest category wind field.

      Any real time film or met recording we have is likely not to be from the location where the storm was at its strongest. It is rare to get film or met records from such locations, especially real time. Power and communications are out and recording equipment is destroyed at Cat 5. When a place is utterly devastated by a direct hit from a Cat 5 hurricane, there is generally a delay in getting evidence of that devastation. I think we have to wait and see whether the evidence from Gran Abaco is consistent with Cat 5 in locations with the heaviest damage.

      The Bahamas, being a relatively wealthly and well-ordered location in comparison to some in the region, requires buildings to be built to withstand Cat 4 hurricanes. Thus the extent of damage visible may well be less than in locations without such strict building codes, for example as was seen in Barbuda, Dominica, and so forth from the storms of 2017. There is some speculation of utter devastation on Gran Abaco, but we have to wait and see if that is borne out. Devastation may not be so extensive on Grand Bahama where many of the buildings might be capable of withstanding what they have experienced, but again we have to wait and see.

      • JimW permalink
        September 3, 2019 9:25 pm

        See my post of 2/9 above, videos from Marsh Harbour on Abaco which took a direct hit from a supposed Cat 5 show structures intact away from the shore. Most damage is from surge. A Cat 5 hit would turn palm trees into match sticks.

      • Ivan permalink
        September 4, 2019 10:27 am

        We can now see, as I suggested, that this information was not from a place suffering the worst of it. Now we can see the true utter devastation after the storm has passed.

  28. NeilC permalink
    September 3, 2019 10:04 am

    The strongest I’ve seen on nullschool is 149 km/h which is a F1.

    Also, Nassau observations for the last 24 hours show nothing like a hurricane.

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