Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Well That Got Ugly In a Hurry

In the space of a few hours, Dorian went from being forecast to be overhead at 2PM on Sunday as a tropical storm to being a Major Hurricane a little north of here and making landfall Sunday night.  Right now, they're forecasting it as a major hurricane, which means category 3 or above, passing overhead early on Labor Day.  Some of the models have it reaching category 4.

So far the models have gotten a lot wrong.  Here's yesterday's 5PM Atlantic Standard Time forecast.  The red line is where I drew in the actual path (as I can tell from Puerto Rico's NOAA weather radar).  The forecast was to pass over the SW corner of PR; in real life it went to the NE of the island and never made landfall - out of the white cone of uncertainty.  Epic fail.  Which is not what you want to see when you're planning your life based on their predictions.

We're still in the stippled area at five days and if it's not accurate one day in advance, five days is pretty hopeless.  The progression of uncertainty is ordinarily quoted at 100 miles per day, so that by five days, the total is 500 miles.  Which is pretty much what the map shows.  From the upper keys to South Georgia is in the uncertainty area.

For contrast, here's the 8PM update of that prediction, just posted moments ago.

You'll notice no real difference in where it crosses the coast, just the symbol going from S for tropical storm to M for major hurricane.  The models are updated two or three times a day, depending on who's running the models.  Many update at midnight and noon UTC, which correspond to 7PM and 7AM.  The trend in the models has been drifting south, and if that continues, we could be off the hook, but the official forecast isn't showing it. 

We're essentially ready to put up shutters and prepare, but we'll be watching the updates until it's apparent we need to do that, Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.  I think I've spent a couple of years of my life watching storms like this and trying to see what they're going to do. 

Let me close with a meme that I stole from Miguel down at Gun Free Zone, because it's truth.


  1. Roger from just north of Fort Lauderdale, I was going to suggest that you get ready to duck and hide. Then the track started trending further south & now I may have to duck & hide.

  2. I am waiting for the 11 PM update. If that storm points any more south, I am going DEFCON 1 in the morning.

  3. Stay safe there in Florida. My brother lived in the Keys from 2005 to 2016 and got that Floridian Attitude.

  4. I understand how unlikely it is but my hope is the forecast continues to be wrong and it fizzles to just a rain event for you

  5. Problem with the forecast is there's a strong west-to-east front pushing eastwardly. If Dorian hits that, she/he/it could bankshot up the east coast and Florida will be spared, whilst Doom settles on Obama's new digs...

    Wait, that may not be a problem... nah, there's other people besides him/her/it and her/him/it.

    1 day forecast. That's all you can trust. Last year, or was it 2 years ago..., a storm was supposed to roll over Gainesville, so next-door neighbor bugged to her parent's house in Ft. Myers... Oops.

    And meteorologists expect us to believe they know what the world's weather will be like in 50 to 100 years from now...

    Still, yeah, prep and batten. Sucks that this came at the end of the month which is a financial squeeze for a lot of people on retirement.

  6. I'm doing what I can to prepare, but being farther inland then some of the other FL bloggers the only good thing is basically a "defense in depth".

    It has to go through a lot of terrain to get to me. The last few storms were down to Cat 1/ TS levels when they finally got this far.

    Still lost power for a few days, but it wasn't that bad.

    Good luck with your preps and your family SiG.

  7. Good Luck, SiG! I know you've got this covered, but please be careful.

  8. Good luck. It looks now like it's headed for Ft. Lauderdale but central FLA will also be a mess.

  9. The Orlando gas stations still have (some) gas!

  10. Good luck to all of you guys down there.
    Stay safe SiG.

    Be well.

    Whitehall, NY

  11. Phew! Now it looks like it is only going to graze the Florida East Coast. That might be a relief.

    1. Yes, the last 24 hours has been good to us. The 5PM advisory plots give us tropical storm warnings, but it looks to shift just a little farther offshore. We're still in the Cone of Doom, but just barely.

      Dorian is a small storm - I've seen hurricanes in the same basic location as where Dorian is now and the outflow clouds went from Georgia to the Keys. Dorian's about a quarter of that!