Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian
Category 5 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Dorian 2019-09-01 1742Z.jpg
Hurricane Dorian at peak intensity over the Abaco Islands on September 1
FormedAugust 24, 2019
DissipatedSeptember 10, 2019
(Extratropical after September 7)
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 185 mph (295 km/h)
Lowest pressure910 mbar (hPa); 26.87 inHg
Fatalities56 direct, 6 indirect
Damage≥ $7.5 billion (2019 USD)
Areas affectedLesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas (especially the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama), East Coast of the United States, Eastern Canada, southern Greenland
Part of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Dorian was a long-lived and extremely powerful tropical cyclone that devastated the northwestern Bahamas and caused significant damage to the Southeastern United States and Atlantic Canada, and the strongest in the basin by wind speed since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It was the fifth tropical cyclone, fourth named storm, second hurricane, and the first major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, with at least 70,000 people left homeless.

Dorian developed from a tropical wave on August 24 in the Central Atlantic. The system gradually intensified while moving toward the Lesser Antilles, before becoming a hurricane on August 28. Rapid intensification ensued, and on August 31, Dorian intensified into a Category 4 major hurricane. On the following day, Dorian reached Category 5 intensity, peaking with one-minute sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 910 millibars (26.87 inHg), before making landfall in the Bahamas in Elbow Cay, just east of Abaco Island. Dorian slightly weakened and made another landfall on Grand Bahama several hours later. After moving over the Bahamas, Dorian slowed its forward motion considerably, remaining essentially stationary just north of Grand Bahama Island from September 1 to September 3, after the ridge of high pressure steering Dorian westward collapsed on September 2. Shortly afterward, a combination of cold water upwelling and an eyewall replacement cycle weakened Dorian to a Category 2 hurricane by September 3. Later that day, Dorian began moving northwestward, parallel to the east coast of Florida. On September 5, Dorian moved over warmer waters and completed its eyewall replacement cycle, reintensifying into a Category 3 hurricane. Several hours later, Dorian encountered strong wind shear, weakening the storm to Category 1 status by the next day, while the storm turned to the northeast. On September 6, Dorian made landfall on Cape Hatteras as a Category 1 hurricane, before transitioning into an extratropical cyclone early on the next day. Early on September 8, still with hurricane-force winds, Dorian made landfall on Nova Scotia, then progressed northeast toward Newfoundland before leaving Atlantic Canada, with the NHC issuing their final advisory on September 9. Dorian subsequently dissipated near Greenland on September 10.

From August 26 to August 28, the storm affected Caribbean nations and territories devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Damaging winds primarily affected the Virgin Islands where gusts reached 111 mph (179 km/h). Extensive precautionary measures were taken to mitigate damage, especially in Puerto Rico, where one person died. Elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles, impacts from the storm were relatively minor. In preparation for the storm, the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia all declared a state of emergency and many coastal counties from Florida to North Carolina issued mandatory evacuation orders.

Dorian's 185 mph (295 km/h) sustained winds at landfall on Elbow Cay ties it with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane as the strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricane, measured by sustained winds. Damage in the Bahamas was catastrophic due to the prolonged and intense storm conditions, including heavy rainfall, high winds and storm surge, with thousands of homes destroyed and at least 50 deaths recorded.[1] The true death toll is unknown, but news sources in the Bahamas suggested that it may exceed 1,000. There are currently 1,300 people missing.[2] Property damages were estimated at $7 billion for the Bahamas.[3] Damage in the mainland United States is estimated in excess of $500 million while losses in Canada are unknown.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On August 19, 2019, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) identified a tropical wave—an elongated trough of low air pressure—within a monsoon trough over Guinea and Senegal in western Africa. Convective activity associated with the wave was limited by an abundance of Saharan dust in the region.[4] Propagating west over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, the system remained disorganized for several days.[5] On August 23, a defined area of low pressure consolidated at the surface and thunderstorm activity increased.[6] The system acquired sufficient organized convection to be classified as Tropical Depression Five at 15:00 UTC on August 24. At this time the system was situated 805 mi (1,300 km) east-southeast of Barbados. A deep ridge imparted continued westward movement of the depression, steering it toward the Lesser Antilles.[7] A small cyclone, it soon developed a defined inner-core with a 12 mi (18 km) wide eye-like feature. This marked the system's intensification into a tropical storm, at which time it was assigned the name Dorian by the NHC.[8] Thereafter, moderate wind shear and surrounding dry air limited further organization.[9] Rainbands gradually wrapped more around Dorian on August 25–26, though convection remained inconsistent.[10][11]

Strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricanesdagger
Rank Hurricane Season Wind speed
mph km/h
1 "Labor Day" 1935 185 295
Dorian 2019
3 Irma 2017 180 285
4 Janet 1955 175 280
Camille 1969
Anita 1977
David 1979
Dean 2007
9 "Cuba" 1924 165 270
Andrew 1992
Maria 2017
Source: HURDAT,[12] AOML/HRD[13]
daggerStrength refers to maximum sustained wind speed
upon striking land.

Dorian continued moving west and barely missed Barbados, bringing tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain.[14] It then started moving northwestward toward Saint Lucia. At 10:00 UTC on August 27, Dorian made landfall on the island of Saint Lucia as a tropical storm, briefly disrupting the core of the storm, before entering the Caribbean Sea.[15] The storm underwent a center relocation further north, to the west of Martinique, causing the island to experience tropical storm-force winds as well.[16] Dorian had been predicted to travel northwest and pass over or near the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico,[17] possibly allowing their mountainous terrain to weaken the tropical storm. At that time, dry air and wind shear were expected to prevent Dorian from attaining hurricane status—although just barely.[18] However, Dorian took a more northerly track than expected, causing it to pass to the east of Puerto Rico and hit the US Virgin Islands. On August 28, Dorian intensified into a Category 1 hurricane as it approached Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, where hurricane-force winds were recorded; at 18:00 UTC that day, Dorian made landfall on Saint Thomas at Category 1 intensity.[19][20] However, the hurricane's small size prevented mainland Puerto Rico from experiencing hurricane- or tropical storm-force winds, although this was not the case for the Spanish Virgin Islands.[21]

Once the system moved north past the Virgin Islands, the storm entered a more favorable environment. On the next day, the system started to rapidly intensify, reaching Category 2 status early on August 30.[22] Rapid intensification continued, and the storm eventually reached major hurricane status several hours later, on the same day.[23] This strengthening trend came to a halt for the remainder of the day, but soon resumed.[24] The system continued strengthening, and on August 31, Dorian attained Category 4 major hurricane status.[25] Dorian reached Category 5 intensity on the following day.[26] On the morning of September 1, a dropsonde deployed by a NOAA aircraft measured a wind gust of 176 knots (326 km/h; 203 mph) at the surface. With one-minute sustained winds of 180 mph (285 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 913 mbar (27.0 inHg), the NHC noted that Dorian was the strongest hurricane in modern records to affect the northwestern Bahamas.[27]

Hurricane Dorian as seen from the International Space Station on September 2, 2019
The amount of precipitation produced by Hurricane Dorian from August 27 to September 9.

At 16:40 UTC on September 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, with one-minute sustained winds of 185 mph (298 km/h), wind gusts over 220 mph (355 km/h), and a central barometric pressure of 911 millibars (26.9 inHg).[28][29] The storm's central pressure bottomed out at 910 millibars (26.87 inHg) within a few hours, as Dorian reached its peak intensity during landfall.[30] Storm chaser Josh Morgerman observed a pressure of 913.4 mbar (26.97 inHg) in Marsh Harbour.[31] Hurricane Dorian's forward speed decreased around this time, slowing to a westward crawl of 5 mph (8.0 km/h).[30] At 02:00 UTC on September 2, Dorian made landfall on Grand Bahama near the same intensity, with the same sustained wind speed.[32] Afterward, Dorian's forward speed slowed to just 1 knot (1.2 mph; 1.9 km/h), as the Bermuda High that was steering the storm westward weakened. Later that day, the storm began to undergo an eyewall replacement cycle to the north of Grand Bahama; the Bermuda High to the northeast of Dorian also collapsed, causing Hurricane Dorian to stall just north of Grand Bahama.[33][34] Around the same time, the combination of the eyewall replacement cycle and upwelling of cold water caused Dorian to begin weakening, with Dorian dropping to Category 4 status at 06:00 UTC.[35] Due to the absence of steering currents, Hurricane Dorian stalled north of Grand Bahama for about a day.[36][37] Hurricane Dorian subsequently weakened to a Category 2 storm on September 3, before beginning to move northwestward at 15:00 UTC, parallel to the east coast of Florida, with Dorian's wind field expanding during this time.[37]

While moving northwestward, Dorian gradually reorganized. At 06:00 UTC on September 5, Dorian moved over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and completed its eyewall replacement cycle, reintensifying into a Category 3 hurricane off the coast of South Carolina.[38] However, several hours later, Dorian encountered high wind shear, causing the storm to weaken to a Category 2 hurricane,[39] and later to Category 1 intensity, early on September 6.[40] On September 6 at 12:35 UTC, Dorian made landfall in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, with 1-minute sustained winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 956 mb (28.2 inHg).[41] Afterward, Dorian began to transition into an extratropical cyclone as it quickly moved northeastward, completing its transition on September 7.[42] The storm subsequently restrengthened, due to baroclinic processes, generating Category 2 hurricane-equivalent winds.[43][44] Several hours later, at 7:05 p.m. AST on September 7 (23:05 UTC on September 7), Dorian made landfall on Sambro Creek, Nova Scotia, as a Category 1-equivalent extratropical storm,[45] before making another landfall on the northern part of Newfoundland several hours later.[46] By 11:00 p.m. AST on September 8 (03:00 UTC on September 9), Dorian had moved into the Labrador Sea, 375 miles off the coast, moving northeastward at 24 mph (39 km/h), with wind speeds of 60 mph (97 km/h), maintaining tropical storm-strength winds.[47] As Dorian no longer posed a threat to Atlantic Canada at that time, the NHC issued their final advisory on the storm.[48] On September 10, Dorian's extratropical remnant dissipated off the coast of southern Greenland.[49]

Other Languages
беларуская: Дорыян (ураган)
čeština: Hurikán Dorian
español: Huracán Dorian
Bahasa Indonesia: Badai Dorian
italiano: Uragano Dorian
Nederlands: Dorian (orkaan)
português: Furacão Dorian
română: Uraganul Dorian
Simple English: Hurricane Dorian
Tiếng Việt: Bão Dorian (2019)