After what has been a quiet start to hurricane season, a new tropical storm has formed in the main development region in the Atlantic Ocean. There are expected to be impacts to the Caribbeans, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm Dorian is expected to become a hurricane and is set to impact the Caribbean early this week.
Currently the National Hurricane Center believes that Dorian will slowly strengthen and become a hurricane on Wednesday after passing through the eastern most islands of the Caribbean on Monday night. This goes against most forecasted guidance as models are weakening the storm over the course of the next few days.
The HWRF model, which is notorious for over strengthening storms, weakens Dorian to a tropical depression before strengthening between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Once the storm leaves the Caribbean, models bring it into the Gulf of Mexico whilst others bring it close to the southeast United States.
There has been no true development in the Caribbean this year due to strong wind shear and dry air coming off the coast of Africa. Currently, Dorian’s biggest inhibitor to strengthening is dry air as well as moderate wind shear.
Dorian is currently seated in a pocket with limited dry air and wind shear, which should help with some strengthening today.
Currently, rough surf moderate winds and heavy rain is expected. Winds will not be too much of an issue at least for the eastern Caribbean as there is not a large window for rapid intensification. Some areas impacted can expect 2-3″ of rain which is enough to cause localized flooding in some areas.
Winds are expected to reach a maximum of 30-40mph near the core of the storm. However, that wind will churn up rough seas which will make swimming and boating dangerous.
In conclusion, although the NHC has the storm becoming a hurricane, I would stay skeptical. It is currently in favorable condition to strengthen, but that window will close very shortly and weakening will likely occur. However, keep an eye on this storm later this week as it exists the poor development area and comes closer to the United States where further strengthening is possible.