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UPDATE: Devastating CAT5 Hurricane Dorian grinds over the northern Bahamas, begins slow northward turn

Hurricane Dorian, still a powerful Category 5 hurricane, tracked extremely slowly across the eastern half of the Great Bahama island, before grinding to a virtual standstill and beginning a very slow turn towards the north.

CAT5 Hurricane Dorian in local morning light, revealing exceptionally symmetric structure with a large central dense overcast and impressive eye. September 2, 11:47 UTC. Image: GOES-16 / Tropical Tidbits.

Peak sustained wind speed has dropped somewhat from yesterday’s peak of 185 mph (298 km/h) to 165 mph (265 km/h), still well withing Category 5. Any slight respite the minor drop in wind speed brought was offset by the exceedingly slow motion of the system, tracking westwards at virtually a snail’s pace, before coming to a standstill by mid-morning (UTC) and beginning to very slowly shift northward by late morning (UTC). Many locations were exposed to devastating winds and storm surge under the eyewall for many hours.

The eye of Dorian has become small, elliptical and wobbling. It is likely an ERC (Eyewall Replacement Cycle) is imminent. Should it happen, then the tight, unstable eye will collapse and a new, wider eye will replace it. Correspondingly, peak sustained wind speed will drop in the new, wider eyewall.

NOTE: Forecast models do not have ERC simulated in its calculations, so as the hurricane wobbles, it may eventually drift off the forecast track. For this reason, an even more westward turn / track is not out of the question yet, which would put Florida back into significant danger!

Further slight weakening is expected with Dorian remaining a category 5 or a high-end category 4 hurricane. This is particularly true if or when an ERC takes place. Even so, Dorian will still be an extremely dangerous system! A NHC-issued hurricane warning is in effect for much of the Bahamas and eastern Florida coast between approximately Boca Raton and Titusville.

The expected northward pivot in the hurricane’s track is now underway. Most forecast tracks are still placing Dorian approximately 50-100 km offshore, with some indicating a closer approach and possibly landfall along the central part of the eastern coast of Florida in the next 24 to 48 hours. It is thus increasingly likely Dorian will remain over the sea, affecting the eastern coast of Florida with tropical storm to hurricane force winds and torrential rainfall.

Hurricane Dorian model track guidance as of 06h UTC, September 2nd. Maps: / Tropical Tidbits.

Stay tuned for further updates – is an ERC imminent, where will the Dorian track in the next 24h!