Tropical storm Dorian is now forecast to track north of the Bahamas and intensify into a hurricane, before making landfall on the Florida coastline late on Sunday.
Update, Sep 6th: Hurricane Dorian has weakened slightly but remains a Category 1 hurricane and continues to lash the coast of the Carolinas as it heads northwards. Our latest here.
Tropical storm Dorian has caused meteorologists some challenges with its forecast, as the storm has to battle dry air to maintain its structure and reach warm seas to intensify into a hurricane.
The latest forecast from NOAA shows a scenario that will put the insurance, reinsurance, catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities (ILS) market on-watch, with a Florida landfall as hurricane Dorian now predicted, with intensity models pointing to a Category 2 or higher landfall around the Space Coast to Daytona Beach region of the state.
There remains considerable uncertainty in the tropical storm Dorian forecasts though, with some forecast model runs suggesting Dorian won’t achieve hurricane status for long, while others show a hurricane Dorian travelling further north and impacting the Carolina’s with a landfall.
In fact the spread in forecast models for tropical storm Dorian has widened, suggesting that insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests will need to wait for future model runs to appear for greater certainty in the forecast direction and intensity of any hurricane Dorian to emerge.
Below are the latest hurricane forecast model tracks for Dorian, from TropicalTidbits.com.
The pace at which Dorian travels over the warm sea surface temperatures (SST’s) on route towards Florida will have significant bearing in how intense it can become as a hurricane.
The SST’s remain more than adequate to intensify Dorian into a stronger hurricane, should conditions in terms of wind shear etc. remain conducive. So a higher Category hurricane Dorian landfall in Florida cannot be ruled out at this stage.
Intensity model forecasts have been edging a little higher, as some forecasts show increasing certainty in the direction of travel of Dorian and the fact the tropical storm may loop around the Bahamas, so avoiding greater land interaction.
Below is the latest intensity model output from TropicalTidbits.com
However, Puerto Rico remains in Dorian’s path and it will be the direction and forecast model runs produced after Dorian passes the island that may provide greater certainty on the storms eventual hurricane intensity and landfall location.
Still, with landfall not forecast until late Sunday local time at the earliest, there remains plenty of days for Dorian to deviate from its course (intensify as well), meaning a landfall elsewhere remains possible.
NOAA’s cone of uncertainty for Dorian shows possible landfall sites from southern Florida right up to South Carolina and some models forecast North Carolina landfalls as not out of the question yet.
But currently the consensus points to a hurricane Dorian landfall somewhere in Florida on Sunday evening.
In its latest update NOAA said, “The threat of tropical storm or hurricane conditions, along with storm surge, in the Bahamas and along portions of the Florida east coast have increased.”
Also noting that, “Uncertainty in the intensity forecast later this week remains higher than usual due to a large spread in model guidance.”
With uncertainty in the forecast high, this all suggests an uncomfortable day or two as greater certainty in the forecast for Dorian emerges, with the storm set to be closely watched in insurance, reinsurance and ILS circles, as well as by the state of Florida and its residents.
Update: It’s also worth noting at this time that tropical storm Dorian is growing, with storm force winds now extending roughly 60 miles from the centre, up from 45 miles earlier today.
NOAA’s latest on Dorian is below:
Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is expected today, and Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Although weakening is possible after Dorian moves across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the storm is forecast to
strengthen late this week and this weekend while passing near or to the east of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center. A wind gust to near 39 mph (63 km/h) was recently reported at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
An Air Force reconnaissance plane just reported an estimated minimum central pressure of 1003 mb (29.62 inches).
We will update you on tropical storm Dorian as it proceeds, should it look likely to achieve and sustain hurricane status and pose any threat to global insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests.
You can always visit our 2019 Atlantic hurricane season page for the latest.