By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provided an update as of 11PM EST last night (Sunday), that Dorian is expected to bring tropical storm conditions to portions of the Lesser Antilles, where storm watches and warnings are in effect.
As of 2AM EST Monday, Dorian’s center was located about 270 miles east-southeast of Barbados and 375 miles east-southeast of St. Lucia. Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph, with tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from the center of the storm.
Dorian was classified the fourth tropical storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season on Saturday. The NHC stresses that residents in these areas should refer to advice from local government officials and products from their local meteorological service for additional information.
Dorian is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rainfall across portions of the Lesser Antilles, with isolated amounts as high as six inches. Geologically, the Lesser Antilles island arc stretches from Grenada in the south to Anguilla in the north.
While it is too soon to determine the specific time or magnitude of possible direct impacts in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or Hispaniola interests in those areas should monitor the progress of Dorian.
“The center of Dorian is expected to pass close to Barbados Monday night or early Tuesday morning before the system crosses the Lesser Antilles and heads into the eastern Caribbean,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its NHC department have been following the growing number of such events for a long time. As far back as 2003, the NHC noted that ‘Since 1995 there has been an increase in the number of storms, and in particular the number of major hurricanes (category 3, 4, and 5) in the Atlantic’.
“El Nino typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity but now that it’s gone, we could see a busier season ahead,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., one of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center hurricane forecasters.
“This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above-normal activity this year,” added Bell in a press release in early August.
On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces twelve named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. NOAA’s forecast is for an overall seasonal activity, not a landfall forecast.
Landfalls are largely determined by short-term weather patterns, and only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline.