PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chances are Increasing that Tropical Storm Dorian Will Affect Parts of Florida This Weekend

UPDATE at 11AM: No significant changes with the most recent NHC update on Dorian. It likely wont be until Thursday before a credible call can be made on specific impacts to Florida.

Latest forecast data suggests there is an increasing chance that Tropical Storm Dorian will affect parts of Florida this weekend. However, the location, timing and extent of those impacts can not be credibly projected at this time.

Tropical Storm Dorian was moving through the Windward Islands Tuesday morning, and as of the 5 am advisory from the National Hurricane Center, was producing winds up to 50 mph. A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Puerto Rico and the eastern third of the Dominican Republic. 

Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it moves close to Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola Wednesday. Thereafter, forecasters have expressed “considerable uncertainty” on the track and strength of the season’s fourth tropical storm. Potential interactions with land, and the extent to which Dorian’s structure may be affected, are difficult to ascertain with any confidence at this point.

The average forecast track error of a forecast 48 hours into the future is around 60 nautical miles (either side of the line), based on data published by the National Hurricane Center since 1970. The produces a diameter of uncertainty larger than Puerto Rico is wide (west to east), which is about 110 miles. This “cone of uncertainty”, as it is often called, is nearly 400 miles wide at the time Dorian could make landfall in Florida, or roughly the distance from Miami to Jacksonville.

Due to the expressed high levels of uncertainty in Tropical Storm Dorian’s forecast, all residents of Florida have been encouraged by the National Weather Service to monitor the progress of the storm, stay informed, and ensure their hurricane plan is in place. 

Jeff Huffman is Chief Meteorologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In addition to his full-time position at the university's radio and television stations, WUFT-FM/TV and WRUF-TV, the latter of which he co-founded, Huffman also provides weather coverage to public radio stations throughout Florida