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Tropical Storm Dorian could become hurricane as it nears Puerto Rico Thursday

The tropical storm is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday, though its effect on Florida remains uncertain.
The forecast cone for Tropical Storm Dorian as of 2 a.m. Monday shows it becoming a hurricane Thursday as it nears Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The cone represents probable paths of the storm, not its size. [National Hurricane Center]
Published Aug. 26
Updated Aug. 27

UPDATE: Tampa Bay is now inside Tropical Storm Dorian’s five-day forecast cone

Tropical Storm Dorian continues to strengthen as it approaches Barbados, but the National Hurricane Center now says it will become a hurricane later than initially forecast.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami put Dorian 260 miles southeast of Barbados, moving at about 14 mph. The storm is bringing 50 mph sustained winds with gusts to over 60 mph. It was initially expected to strengthen to a hurricane by Tuesday.

The Hurricane Center still expects that to happen, but pushed the prediction back to early Thursday, just as the storm reaches Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. Dorian is expected to weaken back to a tropical depression by Friday morning and continue to push west toward Florida this weekend, though how it will affect the state is unknown.

“We’re just telling people to keep an eye on it over the next five to seven days,” National Weather Service forecaster John McMichael said. “Right now it’s too far out to tell if it will survive its trek over the Caribbean.”

McMichael said most models have Dorian hitting the Dominican Republic as a category 1 hurricane by Thursday. Once it does, though, the storm will have to survive a mountainous land mass and plenty of wind sheer that could rip it apart. However, if it survives as it reaches the southeast Bahamas, the water temperatures are high enough to support development.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the islands of Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada, Martinique and Dominica are under tropical storm watches. Dorian is expected to enter the Caribbean Sea sometime on Tuesday.

Dorian formed into a tropical storm, the fourth of the season, on Saturday. It outpaced a low-pressure system that moved up the Florida coast over the weekend and is now almost 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The system’s center moved over southeast Florida but then pushed out into the Atlantic as it headed north. That system is still highly likely to form into a tropical cyclone within two days but should keep moving east into the Atlantic.

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael.

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind

Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @danuscripts

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 11 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    It is projected to pass north of Puerto Rico on Saturday and east of the southeastern Bahamas on Sunday.
  2. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 5 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    The system should stay well east of the United States, according to forecasters.
  3. Tropical Storm Jerry is expected to become reach hurricane status on Friday. National Hurricane Center
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  4. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
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  5. The tropical outlook on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2019. National Hurricane Center
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  6. Hurricane Humberto's projected path as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    It could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
  7. The forecast track for Hurricane Humberto, as of 5 a.m. Monday. National Hurricane Center
    The Category 1 hurricane is moving away from the southeastern United States and expected to approach Bermuda by Wednesday night.
  8. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  9. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.
  10. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    A north-northwest turn is expected by Sunday, just as the storm is projected to become a hurricane.
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