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
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
Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @danuscripts