Temporary weakening may occur before Tropical Storm Dorian hits Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands later Wednesday, but it could restrengthen shortly after.
The National Hurricane Center expects Dorian to intensify to a Category 2 hurricane off Florida’s coast Monday, with 100 mph sustained winds.
The center’s 8 a.m update holds with the shift reported at 5 a.m. that pushed the forecast track north, leaving the Florida Keys out of the cone of uncertainty, but areas from Miami to Savannah, Ga. remained in the potential path of the storm.
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Although the center of the cone points toward Flagler County, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast remain areas of possible landfall. There is about a 230-mile error in the track forecast at day 5.
While forecast models had Dorian on a consistent track Tuesday, NHC hurricane specialist John Cangialosi said in the Wednesday forecast that there is now considerable disagreement in each run and that “confidence in the long term track remains low.”
“In addition, users are reminded not to focus on the exact forecast points as the average 5-day track error is around 200 miles,” he said.
As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Dorian was 60 miles southeast of St. Croix with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Meteorologists from the National Hurricane Center say Dorian is expected to strengthen, nearing hurricane strength when it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later Wednesday.
In addition to Puerto Rico, a hurricane watch has been issued for Vieques, Culebra, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
On Wednesday morning, models showed Dorian becoming a hurricane in about two days, before it hits Florida. Models show it could be off the coast just south of Daytona Beach by Saturday night. Much of South Florida, however, is still in the cone of probability.
The threat of tropical storm or hurricane conditions, as well as storm surge, along parts of Florida’s east coast have increased, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Meteorologists continued to stress the uncertainty of the storm’s intensity.
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network.