Hurricane Dorian crawled over the Bahamas at 1 mph, the latest in a trend of stalling tropical systems

Tracking the Tropics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- For more than 24 hours, Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, moving at 1 mph and then halting to a stop. While the storm has sped to a whopping 5 mph, scientists are noticing a trend in the speed of tropical systems.

According to a June study published by federal scientists at NASA and NOAA, more North Atlantic hurricanes have been stalling in the same way, leading to heavier rainfall.

The average speed of hurricanes has decreased by 17 percent—from 11.5 mph to 9.6 mph—from 1944 to 2017.

According to the study, these four hurricanes stalled near the coast:

  • Unnamed (1968)
  • Isidore (2002)
  • Harvey (2017)
  • Florence (2018)

While researchers don’t have one definitive reason for the increasing number of stalling tropical cyclones, the study does say that the amount of damage caused by a stalled storm is much more significant.

“Regardless of the cause, the significant increases in tropical cyclone stalling frequency and high potential for associated increases in rainfall have very likely exacerbated TC hazards for coastal populations,” the study said.

Many things move faster than Hurricane Dorian’s 1 mph crawl over the Bahamas.

People can walk at different speeds, but typically cross the street is about 3.1 mph. A mosquito is slow at just 1.2 mph, but was faster than Dorian as it dumped more than 30 inches of rain on Grand Bahama yesterday.

Elephants typically walk at about 4.5 mph, and even cockroaches can move as fast as 3.4 mph. Dorian only traveled Dorian has traveled only 30 miles in 30 hours.

According to Colorado State hurricane research, the hurricane traveled the second-shortest distance in 24 hours by a major hurricane, since modern records began in 1850.

The shortest on modern record is Hurricane Betsy in 1965, which traveled only 12 miles over the Atlantic.

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