TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tropical Storm Dorian weakened some Monday night and has current sustained winds of 50 mph moving west-northwest at 13 mph. The current forecast track does bring Dorian close to the Florida peninsula as a tropical storm early Sunday.
Dorian is currently moving over the Lesser Antilles and remains a small storm with tropical storm-force winds (40+ mph) extending out to 45 miles from the center.
Dry air continues to surround the storm inhibiting rapid strengthening despite otherwise favorable environmental conditions like warm sea surface temps and low wind shear. However, slow strengthening is forecast until it reaches Hispaniola.
Dorian will turn northwest tonight and move through the Caribbean sea toward the Dominican Republic. The exact position of Dorian late Wednesday/early Thursday will be crucial to determine how much the storm will weaken as it moves near the mountainous island.
A more direct path over the Dominican Republic will weaken the storm while a path in between the Dominican and Puerto Rico will allow Dorian to remain stronger.
If the storm does not considerably weaken over the islands, Dorian could be stronger as it moves through the Bahamas, otherwise it would have to use the time it does move over the Bahamas to re-strengthen.
After Dorian emerges near the Bahamas, a ridge of high pressure will steer the storm more west, possibly toward Florida. Environmental conditions will be conducive for strengthening as it moves through the Bahamas. Currently, a strong tropical storm is forecast to be somewhere along the east coast of Florida by early Sunday morning.
The National Hurricane Center continues to express lower than normal confidence in the intensity forecast after it emerges north of the islands with slightly higher confidence in the forecast track, or the cone of uncertainty.
Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Amanda Holly and Ian Oliver will have an updated forecast on Tracking the Tropics coming up at 1:30 pm ET.
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