Dorian was a historic hurricane that changed communities forever, caused billions of dollars in damage, and reminded us of the raw power of tropical cyclones.
This powerful storm affected the Caribbean, to the Carolinas, and all the way to Canada.
Forming in the central Atlantic Ocean in August 2019, Dorian first made landfall in Barbados and St. Lucia as a tropical storm on the 27th. Dorian quickly strengthened to a category 1 hurricane, and made landfall in the U.S. Virgin Islands—over St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Moving northwest, Dorian entered favorable atmospheric conditions, allowing it to rapidly intensify to a major category 3 hurricane.
The storm continued to strengthen to a catastrophic category 5—with wind speeds up to 185 miles per hour. What happened next made Dorian uniquely destructive and dangerous. It became *nearly stationary* as it made landfall in the northern Bahamas—over the Abaco islands and Grand Bahama island on September 1st and 2nd.
The destruction was unprecedented—this was the country’s worst natural disaster. Ferocious winds battered the Bahamas while up to 25 feet of storm surge flooding inundated people’s homes. After the storm finally passed, the scenes were heartbreaking. Entire communities were destroyed and dozens lost their lives.
After weakening some, Dorian then grazed the east coast of the United States. Wind and waves battered Florida. Heavy rain soaked South Carolina and tornadoes tore through North Carolina. Dorian made landfall in Cape Hatteras on September 6th as a category 1 hurricane, bringing damaging wind gusts and record high storm surge to the Outer Banks.
Dorian accelerated up the east coast and eventually made landfall in Nova Scotia—damaging buildings throughout Atlantic Canada.
Hurricane Dorian presented many challenges for forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. Meteorologist Steve Glazier breaks down lessons they learned through the process.
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