So, did Tropical Storm Dorian deliver any surprises as warned about in this column on Monday? Well, sort of.
Tuesday at 2:00pm the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami reported that the cyclone’s centre had reformed farther North, hence closer to the local area. This was followed by new tropical storm warnings for Vieques, Culebra and the US Virgin Islands at 5:00pm.
The disturbance’s distance dropped significantly from 285 miles South of St. Maarten at 11:00am to 194 miles at 5:00pm. Furthermore, the closest proximity at which it was projected to pass Southwest early Wednesday had also been reduced from 175 to 142 miles over those same six hours.
But while Dorian’s forecast track shifted north 30 to 60 miles, the expected West-Northwest motion continued, keeping it well away. In addition, the storm’s relatively small size with tropical storm force winds out only 45 miles from the centre meant the change in position hardly had any noticeable effect on the Northeastern Caribbean islands where this newspaper is published.
Nevertheless, it did confirm the point made earlier: that – despite all the technological advances – these weather systems to a certain extent remain unpredictable. One simply can’t assume that such forecasts will always be 100 per cent accurate. After all, what started out Sunday evening as an expected passage 207 miles to the Southwest at its nearest point has decreased to 142 miles.
This proves that one should avoid making assumptions and stay on guard by monitoring cyclones until they at least appear completely out of striking range. In that sense Dorian may be considered a valuable reminder.