Residents in Pinellas County and Tampa Bay might want to keep a closer eye on the weather through at least Labor Day as Tropical Storm Dorian is likely to have an effect on holiday plans.
As of Tuesday morning, Pinellas County and the majority of Florida was in the latest forecast cone issued by the National Hurricane Center. If the latest forecast track holds true, Dorian would be off the east coast of Florida between West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie at 2 a.m. Sunday. But that’s five days out, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in that forecast
NHC says not to focus on the details of the extended track forecast, as the average five-day track error is around 200 miles. However, wind and rain impacts are possible in the Bahamas and Florida later this week and this weekend. Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of Dorian and ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.
The Tuesday morning forecast does not include Dorian strengthening into a hurricane. The intensity forecast calls for the storm to have maximum sustained winds of 70 mph within 36 hours, which is 4 mph shy of being considered a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.
As of 8 a.m. Aug. 27, Dorian was located about 25 miles west northwest of St. Lucia. Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph with higher gusts. Movement was west-northwest at 13 mph.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Samana. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Puerto Rico. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, Grenada and its dependencies, Saba and St. Eustatius, Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Punta Palenque and Dominican Republic from Samana to Puerto Plata.
NHC says on the current forecast track, the center of the storm will move across the eastern and northeastern Caribbean Sea during the next few days, passing near or south of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, move near or over east Hispaniola Wednesday night and move north of Hispaniola on Thursday.
The future intensity forecast remains uncertain, as it is dependent on the amount of land interaction there is with the mountainous parts of Hispaniola on Wednesday.
Residents are reminded that now is the time to make preparations just in case tropical weather should affect the area. For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/resident/disasters.htm.