DON turned west. Will the next one turn north and northeast?

It’s too early to tell exactly where this new track will wind up. The atmosphere is fluid and flexible. The combination of steering currents and the location of the hurricane at various time intervals in the future is not a precise computation. That’s why various computer models are studied to solve this puzzle.

The first key to the model is pinpointing the exact position of the hurricane. A satellite picture shows the location of the eye, but the most precise center of rotation and lowest barometric pressure is determined with reconaissance by highly instrumented aircraft.

The second key is the position of weather systems in advance of the storm. Low pressure troughs generally attract or turn storm systems. They usually produce strong steering currents that accelerate a hurricane’s forward progress. High pressure ridges block or sometimes force a hurricane to change course. The location and extent of these systems is best described on the weather map, or satellite picture with these features superimposed.

By the end of this week, we will all turn our attention to what is expected to be named EMILY. Like many Atlantic hurricanes, it appears to be headed on a track towards Florida or the southeast U.S. The big question is will this one turn away and miss Florida like so many in the past have done?

Only one hurricane in the past 100 years has directly struck our coast from the Atlantic. That was Dora, a category 2 hurricane, in 1964. The closest call to a disaster since then was with category 4 hurricane Floyd in 1999. That one turned away only a few hours before reaching our coast.

You can count on me and WJXT to keep our eyes on this potential threat!



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