Could a Dorian get in the Gulf?
Hurricane Dorian goes down as the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Bahamas and ties the Labor Day 1935 storm as far as the strongest land-falling hurricane in the Atlantic Basin with 185 mph winds.
The 23' storm surge devastated Abaco Island and Grand Bahama and add 40" of rain on top of that. At least 70,000 have been left homeless. And, of course, this seemed to happen in slow motion as Dorian crawled through the Bahamas.
Could we have a Dorian in the Gulf of Mexico? Certainly -- after all, look at some of Dorian's "cousins" that we've dealt with already:
HURRICANE ALLEN in 1980 spun up to 190 mph winds just as it entered the Gulf of Mexico! Fortunately for Brownsville, the storm sucked in enough dry air to carve the land-falling wind gusts to below 130 mph. Still, a 12' storm surge and 10-20" of rain fell. Old-timers remember that horrible drought and heat wave of 1980. Allen ended that. So, the "Dorian" wind speeds have happened.
Dorian's 23' storm surge is easily tied with 1969's Hurricane Camille (22.8') which smacked in to Pass Christian, Mississippi. And in 2005, Katrina dealt a higher surge of 27.8' to the same exact spot.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Dorian underwent what is called Rapid Intensification. In just two days the storm went from a Cat 2 to a 185 mph Cat 5. Hurricane Michael just last year spun up to a 160 mph storm in just two days. So that box is easily checked. As for crawling along, without strong steering currents this often happens to storms. Hurricane Wilma, from 2005, spent 24 hours over the Yucatan Peninsula.
And Dorian's 40" of rain? We know how that can go.
Unfortunately, for the Bahamas, Dorian brought the worst of the worst in hurricanes: a slow-moving, rapidly intensifying land-falling storm with torrential rain, devastating surge and record wind speeds. Getting all of these characteristics in a single storm is, while rare, clearly possible.
If you have the chance, help the Bahamas!
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