How does Hurricane Dorian compare to storms of the past?

Weather Wednesday

We’ve talked a lot about Hurricane Dorian for the last week. It went from a tropical storm barely hanging on, to a full-fledged Cat 5 hurricane in just a few days. From the damage in the Bahamas to the track of the storm itself, it’s drawn a lot of comparisons to storms of the recent past. 

First, the damage pictures we’ve all seen from Abaco in the Bahamas shows almost complete destruction of buildings and homes. Whether it was from wind or water, there’s not much left there. This is eerily familiar to the pictures we saw last year when Hurricane Michael battered the Florida Panhandle. Almost all the homes along Mexico beach were damaged or destroyed. There are still structures that remain in the state they were in after the storm blew through and there’s a good chance this is what will remain in the Bahamas.

The flooding from Hurricane Dorian was extensive on Grand Bahama Island. Dorian just sat over the island for almost 24 hours, dumping rain and bringing in massive amounts of storm surge. This is very reminiscent of what happened with Hurricane Harvey two years ago in Texas. The Texas Gulf Coast felt Harvey’s wrath for almost two days, with some places getting 50 plus inches of rain. Places were underwater for days. Pictures from NASA show a similar story on Grand Bahama with water covering up the island more than 2 miles from the beach. 

Then there’s the track. Right away, this storm looked similar to the track Hurricane Matthew took in 2016 as it left the Bahamas and skirted up the Florida coast. It was also forecast to make landfall in Florida and never did. Dorian looks to take a similar path as it runs parallel to the Florida and Georgia coasts and then possibly makes landfall somewhere in the Carolinas. 

When you look at Dorian in the catalog of Atlantic hurricanes, it stands with some notable company. This was tied with the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 as the strongest storm at landfall ever, with winds of 185 mph. It’s ahead of names like Wilma and Camille. Other names like Katrina, Michael, Andrew don’t even crack the list.

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