Dorian's track is looking better and better for FL. Now if only it will curve east enough to miss the Carolinas too.
One of the scariest looking storms I've seen in the Enhanced Satellite view. At least it's still somewhat small in diameter...though I think that tends to make it stronger?
Experienced naval person, help me out.
Strong T/storms can be compact or huge in scope (diameter).
Strength can be judged by symmetry and density of the IR cloud top image around eye and outflow of the cirrus clouds from all around the top of the storm. A T/S is a huge heat engine powered by the warm tropical water. Water must be over 80F. As storm moves along it's path over ocean, the tropical force winds along the warm ocean surface gather heat and moisture, then are sucked into the eye core where air rises and gives up that energy & moisture, which powers the storm.
If the storm stalls (by upper level steering currents) it can weaken since it is not moving over a new batch warm water continuously. Also when T/S reaches far enough latitude in colder waters it can die or lose tropical characteristics (closed circulation) and morph into a regular (comma shaped) storm. Additionally, upper level wind shear can disrupt the outflow of the cool cirrus clouds around the outside of the storm. Another thing that can weaken the T/S is influx of dry air or desert (Saharan) dust. Passing over mountainous islands, such as Hispaniola, are guaranteed to knock a storm down. However, passing over FL is very flat, so has only a temporary weakening effect of storm due to warm water supply interrupted until it emerges in Gulf of Mexico.
Another weakening effect is ocean water up-welling. If another T/S has recently passed over same part of ocean, colder water from depth can inhibit 2nd storm strengthening.
In the case of Dorian, none of these weakening effects are present, except a previous T/S Evan last weak over Gulf Stream that dissipated once north of Cape Hatteras. The NHC explained that wind shear to the north of Dorian had weakened allow storm to turn sooner than first predicted. Later in September, strong fall cold fronts act as a wall and will pickup storm and turn to North just like an NFL defensive line does to a runner who must go around end of formation to make progress.
(For heaven sakes- What's LaDi going to do with all that stockpiled vodka??)