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Factors playing a role in forecasting Hurricane Dorian's path

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Posted at 4:12 AM, Sep 02, 2019

(WPTV) — Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas as an incredibly powerful Category 5 storm Sunday.

The storm is expected to bring catastrophic wind speeds and storm surges to the Bahamas and eventually Florida's east coast in the next few days.

A big part of how much damage Dorian could wreak on the state has depended on a change in its direction, which multiple computer models are predicting.

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But part of the challenge in forecasting Dorian's path has been due to several developments in the storm as it travels west toward Florida.

Here are three key factors playing a role in the hurricane's progression:

Ridge of pressure: Dorian has been lead west thanks to a ridge of pressure to the north of the storm. But, an eastern ridge — coupled with that north ridge weakening, according to NOAA — is expected to push Dorian's path north. It's just not clear when that eastern ridge will form and how far west Dorian will make it.

Dorian may hug Florida's coast: Some computer models show Dorian coming dangerously close to Florida's east coast, before swinging north. The timing of the turn north will be critical in deciding how far west Dorian travels. Some models currently show Dorian remaining offshore from Florida, but still delivering heavy winds and storm surges to the coast.

Storm's eyewall is expanding: NOAA reports that Dorian has developed eyewall replacement cycles, or concentric eyewalls. Basically, a new eyewall decreases in diameter and replaces the old eyewall inside. This replacement can cause changes in Dorian's strength — up or down — as the storm nears Florida.

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