Tropical Storm Dorian Forms in the Atlantic and Heads West

By Tom Yulsman | July 25, 2013 1:17 am

The Meteosat weather satellite spied Tropical Storm Dorian as it developed in the western Atlantic Ocean. (Credit: Eumetsat)

Say hi to Tropical Storm Dorian, the fourth named storm of the 2013 hurricane season. You can see it developing off the west coast of Africa in the animation above consisting of images from the European Meteosat weather satellite.

Dorian spawned from a trough of relatively low pressure called a tropical wave moving off Africa and out into the Atlantic. It turns out that almost 85 percent of major Atlantic hurricanes begin in this way, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But keep your hat on. Right now the National Hurricane Center isn’t saying anything about Dorian turning into a hurricane.

That said, the storm is producing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. And pushed by the trade winds, it is moving west-northwest across the Atlantic at about 20 miles per hour.

Here are the probabilities of tropical storm force wind speeds through Sunday, from the National Hurricane Center:

Image: National Hurricane Center

Starting on Sunday, the storm could be dumping heavy rain in parts of the Lesser Antilles. After that? In his WunderBlog at, meteorologist Jeff Masters says there’s a possibility that the storm could pose a threat further on:

In this image taken on July 24th by a GOES weather satellite, Tropical Storm Dorian is southwest of the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic . (Image: NOAA)

It currently appears that Dorian will be a potential threat to the Bahama Islands, Bermuda, and the U.S. East Coast next week. There will be a trough of low pressure capable of recurving Dorian out to sea before the storm reaches the Bahamas and U.S., but this trough is currently depicted as being fairly weak, reducing the chances of Dorian missing the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast.

It’s obviously way too soon to say with any confidence whether Dorian poses a threat to the Eastern Seaboard. But it also looks like we should keep an eye on him.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Remote Sensing, select, Top Posts, Weather


ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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