Question Your World →

Why Was Hurricane Dorian So Historic? 

Hurricane from space

Hurricane season lasts till November and recently we just saw Hurricane Dorian make its way through the Atlantic, causing much havoc and harm along the way. Climate scientists are especially taking a close look at this storm as it speaks to a great story about our relationship with our coastal areas. This storm broke some big records as it moved along its path, now we can look back and study the storm's impacts. Why was Hurricane Dorian so historic? 

While football season was kicking off, something else had grabbed the attention of all media last week. Hurricane Dorian. Hurricane Dorian was absolutely a historic storm, the strongest on record to happen east of Florida. Even as it decreased in intensity…it still traveled all the way up to Canada with 75 mile per hour winds. It also holds the record for fastest land-fall winds on record with winds reaching 185 mph…as it made landfall at the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. Some of the most devastating damage was done as it basically stalled out over the Bahamas, dumping 35 inches of rain while moving as slow as 1 mile per hour. 

Scientists are watching these storms closely as the warming ocean is one of the prime ingredients in making these extreme storms even more extreme. In 2008 a report was published in the journal Nature stating that there’s a 7% increase in maximum winds in the most intense storms for every degree or so that the ocean warms up. 

Dorian's destructive path speaks to a greater story here as scientists around the world agree that these extreme events require immediate action. These increasingly intense extreme storms are a great reason to begin the conversation about how and why we humans build along our coastal regions. Our existing infrastructure was not built to handle the impacts of these storms nor are they adequate for even more intense storms that many scientists forecast for the future as our oceans continue to rise and warm up.

Dorian is the seventh named tropical storm to happen this year, of which two have become full on hurricanes. Scientists encourage citizens to pay attention to these storms for the rest of this year’s Hurricane season through November.