Dorian makes history

Dorian now has the strongest winds for a hurricane this far north (26.5°N) in the Atlantic east of Florida on record. This is a record we don’t like seeing broken, but that’s just what has now happened.

Many of us can’t recall ever seeing a hurricane with so much lightning in the eyewall. It’s unusual, to say the least, but Dorian is anything but normal.

If Dorian were weaker, I’d say this burst in lightning activity is a sign of strengthening. Let’s hope that’s not the case. Lightning activity in hurricanes is not common, as there is not enough ice crystals to generate a charge difference between liquid water (negative charge) and ice crystals (positively charged). Hurricanes are very warm throughout (relatively speaking).

In the image below, notice the bursts of lightning strikes all around the eyewall. Odd, indeed. Even when we do see bursts of lightning in hurricanes, it’s most often confined to the northwest quadrant, not all around the eyewall.


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