Observed Processes Underlying the Favorable Vortex Repositioning Early in the Development of Hurricane Dorian (2019)

George R. Alvey, Michael Fischer, Paul Reasor, Jonathan Zawislak, Robert Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dorian's evolution from a weak, disorganized tropical storm to a rapidly intensifying hurricane is documented through a unique multiplatform synthesis of NOAA's P-3 tail-Doppler radar, airborne in situ data, and Météo- France'sMartinique and Guadeloupe ground radar network. Dorian initially struggled to intensify with a misaligned vortex in moderate midtropospheric vertical wind shear that also allowed detrimental impacts from dry air near the inner core. Despite vertical wind shear eventually decreasing to less than 5 m s21 and an increasingly symmetric distribution of stratiform precipitation, the vortex maintained its misalignment with asymmetric convection for 12 h. Then, as the low-level circulation (LLC) approached St. Lucia, deep convection near the LLC center dissipated, the LLC broadened, and precipitation expanded radially outward from the center temporally coinciding with the diurnal cycle. Convection then developed farther downtilt within a more favorable, humid environment and deepened appreciably at least partially due to interaction withMartinique. A distinct repositioning of the LLC toward Martinique was induced by a spinup of a mesovortex into a small, compact LLC. It is hypothesized that this somewhat atypical reformation event and the repositioning of the vortex into a more favorable environment, farther from detrimental dry midtropospheric air, increased its favorability for the rapid intensification that subsequently ensued. Although the repositioning resulted in tilt reducing to less than the scale of the vortex itself, the preexisting broad mid- to upper-level cyclonic envelope remained intact with continued misalignment observed between the midlevel center and repositioned LLC even during the early stages of rapid intensification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-213
Number of pages21
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Aircraft observations
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Clouds
  • Convective clouds
  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Mesoscale processes
  • Mesoscale systems
  • Operational forecasting
  • Precipitation
  • Radars/Radar observations
  • Tropical cyclones
  • Vortices
  • Vorticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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