Tropical Storm Dorian Closes in on Puerto Rico in New Satellite Images

NOAA's GOES-East satellite spotted Tropical Storm Dorian over the Caribbean Sea on Aug. 27, 2019.
NOAA's GOES-East satellite spotted Tropical Storm Dorian over the Caribbean Sea on Aug. 27, 2019. (Image credit: NOAA)

Satellites are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Dorian as it approaches Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

The storm may strengthen to a hurricane before arriving, according to a forecast published this morning (Aug. 28) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC). NHC officials said the storm may strengthen again before continuing toward the Bahamas.

Meteorologists are particularly worried about the risk of flash floods due to rainfall accumulations of around 4 inches (10 centimeters) across the region, with some places seeing up to 10 inches (25 cm).

Related: Hurricane Florence in Photos: See the Massive Storm from Space

To get a better sense of what to expect from Tropical Storm Dorian, scientists are paying close attention to satellite views of the storm.

In particular, NOAA's GOES-East satellite and the joint NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite are gathering helpful data about the storm. On Aug. 26, for example, Suomi NPP images showed that the storm's shape had morphed from a more circular knot of clouds to one resembling a comma. 

The Suomi NPP satellite, run by NASA and NOAA, captured this image of Tropical Storm Dorian on Aug. 26, 2019.  (Image credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS))

According to NASA, that change signals that the storm has picked up some relatively dry air, reducing the number of thunderstorms that can form within it.

The NHC is tracking the storm and releasing regular updates; follow the center's website for more details on potential local threats and impacts. 

A second image taken by the Suomi NPP satellite shows Dorian in infrared light early in the morning of Aug. 27, 2019.  (Image credit: NASA/NOAA/UWM-SSEC-CIMSS/William Straka III)

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.