From the Field

2019 Hurricane Dorian: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

The long saga of Hurricane Dorian ended with a bang on Sunday, Sept. 8, as the destructive storm made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people before dwindling and dissipating offshore.

After skirting the east coast of Florida and Georgia the storm impacted South Carolina and North Carolina, including areas that were badly affected by 2018’s Hurricane Florence. On Thursday, Sept. 5, Dorian spawned more than a dozen tornadoes in North Carolina. The slow-moving storm made landfall on North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras Friday morning, bringing heavy rain and high winds.

Dorian entered the eastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday, Aug. 27, triggering hurricane and tropical storm warnings for both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. The storm strengthened to a hurricane on Aug. 28 as it pounded the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico, still vulnerable two years after Hurricane Maria, received localized heavy rain and flooding, but no major damage. Over the Labor Day weekend, Hurricane Dorian stalled for 48 hours over the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, killing more than 40 people. Worst-affected areas, Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, received catastrophic damage.

Fast facts: What you need to know about Hurricane Dorian and the 2019 hurricane season

  • Dorian is the fourth named storm of the 2019 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
  • The low-pressure system that became Dorian formed on Aug. 23, strengthened to a tropical storm on Aug. 25, and became a hurricane on Aug. 28.
  • Near-normal tropical storm activity is predicted for the Atlantic Ocean in 2019, according to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • In an average season, there are 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, with about half of them being major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater.

Hurricane Dorian National Hurricane Center tracking map 9.5.2019

What’s the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane?

A tropical storm has wind speeds between 39 mph and 73 mph. A hurricane’s wind speeds range between 74 mph and 110 mph.

The different categories of hurricanes are also based on wind speed. Categories 1 and 2 have wind speeds of 74 to 95 mph and 96 to 110 mph respectively. Categories 3 and above produce even higher wind speeds and catastrophic damage. These are considered major hurricanes.

How can I help people affected by tropical storms and other disasters?

Pray: Please pray for people affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people affected by destructive winds and floods. Give them the assurance of Your presence and equip those who will provide relief and assistance after the storm passes.

Give: Your gift will help to provide relief to people affected by disasters in the U.S. like Hurricane Dorian.

How does World Vision help hurricane-stricken communities?

World Vision maintains a system of pre-positioning sites in the U.S. that allows us to dispatch emergency relief supplies quickly when a hurricane or other disaster strikes. Ahead of Hurricane Dorian, truckloads of relief supplies were shipped to partner organizations in Daytona Beach and Immokalee, Florida, to be ready for distribution to hard-hit areas.

During and after a crisis, we provide food, water, hygiene, and other basic relief items, including clean-up supplies and toys for children. Our goal is to support local churches in their outreach to families, not only in the short-run but also through the arduous process of rebuilding homes and lives.

On Wednesday night as Dorian approached the Carolina coast, Pastor Justin Barnett from Jackson Heights Original Free Will Baptist Church in Kinston, North Carolina, led a prayer meeting at the church.

“We’re praying that it won’t be bad on us this time, but we’ve got lots of volunteers ready to respond if needed,” he says.

Pastor Barnett says river flooding after last year’s Hurricane Florence cut off the southern part of Lenoir County from emergency services. He worries that could happen again if Dorian brings lots of rain.

“Each of these storms is different, but we’ve learned a lot from that experience,” he says. “World Vision’s help was a big blessing to us then.”

World Vision is currently responding to more than 50 disasters around the world. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and natural disasters are among them, also conflicts and refugee crises.

Learn more about cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes — how they form and how to prepare.

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