Dorian, weaker and disorganized, continues on westward track

07/26/2013 1:00 PM

07/27/2013 1:16 PM

Tropical Storm Dorian turned ragged and slightly weaker Friday as it continued to race across the Atlantic Ocean.

With the storm still a week and some 2,000 miles away from Miami, it was too early to tell what, if any, risk the storm might pose for South Florida. It might not even hold together.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,’’ said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County. “As far as South Florida is concerned, there is no immediate threat.’’

But whether it remains a storm or dissolves into a wet mess of storms, Dorian appears likely to bring heavy rains to the northern Leeward Islands as early as Monday, with Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba also likely to feel the effects later in the week.

Forecasters said the small storm, sucking in dry air and encountering wind shear, remained disorganized. Its maximum winds dropped to 50 mph and it continued on a generally westward track, churning along at 21 mph.

Despite Dorian’s troubles, the hurricane center still forecasts it to remain a weak tropical storm as it skirts just north of the Caribbean islands, then potentially grow a bit stronger as it approaches Cuba and the southern Bahamas by Wednesday. The hurricane center gives Dorian only a small chance of developing into a hurricane over the next five days.

With the storm so far out, the track and intensity projects could change a lot over the next few days. Dorian could even weaken for a few days and then regenerate as its remnants move into a more hospitable atmosphere.

“There is a chance, a significant chance, that this could open into a wave,’’ said Feltgen. But he cautioned against writing off the struggling system too soon. “We’ve had occasions where waves come back big time.’’

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