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Tracker: How Tropical Storm Dorian may alter Saturday’s FSU vs. Boise State game in Jacksonville

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Not this again.

NCAA FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl - West Virginia v Florida State Photo by Reid Compton/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Situation Resolved:

What a turn of events. The game will now be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, and the kickoff has been moved up to noon. It will air on ESPN News.


Florida State football’s 2019 season opener against the Boise State Broncos is mere days away— but you may not want to start counting down by hours just yet, because kickoff time could be getting changed, due to weather.

Tropical Storm Dorian is currently in the Caribbean but projected toward Florida’s east coast, and specifically Jacksonville and TIAA Bank Field. The powers that be are keeping an eye on the situation. Said FSU Athletic Director David Coburn in an interview with the Idaho Statesman: “We are monitoring weather projections for the potential storm, as are the officials in Jacksonville, at Boise State, and at ESPN and the ACC. It is too soon to make any decisions, but when they are made, the safety of the student-athletes and the fans attending the game will, as always, be the top priority.”

Both the Seminoles and Broncos have recent history with weather affecting games. Boise State’s last contest, the First Responder Bowl against Boston College in December, was canceled during the first quarter. And in 2017, the ’Noles wound up with a three-week break after opening against Alabama, because of Hurricane Irma slamming into the panhandle.

But we’ve got some real weather geeks here at TN, so we’re gonna keep you updated on the latest regarding Dorian, its path, and strength— and, of course, whatever we hear about Saturday’s game, kickoff for which, at this point, would probably be moved up, if anything.


Tuesday 8:30 pm Update from Juan Montalvo III:

At the time of first publishing, the meteorological models available are the following: the 18z GFS and the 12z ECMWF (Euro). These are model runs as of August 27 at 2 pm EST for GFS, and 8 AM EST for Euro. These two models are considered to be the gold standard of models for meteorological forecasting, particularly with regards to windstorms.

I am not a professional meteorologist, but I am a semi-professional race car driver and an amateur tattoo artist.

Here is the GFS model run at 114 hours from time of model run - noon on Sunday:

Tropical Tidbits

GFS shows center of storm due east of Daytona, Sunday at noon.

Here is the Euro model run at 120 hours from time of model run - also noon on Sunday:

Tropical Tidbits

Euro model predicts a landfall sometime on Sunday afternoon/evening between Titusville and Melbourne.

The windfield of 34 knots or more is predicted to extend approximately 40 nautical miles northwest from the center of the storm.

As the model runs above show, this means areas on the east coast of Florida from Melborne to Jacksonville will potentially be experiencing sustained tropical storm force winds beginning early to mid day Sunday.

Any fans traveling south from Saturday’s game on Sunday along the coast will likely face gusty winds and tropical downpours at a minimum. Please factor this into your travel timelines and plans.

I am in no position to make professional recommendations to others regarding weather and their choices as to their attendance and/or when to leave the Jacksonville area. I do not plan to predict any significant level of intensity or precise landfall time/location. There is a significant amount of uncertainty around the intensity forecast, largely due to the potential interaction with land (Hispaniola), and the outcomes could range from the storm completely falling apart to a category 2/3 hurricane.

All of this being said, it would behoove anyone to avoid areas where Dorian is likely to have an impact. Please take the utmost care and caution in your plans, and be mindful that windstorms are fluidly changing tropical systems that can move at a moment’s notice.

Stay safe, everyone— and stay tuned! We’ll continue to update this piece.


Wednesday 9:30 am Update from Juan Montalvo III:

Well, overnight Dorian missed Hispaniola and its 10,000 feet mountains. This is quite unfortunate, because this would have helped destabilize the storm. Instead, Dorian looks to intensify.

Intensity models now have Dorian with a low barometric pressure in the mid 960’s to low 980’s. This would mean a category one or two hurricane.

With the northerly jog overnight, the models show even more possibilities for Dorian to make landfall in a wider range of areas. As noted in previous updates, prior model runs showed likely landfall from Melbourne north.

Currently, the most recent 00z Euro model run shows landfall in the Space Coast area of Florida Sunday afternoon/evening with pressure in 980’s:

Tropical Tidbits

GFS is widely divergent from this, with Dorian barely grazing the First Coast area and landing overnight Tuesday/Wednesday in South Carolina:

Tropical Tidbits

Because of the jog, there is a chance Dorian could run into blocking pressure that could keep it from making landfall along Florida’s coast. This is what GFS says.

However, and concerning from the perspective of FSU football, Euro runs currently show the storm crossing Florida, then turning north through the Big Bend area on Wednesday. This could impact the ULM game.

Hurricane tracking is inherently difficult to predict. Dorian looked like it was most likely to be affected by the Hispaniola mountains, but it side stepped them like Peter Warrick.

Dorian now appears to be a significant possibility to be a hurricane that could land in Florida.

Stay safe.


Wednesday 2:30 pm Update from Juan Montalvo III:

We will most likely not be seeing FSU play Boise State on Saturday. Not at 7 PM, not at noon. Not in Tallahassee, not in Jacksonville. Not in 2019.

Dorian is officially Hurricane Dorian, and is projected to be a category 3 major hurricane on landfall. While we are still nearly 100+ hours until landfall and a lot could happen, it is safe to say there is a major hurricane with a significant chance of impacting the east coast of Florida.

And roads need to be clear for evacuation. A football game in Jacksonville at the crossroads of I-10 and I-95, regardless of it it was at noon or 7 PM, would cause unnecessary traffic within 24 hours of the landfall of a major hurricane.

I will not be posting models with this update. Suffice it to say, Dorian is projected by all 3 major models (GFS, Euro and UKMET) to be a major hurricane on landfall, somewhere between Melbourne and Daytona.

Expect the game to be cancelled, and stay safe.


Wednesday 8:00 pm Update from Juan Montalvo III:

POSITIVE NEWS! Well, for football fans who don’t live in South Florida.

The storm has slowed, potentially opening a window for FSU football to be played.

FSU released an official statement:

According to sources, Tomahawk Nation has learned multiple options are the table.

It seems that many public officials this afternoon were leaning cancel, but recent developments may have changed this sentiment. A noon kickoff is possible. If the storm continues to slow overnight, an originally scheduled kick is possible.

Employees essential to Doak Campbell Stadium operations have been notified they may be needed. Nothing is certain at this time, including the path of Dorian itself.

If you live in South Florida, it’s time to begin watching with more care. UKMET and Euro both show tracks that would push Dorian towards Lake Okeechobee or even further south.

The panhandle needs to begin to monitor more carefully as well. Tracking is showing a potential for Dorian to dwell in the gulf prior to a turn north to the panhandle.

Sooooo, everybody in Florida should pay attention.


Thursday 8:30 am Update from Juan Montalvo III:

Good and bad news.

GFS is all over the place – 00z update showed a Carolina landfall with a Jax graze, then the 06z showed Orlando. This is what’s driving the NHC uncertainty and the cone size.

As I noted above, TS winds Sunday mean that Saturday Is likely to be considered last safe date of travel. That could impact the game. Even if these NHC models are premature, they are what influencers will be looking at as they make decisions.

Euro and UK models look ugly for south Florida. Intensity projections of Cat 3 per most 00z Euro model run, with landfall in the Palm Beach or Martin county areas.

Ironically, the updating models are really good for the game being playable at noon in terms of what will actually happen, but bad in that the uncertainty will leave too much “float” and make cancellation all the more likely.

I’m back to cancel watch.