Dangerous Tropical Storm Irene headed for the Dominican Republic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on August 21, 2011

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Tropical Storm Irene roared into life last night, transitioning from a tropical wave to a 50 mph tropical storm in just a few short hours. Irene is getting organized quickly, and has the potential to become a hurricane by Monday morning. All interests in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida should prepare for the arrival of this dangerous storm. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm found the strongest winds near 18°N latitude to the north of Irene's center at 8am this morning. After passing through the center, the plane returned to the area of strongest winds two hours later, and found that flight level winds at 5,000 feet had increased by about 5 - 8 mph. However, the pressure in the latest center fix taken at 10am EDT remained the same as two hours previously, 1007 mb, and the plane noted that Irene's center was not circular, signs that the storm still has some work to do before serious intensification can begin. Visible satellite loops and radar out of Martinique show the storm has rapidly organized this morning, with well-developed spiral bands forming and a large area of intense thunderstorms to the north of the center. Irene has shrugged off the dry air that was bothering it yesterday, and wind shear has fallen to the low range, 5 - 10 knots, as analyzed by the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group. Torrential rains and strong gusty winds are affecting the northern Lesser Antilles this morning. A wind gust of 41 mph was recorded at St. Eustatius at 8am local time.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Irene.

Track forecast for Irene
The computer models are in agreement that Irene will pass just south of Puerto Rico tonight, then hit the south coast of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic or Haiti on Monday afternoon. Irene should then emerge into the channel between Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday afternoon, when the storm will have 12 or so hours over water before having to contend with Cuba. A trough of low pressure is expected to move across the Eastern U.S. on Wednesday and Thursday, turning Irene to the northwest and north by Thursday. The timing and strength of this trough varies considerably from model to model, and will be critical in determining where and when Irene will turn to the north. Irene's strength will also matter--a stronger Irene is more likely to turn northward earlier. The most likely path for Irene is a track just east of the Florida Peninsula and into Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina by next weekend, but a landfall near Miami then directly up the Florida Peninsula is also a reasonable solution--like Tropical Storm Fay of 2008 did. Fay formed just off the coast of Puerto Rico, and was never quite able to get organized enough to become a hurricane, due to passage over Hispaniola and Cuba. Fay topped out as a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds, and did over $500 million in damage in the U.S., mostly due to flooding rains in Florida that accumulated to over 25 inches in a few areas. Fay also dumped heavy rains on Hispaniola, triggering flooding that claimed eight lives.


Figure 2. Track of Tropical Storm Fay of 2008.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Irene is embedded in a large envelope of moisture now, and wind shear will remain low, 5 - 10 knots, for the next five days. With water temperatures very warm, 28 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification except when land is interfering. Irene's current appearance on satellite loops gives me the impression of a storm that is not fooling around, and I expect Irene will be a hurricane before hitting Hispaniola on Monday. Passage over Hispaniola will not destroy Irene, since it is a fairly large storm. Once the storm finishes with Hispaniola, it will have to deal with Cuba, which will keep Irene from intensifying significantly. Once Irene pops off the coast of Cuba Wednesday or Thursday into the Florida Straits, Irene will likely be a tropical storm. If the storm then has at least a day over water before hitting land, it will likely become a hurricane again, and could become a major hurricane if it ends up missing South Florida and moving over the warm waters on either side of the Florida Peninsula.

Harvey hits Belize
Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall at 2pm EDT on Saturday near Dangriga Town, Belize, as a tropical storm with 60 mph winds. Harvey continues to dump very heavy rains on southern Mexico, but dissipation is expected tonight as the storm pushes inland. Harvey was a small storm, and the strongest winds were confined to a short stretch of coast near where the center came ashore. Winds at Belize City, Belize on Saturday topped out at 15 mph.


Figure 3. Radar image of Harvey taken at 11:30am EDT on Saturday, August 20, 2011, a few hours before landfall in Belize. A small closed eye is visible just south of the offshore islands of Belize. Image credit: Belize National Meteorological Service.

Invest 98L northwest of the Cape Verde Islands
A tropical wave few hundred miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, Invest 98L, has become disorganized and lost most of its heavy thunderstorms. The disturbance is moving over colder waters and encountering drier air, and NHC is giving 98L only a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Tuesday. The latest set of model runs keep 98L well out to sea away from any land areas over the next five days.

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Long-range radar out of Puerto Rico

Jeff Masters

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Quoting USAFwxguy:
Guys the thing you see like directly east of St Croix isn't the "eye"... the CoC is located ese of St Croix along 17.5N, and headed west (map west) set to pass to the south of St Croix


Definitely not true.
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I have the center at 17.5N/64.5W moving due west for the last few hours.Will be interesting to see where the NHC has it at 4 pm cst.
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2421. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting P451:



Yeah, not west.. not this morning, not this afternoon, not now.

It's been WNW all day long.

Going right for PR. St Croix is getting close.

(floater repositions itself mid-loop accounting for a jerk in the motion)

across the ne coast from se to nw then along n shore just offshore up the spine of bahamas she goes said this morning and this late afternoon after midnight get ready for the show
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Quoting violet312s:


We have awesome mets here on WRAL. They are already talking about it. Fran was this area's wake-up call.
We can only hope for the best if Irene comes to the area.
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Shhhh....don't tell Irene that....I live there....
She's still looking.I herd that she wants to visit all of the southeast.But she said other storm in the future will send her photos if they visit.
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2419. rv1pop
Quoting Grandpato4:


I cannot find any information on this model. Is it new or experimental? Can you post a link?
troll
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2417. Dakster
xcool is that the eye wall closing off in the radar image?
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Quoting caneswatch:


And you've said this how many times this year?

Poof.
Ditto and the "poof" gets bigger..
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Quoting BahaHurican:
F5... F5... F5... F5...



There is a lot of info for them to take into account I'd expect the update to come very close to 5pm. I'd say start F5ing in 25 mins.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
324

WHXX01 KWBC 211815

CHGHUR

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

1815 UTC SUN AUG 21 2011



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



TROPICAL CYCLONE IRENE (AL092011) 20110821 1800 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

110821 1800 110822 0600 110822 1800 110823 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 17.5N 63.7W 18.4N 66.8W 19.2N 69.7W 19.7N 72.1W

BAMD 17.5N 63.7W 18.2N 66.2W 18.9N 68.4W 19.5N 70.3W

BAMM 17.5N 63.7W 18.1N 66.4W 18.7N 68.8W 19.2N 70.7W

LBAR 17.5N 63.7W 18.5N 66.3W 19.2N 68.9W 19.8N 71.3W

SHIP 45KTS 52KTS 60KTS 69KTS

DSHP 45KTS 45KTS 45KTS 35KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

110823 1800 110824 1800 110825 1800 110826 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 20.1N 74.1W 20.6N 76.4W 24.5N 76.6W 30.9N 77.7W

BAMD 20.2N 71.8W 22.3N 74.6W 26.6N 77.5W 31.0N 79.7W

BAMM 19.8N 72.2W 21.6N 74.7W 25.9N 77.0W 30.8N 78.9W

LBAR 20.6N 73.7W 23.1N 77.8W 27.7N 80.2W 32.5N 81.5W

SHIP 77KTS 86KTS 95KTS 100KTS

DSHP 43KTS 52KTS 62KTS 36KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 17.5N LONCUR = 63.7W DIRCUR = 295DEG SPDCUR = 16KT

LATM12 = 16.0N LONM12 = 60.4W DIRM12 = 299DEG SPDM12 = 19KT

LATM24 = 14.6N LONM24 = 57.0W

WNDCUR = 45KT RMAXWD = 50NM WNDM12 = 45KT

CENPRS = 999MB OUTPRS = 1010MB OUTRAD = 175NM SDEPTH = M

RD34NE = 130NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 70NM



$$

NNNN





100 kts.....
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think Irene just closed off its eyewall.



sure looks like it
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115248
Quoting Grandpato4:
I am starting to wonder if I'd rather lose my home is SE Florida or my NC beach home.


Hopefully, you will lose neither one. But there's always insurance.
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Quoting weatherman566:


I disagree with that statement. Emily was different. Emily was a much smaller storm, and models such as GFS and ECMWF had a difficult time picking her out. Irene is a large system that the models have seen for days. The models will be more precise with Irene.


IRENE IS NOT EMILY....

Did Emily ever look this impressive on radar/satellite, or track WNW toward PR like Emily....?
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Quoting MississippiWx:
The center of Irene is just consolidating and that can give the illusion of a different motion. It's still basically on a WNW heading. If you watch the center, it still goes on the same heading the whole radar loop.





I agree, definitely moving at around 285/290 degrees to my eyes.
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2408. Gorty
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Whoa...what weatherman said that?

This is getting very serious....no joke anymore....


How serious is this getting? Especially if she doesn't weaken much from crossing the islands?
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2407. xcool
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Quoting Grandpato4:


My daughter lived in Raleigh for Fran. Her house was demolished after 4 large trees crushed it. They survived in a hallway and that was really the only part of the house not severely damaged.


I live in Cary. They have had hurricane issues in Wake CO. Most problems were due lots of big trees falling in high winds: roads were closed, many houses damaged, and loss of power for up to 2 weeks in the past. So, even though we're not right by the ocean, we can be affected by a hurricane.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
324

WHXX01 KWBC 211815

CHGHUR

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

1815 UTC SUN AUG 21 2011



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



TROPICAL CYCLONE IRENE (AL092011) 20110821 1800 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

110821 1800 110822 0600 110822 1800 110823 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 17.5N 63.7W 18.4N 66.8W 19.2N 69.7W 19.7N 72.1W

BAMD 17.5N 63.7W 18.2N 66.2W 18.9N 68.4W 19.5N 70.3W

BAMM 17.5N 63.7W 18.1N 66.4W 18.7N 68.8W 19.2N 70.7W

LBAR 17.5N 63.7W 18.5N 66.3W 19.2N 68.9W 19.8N 71.3W

SHIP 45KTS 52KTS 60KTS 69KTS

DSHP 45KTS 45KTS 45KTS 35KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

110823 1800 110824 1800 110825 1800 110826 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 20.1N 74.1W 20.6N 76.4W 24.5N 76.6W 30.9N 77.7W

BAMD 20.2N 71.8W 22.3N 74.6W 26.6N 77.5W 31.0N 79.7W

BAMM 19.8N 72.2W 21.6N 74.7W 25.9N 77.0W 30.8N 78.9W

LBAR 20.6N 73.7W 23.1N 77.8W 27.7N 80.2W 32.5N 81.5W

SHIP 77KTS 86KTS 95KTS 100KTS

DSHP 43KTS 52KTS 62KTS 36KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 17.5N LONCUR = 63.7W DIRCUR = 295DEG SPDCUR = 16KT

LATM12 = 16.0N LONM12 = 60.4W DIRM12 = 299DEG SPDM12 = 19KT

LATM24 = 14.6N LONM24 = 57.0W

WNDCUR = 45KT RMAXWD = 50NM WNDM12 = 45KT

CENPRS = 999MB OUTPRS = 1010MB OUTRAD = 175NM SDEPTH = M

RD34NE = 130NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 70NM



$$

NNNN




That's the first time that SHIPS has shown real intensification. Slightly alarming.
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Quoting violet312s:


I really don't want to hear that. I only moved to Raleigh-Durham in 1999 so wasn't here for that. Heard it was super scary


Whoa...what weatherman said that?

This is getting very serious....no joke anymore....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The center of Irene is just consolidating and that can give the illusion of a different motion. It's still basically on a WNW heading. If you watch the center, it still goes on the same heading the whole radar loop.



Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
Quoting Seflhurricane:
guys remember that alot of the models were incorrect with TS Emily so do not rely on the models too much


I disagree with that statement. Emily was different. Emily was a much smaller storm, and models such as GFS and ECMWF had a difficult time picking her out. Irene is a large system that the models have seen for days. The models will be more precise with Irene.
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F5... F5... F5... F5...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
Irene on radar looks like it has pimples or dimples whichever way you look at it LOL!
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2398. SeALWx
Quoting zparkie:
The models will jump all around, because the storm doesnt go in a straight line, spin a top on the ground and see what is does, it spins alittle to the right the models go to the right, it spins alittle to the left, the models go to the left, every four hours they take the average and determine track
There are very specific rules that define the precession and nutation of a spinning mass, like a top.
The atmosphere is many orders of magnitude more complex and the NHC track is MUCH more than an "AVERAGE" of the model outputs.
Don't dumb things down to the point of being simply wrong.
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Quoting Grandpato4:


My daughter lived in Raleigh for Fran. Her house was demolished after 4 large trees crushed it. They survived in a hallway and that was really the only part of the house not severely damaged.


Lets hope for the best and that Irene doesn't repeat that...I was in Raleigh too during Fran...trees down everywhere but our house was luckiest in the neighborhood....Raleigh has so many trees....
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I have relitives in that part of N.C.I hope they've been paying attention to the local new stations.


We have awesome mets here on WRAL. They are already talking about it. Fran was this area's wake-up call.
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2393. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
324

WHXX01 KWBC 211815

CHGHUR

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

1815 UTC SUN AUG 21 2011



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



TROPICAL CYCLONE IRENE (AL092011) 20110821 1800 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

110821 1800 110822 0600 110822 1800 110823 0600



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 17.5N 63.7W 18.4N 66.8W 19.2N 69.7W 19.7N 72.1W

BAMD 17.5N 63.7W 18.2N 66.2W 18.9N 68.4W 19.5N 70.3W

BAMM 17.5N 63.7W 18.1N 66.4W 18.7N 68.8W 19.2N 70.7W

LBAR 17.5N 63.7W 18.5N 66.3W 19.2N 68.9W 19.8N 71.3W

SHIP 45KTS 52KTS 60KTS 69KTS

DSHP 45KTS 45KTS 45KTS 35KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

110823 1800 110824 1800 110825 1800 110826 1800



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 20.1N 74.1W 20.6N 76.4W 24.5N 76.6W 30.9N 77.7W

BAMD 20.2N 71.8W 22.3N 74.6W 26.6N 77.5W 31.0N 79.7W

BAMM 19.8N 72.2W 21.6N 74.7W 25.9N 77.0W 30.8N 78.9W

LBAR 20.6N 73.7W 23.1N 77.8W 27.7N 80.2W 32.5N 81.5W

SHIP 77KTS 86KTS 95KTS 100KTS

DSHP 43KTS 52KTS 62KTS 36KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 17.5N LONCUR = 63.7W DIRCUR = 295DEG SPDCUR = 16KT

LATM12 = 16.0N LONM12 = 60.4W DIRM12 = 299DEG SPDM12 = 19KT

LATM24 = 14.6N LONM24 = 57.0W

WNDCUR = 45KT RMAXWD = 50NM WNDM12 = 45KT

CENPRS = 999MB OUTPRS = 1010MB OUTRAD = 175NM SDEPTH = M

RD34NE = 130NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 70NM



$$

NNNN


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Quoting lucreto:


No I am saying if they designate this particular system as a hurricane it will almost certainly be an error because I do not see how this system has the potential to strengthen into a hurricane.


And you've said this how many times this year?

Poof.
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2390. FDNYR
Let's try this again..... not too computer literate..... "blue collar worker"
http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/model/disp layMod.php?var=gfs_850_wnd&loop=1
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Quoting P451:


Don't pay attention to the wobbles. The center feature is oblong and as it rotates it will trick you into thinking the system as a whole is moving west or wsw and so on and so forth. It's not.

Look at all the posts that insisted the system was moving west all day long. They were tricked by the same feature on satellite imagery.... well, look where the system is right now.

Had it been moving west...it would be below 17N still. Look where it is.

Same thing here. It's just the ragged core tricking you into seeing a heading that only exists for a small feature within the large scale rotation.

The storm heading has been and continues to be WNW. St Kitts---->St Croix----->PR.

It's been steady all day.



dats why we track canes. this one started out at 14N with all the gomcasters jumpy... and pr folks on the clear. well, day and a half later and look !!!

on another note, see why irene reminded masters of fay?

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I think Irene just closed off its eyewall.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
To be honest the Carolinas were already predicted to be under the gun this year due to the weather patterns and such.So I would not be surprised if Irene ended up somewhere in that area.


Shhhh....don't tell Irene that....I live there....
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Quoting Gorty:


I live in southern New England... Any chance I could see a hurricane (Irene)? A major will destroy New England from south to north!

like a 0.00001% chance
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Quoting violet312s:


I really don't want to hear that. I only moved to Raleigh-Durham in 1999 so wasn't here for that. Heard it was super scary
I have relitives in that part of N.C.I hope they've been paying attention to the local new stations.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Looking better for sfl based on this evenings models. Still plenty of time to watch.



Interesting to see that almost all of the models are showing it just skimming the north of Hispaniola. This is not good for Georgia up to the outer banks.
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Is it safe to say that the more this storm's center stays over water; the more it will strengthen?

Is it also somewhat accurate to say the stronger it is the more it is affected by the trough? In this case more of a Northern shift through Bahamas?

Thanks in advance for any input on this.
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2377. Gorty
Quoting washingtonian115:
Next trouble maker is about to exsist Africa in about a day.


I blogged about it. check it out.
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Quoting Gorty:


I live in southern New England... Any chance I could see a hurricane (Irene)? A major will destroy New England from south to north!


Doubt it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


Don't pay attention to the wobbles. The center feature is oblong and as it rotates it will trick you into thinking the system as a whole is moving west or wsw and so on and so forth. It's not.

Look at all the posts that insisted the system was moving west all day long. They were tricked by the same feature on satellite imagery.... well, look where the system is right now.

Had it been moving west...it would be below 17N still. Look where it is.

Same thing here. It's just the ragged core tricking you into seeing a heading that only exists for a small feature within the large scale rotation.

The storm heading has been and continues to be WNW. St Kitts---->St Croix----->PR.

It's been steady all day.


She'll continue WNW, I know that for sure.
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Quoting P451:


That would be an early call I wouldn't want to make yet but it kind of seems like it's heading for the east coast of PR on a WNW heading. Would be careful here because friction with land interaction could pull her a bit more westerly along the island rather than just having a clean crossing if you will.

We just have to watch how it plays out.

I know one thing: She was never heading west at all today. She may even "miss" St Croix to the north now.





Yep...yep....I see that too on the radar...potentially going just N of St. Croix...IMO you've been fairly good in assessing the direction of Irene's travel today...
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Quoting lucreto:
You guys got to be kidding me this system is no worse than Emily if it ever reaches hurricane strength it is likely due to error by the NHC rather than actual strengthening.


Let me see if I have this right. If the NHC makes an error then a storm can strengthen? But if they get it right then it can't strengthen? Who knew?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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