Dangerous Tropical Storm Irene headed for the Dominican Republic

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

Share this Blog
48
+

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.

Links
Long-range radar out of Puerto Rico

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 2123 - 2073

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 134 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160Blog Index

Quoting NCHurricane2009:


P451 is on to something....I wanted to say west...but I switched back to saying WNW after I saw all the low-level cloud motions beneath the high cloud tops continuing WNW....


radar has depicted this for a while now
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


LOL!
My avatar has three happy girls in it with bright colors with a bright background.Everyone else's looks serious and dark.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
St. Croix should be getting the western side of Irene's *eyewall*.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Samantha550:
Trying to arm myself with information so any help would be appreciated. Are any of the long range models showing the ridge of high pressure leaving the tx/la area.


Haven't seen any mentioned on here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Seems the squall that slammed me is heading SW, and maintaining strength.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TWC might be playing there dooms day hurricane song this week depending on how strong Irene is at that time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
I should change my avatar.It looks bright and happy compared to some of the other avatars on here.And it doesn't fit the mood.


LOL!
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 494 Comments: 3688
Quoting Samantha550:
Trying to arm myself with information so any help would be appreciated. Are any of the long range models showing the ridge of high pressure leaving the tx/la area.


The GOMEX area can relax for what I can see this will be a SE US Event. South Carolina Florida etc... Just keep an eye on it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NICycloneChaser:


I really think that Irene will only skirt northern Hispaniola. Levi said the same on his tidbit. Not good news for the East Coast if that's true. Nothing but many hundreds of miles of very warm water and very low shear.


(Very sad face)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2113. luigi18
Quoting pottery:

Sounds good to me....


me too !
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 481

Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6123
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Nasty looking in St. Croix..

Link


Yeah...but its kinda annoying how that camera only updates every few seconds instead of being a true movie of what is going on...
Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:


I was about to say the exact same thing (albeit I know MUCH less than most people on here so i question myself a lot lol). On the unenhanced IR... you can see (in the lower levels like you said) there is clearly a northward component to its westward movement.


For you and I in the Carolinas...that WNW motion is NOT good...because it will graze N coast of Hispaniola instead of going into the island...keep it stronger and hence taking a more northward track toward here as the model shifts said this morning...
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 494 Comments: 3688
2110. Dennis8
Quoting chrisdscane:
be back later btw she heading west


yes west
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dennis8:


September 12 is a big date for Texas storms...Carla, Ike

September is the month where Texas is more prone to being hit by a hurricane, based on history.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I sure I am seeing things, but that image makes it look like, on its current path, along with the expected more northerly path after Puerto Rico, that Irene will avoid Hispaniola.


I really think that Irene will only skirt northern Hispaniola. Levi said the same on his tidbit. Not good news for the East Coast if that's true. Nothing but many hundreds of miles of very warm water and very low shear.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Trying to arm myself with information so any help would be appreciated. Are any of the long range models showing the ridge of high pressure leaving the tx/la area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2106. Dennis8
The eye feature should be over St Croix
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I should change my avatar.It looks bright and happy compared to some of the other avatars on here.And it doesn't fit the mood.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
be back later btw she heading west
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2103. Torgen
Quoting presslord:


Pizza, anyone?


Spent all my money last weekend, so it's chicken pot pie for me right now. ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:
Any HH scheduled for the rest of today? Or possibly out there/on their way already?


Six-hourly fixes from here on out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I sure I am seeing things, but that image makes it look like, on its current path, along with the expected more northerly path after Puerto Rico, that Irene will avoid Hispaniola.


No, I agree with you. Probably bad news for U.S.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Hearing gusts outside. Creepy as hell. Sounds like ...a monster...breathing...slowly...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Any HH scheduled for the rest of today? Or possibly out there/on their way already?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:
PUERTO RICO LIVE SURF CAMS


fast moving clouds on inches cam (southeast PR) i got friends surfing right now
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
2096. MZT
But not for this blog. It reminds me of jackals surrounding a dead carcass ripping it up and chewing it to shreds, while biting those who are plundering the corpse next to them.
This blog moves too fast to worry about getting the last word in. When things get too heavy (as in, a whole fresh page of posts get loaded while typing a reply to someone) it can be worth it to let the doomcasters have it, and move to Levi32's blog.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Getting better...Certainly no "eye" on visible anymore. She's building her core now, though.

I think she's moving up in intensity now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Getting better...Certainly no "eye" on visible anymore. She's building her core now, though.



I sure hope I am seeing things, but that image makes it look like, on its current path, along with the expected more northerly path after Puerto Rico, that Irene will avoid Hispaniola.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Out for a few.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
2091. pottery
Quoting jonelu:
Screw that...its time for beer. :-)

Sounds good to me....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Is the puppy not listening to you? lol.

...I wish I had pizza.

Didn't listen to me, lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


Looks to be a bit NW of the actual center, but it's probably the start.


Lol, I edited right after I posted that it's not on the center. But it could expand southward.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Getting better...Certainly no "eye" on visible anymore. She's building her core now, though.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Anyone posting a YT or other vid should make sure the size is less than 500x500.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

No, I was *trying* to get my 4 month old sato puppy inside. And looking at the weather. And I also ate pizza.


Is the puppy not listening to you? lol.

...I wish I had pizza.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Hmm. Look at the that red blob with a yellow speck in it. I wonder if that's the very beginning of a CDO or at least a stronger core?


Looks to be a bit NW of the actual center, but it's probably the start.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Nasty looking in St. Croix..

Link


Hope it doesn't prevent the HH getting up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2081. jonelu
Quoting SavannahStorm:


I'll bring the Fresca, make mine a Dr. Pepper.
Screw that...its time for beer. :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Outflow boundaries/low level arc clouds being spit out.

I have been noticing those...Dry air??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
AFD out of Melbourne, FL:

BY TUESDAY (MODIFIED PREV DISC)...AFOREMENTIONED SURFACE BOUNDARY
DROPS INTO EXTREME N FLORIDA
AND SHUD BRING IN ADDITIONAL MID
LEVEL MOISTURE AS IT ERODES THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE ATLANTIC HIGH.
THIS WILL BE ENOUGH TO KEEP RAIN CHANCES CLOSE TO NORMAL IN THE
AFTERNOON...THOUGH HIGHEST COVERAGE WILL STILL FAVOR THE INTERIOR
WITH THE EVENING SEA BREEZE COLLISION. HIGHS IN THE MID 90S OVER
THE INTERIOR AND LOW 90S AT THE COAST...AND WARM OVERNIGHT LOWS IN
THE MID TO UPPER 70S...WITH A FEW COASTAL LOCATIONS POSSIBLY
STAYING ABOVE 80F.

WED-SAT...THE FORECAST FOR LATE WEEK WILL BE HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON
FUTURE MOVEMENTS OF TC IRENE CURRENTLY JUST SOUTHEAST OF PUERTO
RICO. THE NHC FORECAST HAS IRENE MOVING ACROSS EASTERN CUBA ON
WEDNESDAY...EMERGING INTO THE STRAITS OF FLORIDA AND APPROACHING S
FL LATE THURSDAY. LTST GUID SUGGESTS MORE EAST BIAS TOWARD MEDIUM
RANGE SOLNS AND THIS TREND INCLUDING THE POSSIBILITY OF A LONGER
DURATION OPEN WATER TRACK DEMONSTRATES THE CONTINUED UNCERTAINTY
ON FUTURE EFFECTS FOR THE IMMEDIATE AREA. EVERYONE SHOULD CLOSELY
MONITOR NHC FORECASTS FOR THE LATEST ON
IRENE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


Been trying to point that out with little luck.

She went over St. Kitts. She's going to go over St. Croix. Extrapolate that and it's not Due West. It's more like 280 or so. Continue further and it landfalls in PR.

It's not too difficult to see this if you apply a little patience.... unless you try to focus on a dry patch of air and follow it swirling around the circulation center.


P451 is on to something....I wanted to say west...but I switched back to saying WNW after I saw all the low-level cloud motions beneath the high cloud tops continuing WNW....
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 494 Comments: 3688
2077. luigi18
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Did it knock your power out? You left for a while..

i quite punch in the hills at bayamon too
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 481
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Did it knock your power out? You left for a while..

No, I was *trying* to get my 4 month old sato puppy inside. And looking at the weather. And I also ate pizza.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
A tip for IE users re UTube video posts: you can usually find the offending post because before it all the posts will look "normal", while after it blogger avatar pictures will usually be positioned UNDER the post number. If the post is near the end of the page, refresh is your friend. If you, like me, use the 200 posts view, you may have to use [Ignore] till you get to the end of the page.


Tools/Compatibility View should fix the blog stretch. Enable it, then reload the page.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Irene looks like a flea. Nasty.



Hmm. Look at the that red blob with a yellow speck in it. It's not quite over the center, but I wonder if that's the very beginning of a CDO or at least a stronger core?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 2123 - 2073

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 134 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.