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: 1973 - 1923

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

1973. RyanFSU
While the weather story is Irene in the Atlantic, the ECMWF model has been consistently spinning up dual-intense, but midget typhoons out of the monsoon gyre in the Western Pacific.

For those that like "cool weather", this is right up there. Try forecasting this from your armchair.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Clearwater1:


Are you on St Croix, hope you stay safe. . . if you don't lose power or the internet, please keep not in your area posted as to the conditions. Thanks


No. Someone asked where the HH were...lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I sea the vortex message showed 999 MB but still around 50 mph winds. So she a rampin' but winds have caught up yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



if your uesing IE


then you want firfox


Link


NO! Maybe I don't want to change. Why should I? U-tube should make sure their applications mesh with others.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1967. sdswwwe
Trying hard to close off that north eye wall...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello everyone - long time lurker.

Looks like Irene is going to mean business for both the Dominican and Haiti as well as possibly Cuba and the SE US.

Here's a question, does it seem odd to anyone else that we've gotten through the H storm (not counting Irene obviously) without really having a storm get close to being a Hurricane? It's been very active early on this season too. Just wondering. I'll go back to mostly lurking now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1965. Dennis8
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


We need rain here in TX... will someone please send a small tropical system our way to hang out for a few days...Thanks!


Yes we do..17" here year to date....if we do not get a tropical system by 9-20 or so we will not likely this year
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MZT:
WU Admins! Please move the control buttons for "+" and "-" closer to the middle of the posts. When someone stretches the blog with an image, you cannot even click the "-" or even the "!" anymore...


Tools/Compatibility View should fix the blog stretch. Enable it, then reload the page.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Well...it formed out of a broad area of low pressure yesterday...with all the convection being biased to the north side of it...and this broad surface center has been spending all this time trying to catch up to the convection on the north side but hasn't been quiet able to yet...

plus there might be some drier air on the west or south sides...


So im guessing if it does strengthen it will eventually work itself into a more symmetrical system? Or does that have to happen first before it can really gain much strength?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xtremeweathertracker:
Notice the mean break between the two ridges at day 4!! Although Irene will continue west-northwest in the short term, a turn more to the northwest and north should occur as she feels the weakness!! Although i believe Florida is still in the cone of possibilities, i believe they would most likely get a scrape on the eastern coast as Irene sets her sights on GA, SC, NC later this week!!!



That seems the most likely scenario atm. The big money question to me is intensity. And of course the Gulf Stream becomes a player in that regard...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Abacosurf:
Getting slammed in St Croix. only 20 miles away from Irene.....and closing.


LOL...I guess you are our Jim Cantore from St. Croix...

....how bad is it? Can you give us more description?
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 472 Comments: 3668
Reed Timmer just posted this on facebook- Current forecast track for Irene has a landfall just south of Miami on Thursday at 75 knots. Will deploy D2 and record radar data in the eyewall if it attains cat 3 or higher
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
1956. Dennis8
Quoting Abacosurf:
Except this time the storm is chasing them....


Looks like the northern eyewall feature will cross over island in next hour
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1955. dearmas
anyone have the link to track recon?? Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dearmas:
When does the next recon go out??


7pm
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115073


We need rain here in TX... will someone please send a small tropical system our way to hang out for a few days...Thanks!

And why can't I post a graphic? ugh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Abacosurf:
Getting slammed in St Croix. only 20 miles away from Irene.....and closing.


Are you on St Croix, hope you stay safe. . . if you don't lose power or the internet, please keep the rest of outside your area posted, as to the conditions. Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
PUERTO RICO LIVE SURF CAMS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1949. Dennis8
2:53 PM 77.0 °F - 73.9 °F 90% 29.73 in 6.0 mi NNE 12.7 mph 24.2 mph 0.03 in Rain Rain

St Croix
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Abacosurf:
Getting slammed in St Croix. only 20 miles away from Irene.....and closing.
Except this time the storm is chasing them....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1947. NASA101
Another repressive wave emerging from Africa - at a relatively high latitude!!

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1946. dearmas
When does the next recon go out??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:


Thanks! Nervous about the models shifting east, but cant lie I am also a little excited! Have not experienced a real hurricane here, closest thing to it was Ophelia...


Ophelia was a Joke
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:
Link

PR radar, eye wall open to the north
actually is closing it..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From St. Kitts
via Stormcarib

- Is She Gone Yet?

By R Petrillo M Puceta
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 19:21:12 +0000

After another power outage, exactly an hour long again, we decided to run outside and take a look. There is some flooding, a few broken branches, and a couple of newly planted palm trees down, but at least the Frigate Bay/SouthEast Peninsula came through relatively unscathed. We haven't heard anything about how the countryside did, but water was flowing down in rivulets down cliffs and river-like down the roadsides, so I'm sure all the ghauts were in full flow. Winds were a bit high at The Strip (30-35 knots), oddly enough, but the rest of the beaches, whether ocean or sea side, weren't too bad (probably 20 knots or less).  Waves on the ocean side from N Friars Bay and west (like Keys Beach) were very high - from 10' and up.  It hasn't rained in about 2 hours now, but there will probably be a bit more before the day is done. We took a tour of a portion of the island, so if you want more info (and pics) you can go to my blog and get the details. Looks like we dodged another one. Yes!  Renee (www.IslandBabble.blogspot.com)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Grrr.... blogs is messed up again.



if your uesing IE


then you want firfox


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115073
Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:
Any reason why Irene is so lopsided to its north? With little to no shear, I would expect a rounder system.... there is practically nothing on the south side of this one


Well...it formed out of a broad area of low pressure yesterday...with all the convection being biased to the north side of it...and this broad surface center has been spending all this time trying to catch up to the convection on the north side but hasn't been quiet able to yet...

plus there might be some drier air on the west or south sides...
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 472 Comments: 3668
Quoting Tazmanian:
here the link for firefox 6 time too upgrade if you are still on 3.5 3.6 4.0 or 5.0


Link


I wish! I am at work and stuck on IE8...blah!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


Could we see hurricane Irene before it hits Puerto Rico??


I'm still thinking TS. If it slows down a little more, maybe, but I think that's stretching it. Irene is still in the process of losing the dry air and building the core, which she is doing successfully at the moment. It's going to be close, but a 70mph TS is probably the strongest she'll get before PR.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
1936. Walshy
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting starbuck02:
Where are the HH?
Getting slammed in St Croix. only 20 miles away from Irene.....and closing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Major shift to the right on the models
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting treehuggingsister:
carolinashurricanes:Thanks! Nervous about the models shifting east, but cant lie I am also a little excited!

We went through Bertha and Fran in '96 in Jacksonville ("The Eyes of '96" they called them), almost 3 months apart to the day.

Preparation is THE most important thing you can do. Period.

It's amazing the peace it gives you when the devil's trying to beat the front door in, knowing you've done everything humanly possible to prepare your house for the hit and yourself for the "afterward".

Saved our bacon and the lessons learned helped us get our neighbors ready for Ivan.


Exactly my thinking. I will be staying in Wilmington regardless what happens, but i WILL be ready. Hope everyone else does the same.... or evacuates. Wherever she goes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looking better...convection isn't quite as spotty now.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
Where are the HH?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
All jokes aside, Irene appears to be in the process of building an eye wall, but that doesn't mean she has an eye.


Could we see hurricane Irene before it hits Puerto Rico??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Grrr.... blogs is messed up again.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Quoting PRweathercenter:
she's getting stronger, the pressure is down from 1007 to 999. I would not be surprised to see a 60-65 mph TS by 5 pm
Wow! That's an impressive change.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Wooooow I'm getting so smacked here in D.C by server storms right now.They've came back to back to back for the last two hours.The rains been falling the lightning is bright and then on top of all of this is loud thunder.I'm talking about you could actually feel the vibrations.


My doggy is scared. Hiding under my chair whilst I blog.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yep, thinking 60 Mph for 5, though still possible to see 50 Mph, or 65 Mph(though 60 Mph more reasonable fro NHC likely)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
meanwhile...

IS THAT HARVEY CLINGING ON WHILE MOVING INTO SOUTHERN EDGE BOC?

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t1/vis-l.jpg

Harvey....not much...but could still cling on to tropical depression status for a while longer now....

Harvey is such a pest....GO AWAY ALREADY...LOL
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 472 Comments: 3668
here the link for firefox 6 time too upgrade if you are still on 3.5 3.6 4.0 or 5.0


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115073

Viewing: 1973 - 1923

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.

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
78 °F
Partly Cloudy