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: 1873 - 1823

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 Dennis8:


Heights here ..I am mentioned freq on Channel 13 as the storm spotter Dennis Raney in the Heights...I am retired from meteorology. Family on Lake Conroe and used to live near you in Northhampton Estates. HOT HERE


Yes, I have heard of Storm Spotter Dennis :o)

Pleaed to meet you
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm about to get hit by a squall...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think 98L has an eye...

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
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!!!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Puerto Rico long range radar on Wund site

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1865. Gorty
I got my wine so I am all set to track this thing lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1864. Dennis8
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Whatever recon was on earlier that made them go everywhere and stear all over the place is just what i need right now, and maybe a overdose of aspirin... There's no Eye


REALLY DUDE...that obsessed with being right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BrandiQ:
I am kinda lost... the models have moved to the east and whatnot... How do we know it will not move back to the west?
No-one KNOWS what it will do which is why people are debating on here. Just read and try to follow the discussion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
some people here knows that Irene is going to hit SE USA somewhere... but not how strong or locations.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8044
Where's the 2PM?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hmmm...so this is not an eye and this continues to move WNW?.....This is so hard right now....LOL
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 535 Comments: 3709
1859. Dunkman
Quoting Contrarian:
So now all the models except one agree that this will be a nothing storm- very weak cat 1 at best.

Expect this fact to be completely ignored.

I suppose if you want to ignore this you could say that the models are often wrong.

But most people here are irrational. When a storm is projected to be weak they completely ignore the models. When a storm is projected to be strong they act as if the models are very reliable.



??????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Whatever recon was on earlier that made them go everywhere and stear all over the place is just what i need right now, and maybe a overdose of aspirin... There's no Eye
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1857. ackee
Quoting alvarig1263:
It's been going west for quite a few hours now. Doesn't appear that way but if you look closely you can see where the circulation really was and that it has been moving due west for a while. Models will lean back towards west tonight IMO. Irene still in early stages and models are trying to get a handle on her.
agree guess we see dont see any WNW or NW movement either
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So now all the models except one agree that this will be a nothing storm- very weak cat 1 at best.

Expect this fact to be completely ignored.

I suppose if you want to ignore this you could say that the models are often wrong.

But most people here are irrational. When a storm is projected to be weak they completely ignore the models. When a storm is projected to be strong they act as if the models are very reliable.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1855. Dennis8
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


I'm in Spring but have family down on Galveston Island.


Heights here ..I am mentioned freq on Channel 13 as the storm spotter Dennis Raney in the Heights...I am retired from meteorology. Family on Lake Conroe and used to live near you in Northhampton Estates. HOT HERE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1854. srada
Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:


I am from Wilmington as well. My roomate works for WECT, and they dont seem to be very concerned yet either... even the weather guys! Thats why Im saying this eastward shift of the models is a big deal. Weve spent all week and weekend focusing on the eastern gulf and western florida (ok, maybe all of florida)... now an entire group of people from georgia to NC need to pay attention. I know many people here will be very surprised as I havent heard a single person mention this storm yet.

Not saying it will come this way, just that people here need to pay attention because right now... they arent


Welcome to the blog, fellow Wilmingtonian! Not surprising about the local media though. Thats how and why I found this site.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1853. Jebus
Quoting Bluestorm5:
For people in Carolinas, get ready your traffic plans. Not many interstates leaving the coast... we don't want another Floyd interstate mess. I only knows 5 major freeways leaving the coast: US 70, US 17, US 501, I-26, and I-40.



We have a much better plan in place now than Floyd for contraflow on I26. That is to say, we actually have a plan in place at all now. :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1852. scott39
Quoting xtremeweathertracker:

Not quite i am pursuing a degree in meteorology from Penn State!!!
Good for you. I hadnt seen you on here until recently and a welcomed addition. I have 1 question about your track forecast. I see most of the models impacting somewhere on Fl. as a direct hit including the NHC with the cone of error in the GOM also. Your track forecast really zeros in on GA/SC/NC now. Do you see any room for error there as the days continue. Im still learning, Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dennis8:
EYE LIKE FEATURE STILL VERY APPARENT


OMG, DO YOU THINK THAT COULD MEAN DOOM?

Honestly, dude, quit yelling or get poofed...the storm is not striong enough to support an eyewal, hence no eye; ever look at clouds? They change over time and what your seeing is a momentary anomaly, unless this storm has gone through an RI phase no one noted...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1850. Dunkman
Look at the UKMET. It initializes at 1008mb, and never has the pressure go lower than 1006mb until it impacts Hispanola. Clearly it has a very poor handle on the system and the track is dubious at best.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


The UKMET is usually pretty good at their predictions.. I wonder why they are so much more west with their path? their modle puts it into the GOM.
I thought and questioned the same thing!??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:


I am from Wilmington as well. My roomate works for WECT, and they dont seem to be very concerned yet either... even the weather guys! Thats why Im saying this eastward shift of the models is a big deal. Weve spent all week and weekend focusing on the eastern gulf and western florida (ok, maybe all of florida)... now an entire group of people from georgia to NC need to pay attention. I know many people here will be very surprised as I havent heard a single person mention this storm yet.

Not saying it will come this way, just that people here need to pay attention because right now... they arent


We in Nags Head NC have not heard much either. Gonna get interesting around here...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
man, the comments is moving fast... I want to warn people from Florida to Carolinas to get your traffic plans ready just in case it get ugly. We do not want another Floyd mess.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8044
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:


I knew the whole center hadn't made it in the radars view yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1845. MZT
Quoting SavannahStorm:


And don't bother coming to Georgia. When Floyd was threatening, it took me 12 hours to drive from Savannah to Athens, GA. That's normally a 3.5 hour drive...
Floyd was problematic because hurricane warnings kept being re-issued from Florida all the way up to Hatteras. Lots of wasted gas and boarding-up for folks on that storm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1738. MississippiWx

Indeed, as suspected... was clearly a relic of the dry swath between the N / NW side banding...

I believe we've seen all of the northward consolidation / relocation of the center that's been underway since yesterday... I'm seeing a general N of due west track currently, should scrape right along Puerto Rico's S coast...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
More likely than not:

1. Irene's going to joggle north and south
2. Going to change speed eventually
3. Models will continue to change
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dennis8:


Where are you in Houston? I used to work for FOX 26 as a meteorologist and Universal Wx at Hobby


I'm in Spring but have family down on Galveston Island.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's been going west for quite a few hours now. Doesn't appear that way but if you look closely you can see where the circulation really was and that it has been moving due west for a while. Models will lean back towards west tonight IMO. Irene still in early stages and models are trying to get a handle on her.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1840. Dennis8
Quoting wolftribe2009:
Storm moving due west and an eye is starting to form. I believe an eye is forming near 17.5N 64W

Link



I agree..good analysis..Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
JSL says the "eyes" have it...

Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 2343
Ultimately this is a stupid debate about eye/no eye, but people keep refuting an eye by saying a dry pocket of air... Funny that it keeps in the exact center of the storms rotation.

And as I said before, significant warming found by the aircraft recon.

In the end all that matters is that she is headed straight over PR, and then if she follows the GFS/ECMWF/HWRF and stays close to or off the north coast of Hispaniola, it will not be good for folks in the latter part of her path...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1837. Dennis8
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


Does anyone have the Long Range UKMET model?? just wondering


Where are you in Houston? I used to work for FOX 26 as a meteorologist and Universal Wx at Hobby
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1836. dearmas
Quoting USAFwxguy:


Forward. That is about the best the Blog can agree on right now.


Kidding... west, maybe some wnw


Thanks HA HA LOL. Just can't make out if its going to pass North of PR or not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting srada:
As a resident of Wilmington, NC, I haven't seen much in the local media about Irene, however I think things are about to change real quick! I am watching and waiting.


I am from Wilmington as well. My roomate works for WECT, and they dont seem to be very concerned yet either... even the weather guys! Thats why Im saying this eastward shift of the models is a big deal. Weve spent all week and weekend focusing on the eastern gulf and western florida (ok, maybe all of florida)... now an entire group of people from georgia to NC need to pay attention. I know many people here will be very surprised as I havent heard a single person mention this storm yet.

Not saying it will come this way, just that people here need to pay attention because right now... they arent
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1834. srada
Quoting SavannahStorm:


And don't bother coming to Georgia. When Floyd was threatening, it took me 12 hours to drive from Savannah to Athens, GA. That's normally a 3.5 hour drive...


Floyd was terrible here in Wilmington. Some genious finally realized that I-40 both east and west needed to be changed to outgoing traffic, by that time, chaos was pretty much indicated for evacuating residents
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
She doesn't look too good right now ..IMO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FirstCoastMan:
Being here in north florida,the jacksonville area...Do i have anything to worry about?
People in Jacksonville area need to pay attention and just preview your hurricane plans.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8044
1831. BrandiQ
I am kinda lost... the models have moved to the east and whatnot... How do we know it will not move back to the west?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Storm moving due west and an eye is starting to form. I believe an eye is forming near 17.5N 64W

Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1829. Dennis8
Quoting Clearwater1:
Yes, that's what I was think and post a few minutes back. I think it is moving due west, but I'm only using pr radar and visible. The NHC knows best.


Yes due west for now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1828. gugi182
Well i will give you an update on the conditions outside my window in PUERTO RICO. The sky is starting to get a little more darker, but there's some patches of clear sky. No rain yet in the southwest part of the island but we did get a nice wind gust that shaked a little the palm trees in front of my house. WELL THAT'S MY UPDATE I'LL KEEP TUNING IN UNTIL I HAVE POWER.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dennis8:


YES it does....Dr. Masters says to watch that model for long range


Does anyone have the Long Range UKMET model?? just wondering
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


Lol...Well, I don't know what else to show you then. Radar clearly shows that there is no eye as well. Convection doesn't even support an eye wall and you have to have an eye wall to have a true eye. It's not happening yet.


It looks like an eyewall is developing right now.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-vis.htm l

Notice the convection firing up around all sides of the CoC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


The UKMET is usually pretty good at their predictions.. I wonder why they are so much more west with their path? their modle puts it into the GOM.


Because the AB high is bridging west and the high over Texas is running from it slightly...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1823. Dennis8
EYE LIKE FEATURE STILL VERY APPARENT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1873 - 1823

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

Light Snow
36 °F
Light Snow