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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7322. Dennis8
Quoting treehuggingsister:


Well, it's that time of year.


That is true..we are usually safe after 9-20 or so....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 12:20Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number & Year: 09L in 2011
Storm Name: Irene (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 03
A. Time of Center Fix: 22nd day of the month at 11:59:00Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 18°51'N 67°00'W (18.85N 67.W)
B. Center Fix Location: 69 miles (111 km) to the WNW (296°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 3,000m (9,843ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 69kts (~ 79.4mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 14 nautical miles (16 statute miles) to the ENE (67°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 129° at 68kts (From the SE at ~ 78.3mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 55 nautical miles (63 statute miles) to the ENE (62°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 990mb (29.23 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 8°C (46°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,053m (10,016ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,048m (10,000ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 9°C (48°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Open in the south
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 26 nautical miles (30 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 68kts (~ 78.3mph) in the northeast quadrant at 11:42:20Z
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And, you may not even have water!
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7319. GetReal




The GFDL is picking up a similr pattern IMO...
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:


Good morning. Something gone wrong with the floaters.
Irene took em out. Doesn't want us to see how big and mean she's going to get.
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7317. Dennis8
Quoting bappit:
From the Houston forecast discussion:

TEMPS COULD CLIMB EVEN HIGHER LATER IN THE WEEK SHOULD
OFFSHORE WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH IRENE`S CIRCULATION EVENTUALLY MAKE THEIR WAY THIS FAR WEST.

Sounds like they want to ump the ridge even here.
.

More subsidence for us..always a HOT day on the far east side of Hurricane..WE know that here in Houston from anytime a storm hits La...always gtd. a 100 degree day .
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7316. barbamz

http://www.webcamgalore.com/DE/webcam/Dominikanis che-Republik/Punta-Cana/6257.html
Stormy day to come in the east of the DR and elsewhere. - Good morning, you poor ones!
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Quoting hahaguy:


Sometimes.


Statistically speaking its more reliable than the GFS and all others
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Quoting spayandneuter:


Not naked people.....that was back in my day! They are groups of people that will gather at a certain place, usually notified by texting or some other social media. It started out as something fun, they would all dance or something silly like that. But now it has moved to our of control street parties or flash looting of neighborhoods and they go into stores and steal everything they can in just a few seconds. It has turned into large groups of criminals gathering to rush in, create havoc and then rush out. The surprise and large numbers make it almost impossible to stop.
easy to stop shoot one the rest will run
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Anybody know what forecast time update will include the planes that are measuring the atmosphere. Thats the forecast that I wanna see
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Quoting StormHype:


Sorry, but there are no 'cold showers' in FL in august.
"Cold" is only relative to the outside temperature at the time...

Quoting LightningCharmer:
'Any forecast on the rainfall for Hispaniola particularly Haiti?

Haven't seen much in the press about how they are fairing since the quake, and weather events of the past several months but I fear, Irene could be devastating.

From what I've read here about the rainfall in Puerto Rico, it's not looking good for those folks.

'Thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Prolly the only "good" thought about this new track of Irene is that it brings much less rain to the southern half of Haiti than any other track would have done. Earthquake effects in northern Haiti were minimal. Since the track also keeps Irene's prodigious NE quadrant away from them, even the Nrn Haiti residents shouldn't be as bad off as they would have been on earlier tracks.

Still doesn't make me like "taking one for the team", though....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22734


Good morning. Something gone wrong with the floaters.
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7310. hahaguy
Quoting sflhurricane:


And GFDL is the most reliable


Sometimes.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


One thing could be the ridge filling back in:

84 hours





96 hours



And GFDL is the most reliable
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No gulf storms this year?
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7307. 900MB
Morning all!

Looks like Irene survived PR just fine! Looks like we will be flirting with a major off the East Coast with a potential impact anywhere from the FLA/Georgia border to Cape Cod. Maybe we'll all be spared and she flirts, but gets pulled out to sea in the end? East Coast should be prepared and vigilant!

Given track, pressure, lack of sheer and SSTs, looks like not much will interfere with development. Might be a little slower over next 12-24 hours with limited interaction with Hispanola, but would have to guess that we are pushing a Cat 2 in 24 hours and a Cat 3 in 48 over the Bahamas.
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Quoting rmbjoe1954:


What is GFDL seeing that otheres (except CMC) are not?


One thing could be the ridge filling back in:

84 hours





96 hours

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7305. bappit
From the Houston forecast discussion:

TEMPS COULD CLIMB EVEN HIGHER LATER IN THE WEEK SHOULD
OFFSHORE WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH IRENE`S CIRCULATION EVENTUALLY MAKE THEIR WAY THIS FAR WEST.

Sounds like they want to ump the ridge even here.
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7304. scott39
Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:

Oh boy, now you have done it.
LOL
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:


If the ridge is finally shifting, then tropical systems could start shooting at the Gulf.
Sort of a double edge sword with the ridge finally shifting---gives us a break from the 100 deg plus here in Houston, but does open the door to tropical mischief right before the height of the season.
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Quoting Dennis8:
HOUSTON NWS AFD

MEDIUM RANGE GUESSES SHOW THE UPPER RIDGE MOVING EVEN FURTHER WEST
LATER IN THE WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK WHICH SHOULD ALLOW TEMPS
TO EVENTUALLY MODERATE. ECMWF PATTERN ACTUALLY SUPPORTS A FRONTAL
BOUNDARY TO PUSH ALL THE WAY INTO CNTL TX.

HOUSTON AND TEXAS WILL NEED TO WATCH THE TROPICS STARTING NEXT WEEK


Well, it's that time of year.
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Quoting presslord:
'flashing' is what perverts do at play grounds...it was 'streaking'


*changes plans for the day*
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Quoting txag91met:
Carolinas start watching...


Oh boy, now you have done it.
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Quoting Dennis8:
HOUSTON NWS AFD

MEDIUM RANGE GUESSES SHOW THE UPPER RIDGE MOVING EVEN FURTHER WEST
LATER IN THE WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK WHICH SHOULD ALLOW TEMPS
TO EVENTUALLY MODERATE. ECMWF PATTERN ACTUALLY SUPPORTS A FRONTAL
BOUNDARY TO PUSH ALL THE WAY INTO CNTL TX.

HOUSTON AND TEXAS WILL NEED TO WATCH THE TROPICS STARTING NEXT WEEK


This is also going to allow for the atlantic ridge to build more west also, shutting the door even more on an offshore track.

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7298. scott39
Quoting Drakoen:


That depends on how fast the trough lifts out to allow the ridge to build back in.
Is there any way to get an idea now, of what kind of trough this could be? What are you on board with? TIA
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This site shows the GFDL as the most reliable forecast model...

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/weather/hurrican e/sfl-weathermodels,0,5888512.story
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Quoting Thunderpig75:


Sudden groups of naked people.


Not naked people.....that was back in my day! They are groups of people that will gather at a certain place, usually notified by texting or some other social media. It started out as something fun, they would all dance or something silly like that. But now it has moved to our of control street parties or flash looting of neighborhoods and they go into stores and steal everything they can in just a few seconds. It has turned into large groups of criminals gathering to rush in, create havoc and then rush out. The surprise and large numbers make it almost impossible to stop.
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Quoting Dennis8:
HOUSTON NWS AFD

MEDIUM RANGE GUESSES SHOW THE UPPER RIDGE MOVING EVEN FURTHER WEST
LATER IN THE WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK WHICH SHOULD ALLOW TEMPS
TO EVENTUALLY MODERATE. ECMWF PATTERN ACTUALLY SUPPORTS A FRONTAL
BOUNDARY TO PUSH ALL THE WAY INTO CNTL TX.

HOUSTON AND TEXAS WILL NEED TO WATCH THE TROPICS STARTING NEXT WEEK


If the ridge is finally shifting, then tropical systems could start shooting at the Gulf.
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7294. HCW
Quoting yesterway:


Thanks..keep em coming

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A path like the NHC, as a major, there would be nothing left of anything within 20 miles of the coast. Coast of GA is all low lying swamp with severe tides. A path like this would ensure surge would be seen during high tide, and most areas would be under large amounts of water. Also there would be no weaking after landfall, (think everglades). This scenario is a city killer.
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HCW there seems to be a divergence in the models still and I think they will reach more of a general consensus when they receive new information from the hurricane hunters later today. I expect that tonight and tomorrow we will start to be able to get a much better general idea of where this thing might be going.

It seems that according to HCW's post that the latest models are saying that it either looks like it will ride up the coast near Florida and it will hit the GA/SC area or Northern Florida. The other possibilities which the models bring up is that it might hit the Northern South Carolina region or the North Carolina/Outer Banks region.

I think that the possibility that North Carolina gets hit will be minuscle given that I do not expect this trough to deepen in and strengthen enough to make curve through the high which seems like it will be rather solid. My expectation is that the Northward movement will begin somewhere in the Bahamas but it will happen close to the coast. If the riding up the coast possibility actualizes itself we could see large stretches of damage all over the lower sections of the East Coast.
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Quoting StormHype:


Sorry, but there are no 'cold showers' in FL in august.


I beg to differ...those showers are cold to us old(er) folks! ; D
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7288. Dennis8
HOUSTON NWS AFD

MEDIUM RANGE GUESSES SHOW THE UPPER RIDGE MOVING EVEN FURTHER WEST
LATER IN THE WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK WHICH SHOULD ALLOW TEMPS
TO EVENTUALLY MODERATE. ECMWF PATTERN ACTUALLY SUPPORTS A FRONTAL
BOUNDARY TO PUSH ALL THE WAY INTO CNTL TX.

HOUSTON AND TEXAS WILL NEED TO WATCH THE TROPICS STARTING NEXT WEEK
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
'Any forecast on the rainfall for Hispaniola particularly Haiti?

Haven't seen much in the press about how they are fairing since the quake, and weather events of the past several months but I fear, Irene could be devastating.

From what I've read here about the rainfall in Puerto Rico, it's not looking good for those folks.

'Thoughts and prayers go out to them.

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Quoting Abacosurf:
You better get to work Baha....
Not going anywhere before 9 a.m. traffic dies down... lol...

I'm gonna "make hay while the sun shines" today, however. Lucky I don't have to go to work today... gives me a chance to finish most of my preps.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22734
Quoting MoltenIce:
I've heard of clothed flash mobs.

Seen a few on YouTube so flash mobs doesn't mean you have to be in your birthday suit. :P

Back to Irene.

She does look menacing.


This picture is dated august 20th.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Word. There's a sick kind of excitement - something between anticipation and dread - when u know one is coming and u can't get out of the way. Once it gets going, though, it's pretty horrible. For the Bahamas, it looks like Irene will be one of the bad ones... 48 hours to cross the archipelago, with winds up to and possibly over Cat 2 the entire way. It's going to be long...


I live 80 miles as the crow flies from Galveston. That was plenty close enough for me during Ike. We still had Hurricane winds, trees down, roof damage, powerlines and fences blown over. The center went right over our house, we had one fence blown down one way, and the other blown the opposite. It is kind of awe inspiring when it's happening, but all in all I'd rather avoid it.
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Mornin again all...

Here in Boca, I think I may have seen our first evacuee just about half an hour ago...

Goodyear blimp left Pompano... though I guess they may be going to a sporting event...
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I recommend PATIENCE for all the newcomers on the blog wanting information. The high altitude jet is to fly this afternoon to get upper air samples. Until that information is fed into the models, most of the models are going to be flip flopping west and east. The upper air samples along with a solid and true storm center will give us the best track a few days out.
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7279. hydrus
Quoting presslord:


You think I need to start taking this seriously?
somebody will see a lot jogs in the primary track...
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7278. scott39
Quoting nash28:


Even the best performing models won't give up the ghost on certain systems. Sometimes the GFDL nails it days out. Sometimes it completely screws the pooch by 600 miles. I've seen both happen.
Im not saying the GFDL is right, where it is currently. I read that its a pretty decent model, and if was being that stubborn on the W Coast of Fl. that it may warrant a closer call for the Fl. E Coast. It seems to hold weight with the NHC.
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Drakoen:

Hey you mentioned Irene skirting the North coast of Hispanolia. All she has to do is gain 1 more degree of latitude in the next 200 miles west and she and most of her core will remain over water. Is the high to her north building her back to the west? She took a decent jog north last night crossing St. Croix to the Northwest corner of Puerto Rico. If she continues that heading I would believe she'd miss Hispanolia.
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Time: 11:59:00Z
Coordinates: 18.85N 67.0167W
Acft. Static Air Press: 696.6 mb (~ 20.57 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 3,044 meters (~ 9,987 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 987.6 mb (~ 29.16 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 326° at 2 knots (From the NW/NNW at ~ 2.3 mph)
Air Temp: 13.4°C (~ 56.1°F)
Dew Pt: 9.4°C (~ 48.9°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 7 knots (~ 8.0 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 22 knots* (~ 25.3 mph*)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr* (~ 0.04 in/hr*)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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7275. WxLogic
Quoting sporteguy03:

6z GFDL?


Nrt... posted it. Pretty sure you already saw it.
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Quoting scott39:
If the GFDL has not given in to the E side models, then that is an indication to me, that maybe a farther W track into Easterm Fl. is looking more likely than staying off the coast.


I would not interpret it as more likely, just as uncertainty in track.
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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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