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: 673 - 623

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 AussieStorm:

There would be no humor in a Storm of any grade hitting Haiti. Tents and strong wind and rain do not hold up well. I wish and pray to GOD that Irene does miss Haiti. Her people are barely surviving let alone able to cope what could be heading there way.
happens too often on this island hope she stays south of that place sorry i disagree with dr masters on comparing this one to fay fays the baby in the family then
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting muddertracker:


I wonder if they even know what's out there...how are communications there? Truly, truly sad. Blessings to those in those tents!

If i was there, I wouldn't want to know Irene was coming, It would set off mass panic which could be worse.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15742
...Still at. 9-0-0
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
670. 7544
its one run peeps wait for the next one models are getting confuse right now stay tuned
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sorry Georgia...I didn't wish it on you...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We're at the holy crap stage.



Is that a 975 mb or 915?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cloudburst2011:
this is set for florida ...the cone will not deviate one time until irene comes ashore on the fla coast...this could be a potential dangerous situation for fla...irene could be approaching fla as a strong cat 2 or a weak cat 3....
5 day cone will change with an estimated 250 mile plus error on a 5 day cone
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
As of 12 UTC, the historical analogs, based on track thus far and current position, are the following.



And, given the synoptic setup, the 2 western tracks of yesteryear shown above can be discounted entirely.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It stalled over the Gulf Stream...


Could I get the link to that TA? Oh and that is just...OUCH!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rkay1:
For my FL bloggers out there, you better save yourself an image of the current forecast cone cause its about to change!  It was fun while it lasted, no?  GA, NC, SC, --We pass the buck to you!

Don't speak to soon my friend, This does not show Irene missing Fl. Weather is not an exact science, things can and will change. Just be prepared.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15742
Quoting AussieStorm:

There would be no humor in a Storm of any grade hitting Haiti. Tents and strong wind and rain do not hold up well. I wish and pray to GOD that Irene does miss Haiti. Her people are barely surviving let alone able to cope what could be heading there way.


I wonder if they even know what's out there...how are communications there? Truly, truly sad. Blessings to those in those tents!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
984 mb storm toward Charleston, SC... 114 hr
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
Well, from NOLA and, umm, I hold a degree on the subject.

It IS going to Florida, though it may miss to the east.

Almost certain that it will not enter the gulf.

Intensity is highly dependent on the time spent over land and the nature of that land (mountains, etc.). Is possible that a strong TS or cat 1 shows up in FL, or a cat 3 . Just my opinion, but stronger favors a more eastern track (very bad for the Bahamas) as that would mean a miss on most of the mountainous terrain in Hispaniola. Atmospheric conditions and ocean heat content are favorable.

I wish we could nail it down better right now.

As to whom to pay attention to, Levi is a good one, Drakoen knows his stuff, WxLogic is adept and no wishcaster, Dakster, P451, Grothar, scottsvb (with credentials, I think), MiamiHurricane09, and many others I am forgetting at the moment.

Ultimately, pay close attention to the NHC statements and your local NWS office. Their mission is specifically to give you what you need to make decisions in the preservation of life and property. You'll only get a few hours lead on what they will say here, without the wild fluctuations and chaff.



:)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23700
uh_oh

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We're at the holy crap stage.





poof GA
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cloudburst2011:
this is set for florida ...the cone will not deviate one time until irene comes ashore on the fla coast...this could be a potential dangerous situation for fla...irene could be approaching fla as a strong cat 2 or a weak cat 3....


Nope...not this time for Fla IMO...cone shifting this eve....eastward and Bahamas in big trouble, we will see. obviously to soon to bank on anything.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We're at the holy crap stage.



I'm gonna need some new Levi's...


This is not good.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

She's coming Pat.


Radar ominous for PR...center headed straight there....

...this radar also shows a messy center fundamentally...Irene NOT on her way to hurricane status right now...and if she stays like this through PR and Hispaniola...will be disrupted and weak for a while and do something more like GFDL....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
even if this stays off the coast of FL by 1mile or so there is still going too be a lot of wind damge and storm sure damge and any thing us i can think off
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link

kinda wondering about that GFDL track...this could get intersting
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello all! I enjoy reading all your posts and they are very helpful! So thank you.
My questions is. I live in Fort Lauderdale. Is this something I need to start preparing for? I have seen some chatter saying it is going up the coast. I know it is too early to tell but it just scares the bagebeez outa me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Irene would have to continue a heading of 291 degrees if it wants to graze Hispaniola.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Got a feeling its coming here on this run...



Do you have the link to where you found that? Which model is this?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
sarcasm right? ugh, Gulf Stream is like a HGH to hurricanes...
;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


OMG...is that a 914 mb cane off the southeast...what model is that?!

This would be the biggest east coast storm (including my area) if that crap happened....WOWZA


I know! I think we have to start preparing NOW!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We're at the holy crap stage.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rkay1:
For my FL bloggers out there, you better save yourself an image of the current forecast cone cause its about to change!  It was fun while it lasted, no?  GA, NC, SC, --We pass the buck to you!


Why are you here?

Seems all you do is bash people for their forecasts.

Here is a newsflash for you since you do not seem to be able to grasp it. Most of us in Florida DO NOT WANT THIS STORM!!!

Now go back to lurking and maybe you will learn something
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
yes...please point out for us the humor in a tropical system striking this

There would be no humor in a Storm of any grade hitting Haiti. Tents and strong wind and rain do not hold up well. I wish and pray to GOD that Irene does miss Haiti. Her people are barely surviving let alone able to cope what could be heading there way.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15742
Next ECMWF run should be interesting.
Member Since: March 19, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1419
Quoting Drakoen:
Misses Florida by a bit on this run, which is entirely possible given how much Irene has relocated her center. It looks like a major hurricane in the Bahamas on this run.



Be interesting to see what the 12z Euro does with it.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1979
Quoting atmoaggie:
Well, from NOLA and, umm, I hold a degree on the subject.

It IS going to Florida, though it may miss to the east.

Almost certain that it will not enter the gulf.

Intensity is highly dependent on the time spent over land and the nature of that land (mountains, etc.). Is possible that a strong TS or cat 1 shows up in FL, or a cat 3 . Just my opinion, but stronger favors a more eastern track (very bad for the Bahamas) as that would mean a miss on most of the mountainous terrain in Hispaniola. Atmospheric conditions and ocean heat content are favorable.

I wish we could nail it down better right now.

As to whom to pay attention to, Levi is a good one, Drakoen knows his stuff, WxLogic is adept and no wishcaster, Dakster, P451, Grothar, scottsvb (with credentials, I think), MiamiHurricane09, and many others I am forgetting at the moment.

Ultimately, pay close attention to the NHC statements and your local NWS office. Their mission is specifically to give you what you need to make decisions in the preservation of life and property. You'll only get a few hours lead on what they will say here, without the wild fluctuations and chaff.


New GFS run kinda indicating what you said. Irene barely skims east Haiti and exits north coast ...never going over land again but hugging N coast of DR and Cuba going thru central bahamas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


Some of the people on here need to take some Valium... they seem to try to keep second guessing the experts based on their 5 minute observations.

So far the Vortex plots are right on the forecast track.
Orca you still on same track as last night? Please tell me you are seeing it get north turn early and miss east coast
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Not 914 mb, 970s mb. And that would be the GFS model.


...phew...that's better....970s mb is repsectable cat. 2 rather than a 914 mb cat. 5.....

....i hate reading the numbers in the midst of those tight isobars in these model outputs...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehunter27:

I think that is the best spot a hurricane can ever hope to stall over.
sarcasm right? ugh, Gulf Stream is like a HGH to hurricanes...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lets go Flooooriiiiddaaaaa!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxhatt:
Wow! I see a drastic change coming from the NHC forcast track well to the EAST!



That's just the GFS, lol..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxhatt:
Wow! I see a drastic change coming from the NHC forcast track well to the EAST!



because of one model run?

I see a slight shift east, but not anything that significant
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Dvorak more centered every frame lately.


2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve


She's coming Pat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:


Yes, but I just washed/waxed the car, and painted my house.


I have a roof leak.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just don't see why everyone treats each run as gospel.
The models will again shift. Irene is still 4 days from affecting the U.S.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It stalled over the Gulf Stream...


I think that is the best spot a hurricane can ever hope to stall over.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Misses Florida by a bit on this run, which is entirely possible given how much Irene has relocated her center. It looks like a major hurricane in the Bahamas on this run.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow! I see a drastic change coming from the NHC forcast track well to the EAST!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


OMG...is that a 914 mb cane off the southeast...what model is that?!

This would be the biggest east coast storm (including my area) if that crap happened....WOWZA


Not 914 mb, 970s mb. And that would be the GFS model.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Floater - RGB Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 673 - 623

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 JeffMasters

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