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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Quoting Grandpato4:


Get your insurance quote before you buy. I know people with insurance that costs more than their monthly mortgage.


Live near Largo for last 9 years- 2005 was kind of annoying- but not too, too bad... also a former jersey girl- 1992 in Manasquan was the worst storm I encountered, ha-ha!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon going to investigate the St. Kitts area right now...


Yay!
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24 hours out

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Note, I may be one or two minutes behind other GFS posts but I'm posting close up view.
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Recon going to investigate the St. Kitts area right now...
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
GFS 12z 0 hrs.

Anyone want me to continues?
yes, and the image size is great
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
if irene goes north of hispaniola or over the north coast South florida is going to deal with a possible major hurricane , Could this be a Wilma type event of that track verifies
I would think if it is a larger storm, in area, as it moves north up the the peninsula, it could suck moisture from both the Gulf and Atlantic. If it's small diameter, it could be very minimal the farther up and inland it goes. imo I don't thinks a Wilma type event. But if, it were to move just a track closer inland to either coast, hang on to your hat.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Miami NWS has tropical storm-force gusts affecting the area Thursday evening. Updated a few minutes ago.



That is a very good map, 09. Could be useful in the days ahead.
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SW end of PR at 18 hr.
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I am very concerned for my Manager at work.He has booked a cruise for Mexico and is suppose to leave tomorrow morning from Mobile.And of all things he didnt take the insurance out to protect his ticket in case of Tropical threats.Is this something he needs to worry about being he is going to Couzamel?Hope I spelled that right .LOL......TIA
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
18 hours out


Bring it on! >:)
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
if irene goes north of hispaniola or over the north coast South florida is going to deal with a possible major hurricane , Could this be a Wilma type event of that track verifies


An you base this doomsday prediction on what?

Perhaps you own stock in homedepot and post this crap so they sell more plywood and batteries?
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Alright, GFDL, now join up with your modeling brethren and take away all of the confusion so some can sigh in relief and others can begin act accordingly with decent confidence. They are counting on you, given your history as a capable prognosticator.

As of right now, I'd consider GFDL an outlier...
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Quoting TruthCommish:


That's the main function of this blog. Its been that way for years and will never change. Wishcasters come out of the woodwork to stir the pot and polish their chicken-little routines.


Considering even the nhc has told people in florida to be prepared, it is not really wishcasting to discuss it.
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Quoting Matt1989:
I don't see why everyone is pumping this up to be a huge storm when it is going to be passing over land that is known to destroy storms.. Florida will see a little rain and breezy cond. Jmo. No need to scare everyone. Even if it does survive it will be so torn up it probably won't recover. Look at Emily. Fay. Ernesto. All were very weak.


man ,YOU need to take a cold shower!!!
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355. Gorty
Invest 98L and next threat hot off the press!

Link
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Quoting P451:


Me thinks your compass is broken. Did you spill Fresca on it by chance?

;-)



LOL.
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Quoting Patrap:
Irene moving right along 270 true the last hour
Agree. Maybe 275 max.

With an elongated center this west movement will continue IMO.
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Quoting P451:


Once it tightens up that elongated surface circulation intensification should commence.

When this happens is anyone's guess unfortunately.

Let's hope it stays poorly organized.


We still have research to do in the scientific community on things like this...despite the huge amount we've learned...we still need to understand how storm structures evolve better....
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351. 7544
Quoting Seflhurricane:
if irene goes north of hispaniola or over the north coast South florida is going to deal with a possible major hurricane , Could this be a Wilma type event of that track verifies


looks like thats what shes trying to do will she make it is the question if she does do the north thin then fla will be in bigger trouble imo she may just skirt the dr and stay in the open hot water then on the way to bahamas and go thru ri before getting closer to so fla . watching for this in the next 24 hours
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6857
I still think she is headed for the GOM.

Why do you think that she is headed for the GOM?
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Quoting K8eCane:
I know for the past month here in Wilmington NC I cannot get rid of those tiny little pinpoint gnats. I have done evrything i know to do. I will think I have em conqueredand then one will divebomb my nose or forehead. totally aggravating and i am at my wits end.


I know, they're horrible.
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over PR in 15 hrs.

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divdog

Quoting Patrap:
Irene moving right along 270 true the last hour
I'm with you on that but sure seems like the minority pov right now. Steering maps sure show that she should continue west with a slight north bias down the road.


I so agree...have a bad feeling this will be a gom storm..but it's just me so dont hammer me too hard..
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18 hours out

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Miami NWS has tropical storm-force gusts affecting the area Thursday evening. Updated a few minutes ago.

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with the warning issued the people in P.R are realize how serious is Irene.
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I know for the past month here in Wilmington NC I cannot get rid of those tiny little pinpoint gnats. I have done evrything i know to do. I will think I have em conqueredand then one will divebomb my nose or forehead. totally aggravating and i am at my wits end.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
GFS 12z 0 hrs.

Anyone want me to continues?


Go for it, saves me having to click on another tab - lol! (I'm probably going to need the extra energy to put up my shutters!)
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Quoting LargoFl:
good luck and stay safe
Hello. I am currently shopping houses in Largo this minute! My niece lives there. I'm in Jersey now. When I settle on a locale, please tell me my real hurricane risk. Pinellas puts out a "Know your Zone" thing, re: storm surge risk, but I'd rather hear it from a local! I intend to use the house July/August/September and January & February. Thanks!
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Thanks, Doc.
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000
NOUS42 KNHC 211500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT SUN 21 AUGUST 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 22/1100Z TO 23/1100Z AUGUST 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-082

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM IRENE
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 71 FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 75
A. 22/12Z,18Z A. 23/00Z
B. AFXXX 0409A IRENE B. AFXXX 0509A IRENE
C. 21/1045Z C. 22/1730Z
D. 18.2N 68.2W F. 24,000 TO 33,000 FT
E. 21/1130Z TO 21/18Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT FLIGHT FOUR -- TEAL 72
A. 23/00Z,06Z
FLIGHT THREE -- NOAA 49 B. AFXXX 0709A IRENE
A. 23/00Z C. 22/2315Z
B. NOAA9 0609A IRENE D. 18.2N 70.9W
C. 22/1730Z E. 22/2330Z TO 23/06Z
F. 41,000 45,000 FT F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT FIVE -- NOAA 49
A. 23/12Z
B. NOAA9 0809A IRENE
C. 23/0530Z
D. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES, 2 MORE
G-IV MISSIONS, P-3 MISSIONS EVERY 12 HRS BEGINNING AT 23/20Z
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Structure looks good, but a weak inner core...very large system, though...



She'll go fast once she's able to gel that core.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
to sum it up, "a whole lot of shift from a whole lot of people"
So basically.. the blog is trying to form a new COC?/!
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*P451 is busy making the developing hurricane look*
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12 hr out. Is this the right run date: August 21 12z?
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333. MZT
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

So if it goes North of Hispaniola, where would it end up making landfall?
The cone itself is only a 2/3 confidence level. It plausibly might not land anywhere.

However if it skirts north of Hispanolia it'll be entering very warm water in the Bahamas without disruption. I'd start thinking a Floyd-like curve would take place, and people from FL to NC will be sweating it out...
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hmmm.

9 hrs out this is the 850mb vort.

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The SAL is pretty weak at the moment, could spell danger in the coming days.
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Quoting Patrap:
Irene moving right along 270 true the last hour
I'm with you on that but sure seems like the minority pov right now. Steering maps sure show that she should continue west with a slight north bias down the road.
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Quoting P451:


DE ANTS! DE ANTS! DE ANTS ARE COMING!


....I just can't help but hear an old seasoned island ladies voice in my head screaming that whenever I hear about this ant thing.

LOL and when I see this I hear Tattoo.. Boss, Boss de ants are coming.
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Quoting MrstormX:
The most tropical looking thing we have had all year:

LOL, Arlene forgotten already?
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just watched TWC with Rick Knabbs and he is thinking Irene will go north of the islands..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15678
Quoting Drakoen:


Looks like it was initialize well.


Sure did...
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A spokesman of Carnival Cruise lines:

via FB:
Due to the track of Tropical Storm Irene, United States Coast Guard has now closed the Port of San Juan, therefore it is now necessary to alter the itinerary for the M.S Carnival Miracle..
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Can I posts GFS runs?
sure, why not...
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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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