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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Outter Banks or Fish Storm.
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
She's making a run for the open ocean. That long chain of islands, and their respective interaction was the only prayer for slowing this thing down.

Hold on to your britches, we're about to see the nuclear furnace, reignite.


Appears to be beginning a more WNW track now that it has emerged back out into the ocean.

And yea, Hispaniola may slow it down a little, but its looking like it will either just pass over the coast of Hispaniola, or just miss it altogether. The core was disrupted pretty significantly over Puerto Rico, however, based off satellite imagery.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
left turn clyde.....i mean irene


clyde?
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
She's making a run for the open ocean. That long chain of islands, and their respective interaction was the only prayer for slowing this thing down.

Hold on to your britches, we're about to see the nuclear furnace, reignite.




You can see the northern semicircle of convection really firing up on that loop as soon as it emerged over water. Shows that she is ready to really go for it.
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left turn clyde.....i mean irene
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Look again at the NHC website. There is no 4am update. Its from 3am.


They are issuing position updates every hour while the current hurricane warnings are in effect (they began at 12AM this morning). This is the 4AM position update.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Look again at the NHC website. There is no 4am update. Its from 3am.

Yes there is.
See "Position Estimate" below the Forecast and Advisory.
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Quoting charlottefl:


Very few hurricanes landfall as Cat 4's in the US, let alone Cat 5's..


I know that, which is why I said it's not likely.
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Quoting atmosweather:


The one you posted is the 3AM update and the one I posted is the 4AM. Look at the times in the text.
Look again at the NHC website. There is no 4am update. Its from 3am. It was likely a typo and they have since corrected it.
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
She's making a run for the open ocean. That long chain of islands, and their respective interaction was the only prayer for slowing this thing down.

Hold on to your britches, we're about to see the nuclear furnace, reignite.


shes going fishing....................lololol
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Your time is off. The update is from 3am AST or 3am eastern...its a one hour old center fix. Current time is 430am Eastern.

AT 300 AM AST...0700 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE WAS
LOCATED BY FAA DOPPLER RADAR TO BE INLAND OVER PUERTO RICO NEAR
LATITUDE 18.3 NORTH... LONGITUDE 66.1 WEST. IRENE IS MOVING TOWARD
THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 15 MPH... 24 KM/H. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS WITH A GRADUAL
DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED. ON THE FORECAST TRACK THE CENTER OF
IRENE WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE OVER PUERTO RICO THIS MORNING...AND
MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE NORTHERN COASTAL REGIONS OF THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

Radar and buoy observations support the idea of the surface center being over water.


The one you posted is the 3AM update and the one I posted is the 4AM. Look at the times in the text.
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Nuclear furnace is right, she will explode, likely by tomorrow though, give her a good 24 hours to reorganize anything she needs to reorganize, especially the southern outflow channel.
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CAT one probably by 11am today.
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She's making a run for the open ocean. That long chain of islands, and their respective interaction was the only prayer for slowing this thing down.

Hold on to your britches, we're about to see the nuclear furnace, reignite.


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Quoting thedawnawakening3:


Link

here you go, current satellite data is unavailable likely do to the blackout.


I appreciate it :) Have a good night.
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Quoting thedawnawakening3:


Link

here you go, current satellite data is unavailable likely do to the blackout.


why do they turn off the satellites each day?
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Quoting TropicalWeatherGrl88:


Hello Dawn an you please send me a link of the current steering layers? Thank you


Link

here you go, current satellite data is unavailable likely do to the blackout.
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6756. 7544
ill say 8 am
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6855
Who thinks an upgrade to Cat 1 will happen by 11AM????
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Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Who said they want a category five hurricane to hit Charleston, SC? I certaintly haven't said that. Read the posts I make and understand why the potential is there for one next time. I'm tired of people assuming that someone wants a catastrophic hurricane to hit a city. No one would ever want that to happen, especially with the word catastrophic attached to it. Just calm down and think of all of the potential possibilities with this storm. I'm saying certain storms throughout the hurricane season just have a certain buzz or feel with them, and unfortunately this storm has that buzz.



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Quoting atmosweather:


From the 4AM position update:

AT 400 AM AST...0800 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM
IRENE WAS ESTIMATED BY FAA DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR TO BE
NEAR LATITUDE 18.3 NORTH...LONGITUDE 66.3 WEST...OR ABOUT
20 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO AND ABOUT
60 MILES EAST OF AGUADILLA PUERTO RICO.
Your time is off. The update is from 3am AST or 3am eastern...its a one hour old center fix. Current time is 430am Eastern.

AT 300 AM AST...0700 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE WAS
LOCATED BY FAA DOPPLER RADAR TO BE INLAND OVER PUERTO RICO NEAR
LATITUDE 18.3 NORTH... LONGITUDE 66.1 WEST. IRENE IS MOVING TOWARD
THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 15 MPH... 24 KM/H. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS WITH A GRADUAL
DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED. ON THE FORECAST TRACK THE CENTER OF
IRENE WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE OVER PUERTO RICO THIS MORNING...AND
MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE NORTHERN COASTAL REGIONS OF THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

Radar and buoy observations support the idea of the surface center being over water.
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Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Who said they want a category five hurricane to hit Charleston, SC? I certaintly haven't said that. Read the posts I make and understand why the potential is there for one next time. I'm tired of people assuming that someone wants a catastrophic hurricane to hit a city. No one would ever want that to happen, especially with the word catastrophic attached to it. Just calm down and think of all of the potential possibilities with this storm. I'm saying certain storms throughout the hurricane season just have a certain buzz or feel with them, and unfortunately this storm has that buzz.


Hello Dawn an you please send me a link of the current steering layers? Thank you
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3 days ago the NAM had yet to be formed Irene a borderline hurricane hitting and exiting north PR now 6 hours out on the 6z run it doesn't really have a storm at all and the center to the SW of PR
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x
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Radar shows she is almost completely emerged into the Atlantic.
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Who said they want a category five hurricane to hit Charleston, SC? I certaintly haven't said that. Read the posts I make and understand why the potential is there for one next time. I'm tired of people assuming that someone wants a catastrophic hurricane to hit a city. No one would ever want that to happen, especially with the word catastrophic attached to it. Just calm down and think of all of the potential possibilities with this storm. I'm saying certain storms throughout the hurricane season just have a certain buzz or feel with them, and unfortunately this storm has that buzz.
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:


Saying that something has the potential to landfall as a Cat 5 does not mean that you want it too. I don't think a Cat 5 is likely at all, though. Major is achievable, should the track be appropriate.


Cat 5s very rarely make landfall on the US mainland. Andrew was upgraded to a cat 5 years after the event. Cat 5 status is almost always brief and out at sea. It's juvenile talk to speculate on a cat 5 landfall.
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gonna miss florida sorry roofers
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6745. 7544
stating to fill in to the sw now here we go
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6855
Quoting NICycloneChaser:


Saying that something has the potential to landfall as a Cat 5 does not mean that you want it too. I don't think a Cat 5 is likely at all, though. Major is achievable, should the track be appropriate.


Very few hurricanes landfall as Cat 4's in the US, let alone Cat 5's..
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This thing could reach MAJOR hurricane status before final landfall
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6742. 7544
30 min for the 5 am update that should tell us more
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6855
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


and from the sound of it,you want a catistophic ca5 hurricane to landfall south of charleston?????? that is sick talk


Saying that something has the potential to landfall as a Cat 5 does not mean that you want it too. I don't think a Cat 5 is likely at all, though. Major is achievable, should the track be appropriate.
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Eye is clearly visible on this radar, it is just not well formed enough to be cleared out and visible on satellite... that IS just a dry slot at the moment caused by land interaction (being cutoff from water on the left side)... should work itself out by 11am advisory I think, and be declared a hurricane.


We are already seeing a large burst of deep convection just east of the center, which should wrap around soon. This is really interesting, unfortunately I need sleep :( I'll be back in about 8 hours. Play nice children :D
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Quoting WCSCTVCharleston:



People will still say its over land and going to be over land the whole way across
and people will say it's back over water
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
now if we can just get her going west she will slam into dominican republic and hopefully spend 12 hours there


If she continues her average motion of the last 8/9 hours, around 285 degrees, her centre would miss Hispaniola all together. I don't think this will happen, but it certainly won't spend long over central Hispaniola. The mountains will still cause inflow problems on the south side, but Irene is moving quickly enough that it shouldn't be a big problem. The reason that the mountains killed Emily was because she was drifting very slowly just to the south for over 24 hours.
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Still partially over Puerto Rico.
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Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Wow really? Talking dirty? WOW that doesn't belong on here with the potential that Irene has to be a monster. That needs to stop. This is purely meteorology talk.

Irene has the potential to be bigger and badder than Hugo for several reasons:

1.) if Irene were to miss any more land interaction which at this point I think is a tremendous likelihood than she can intensify rapidly up until landfall, say except for a potential EWRC. Hugo was a category four at landfall, Irene could be a category five and could be a further southwest landfall in which part could have a much greater impact on Charleston, SC.
2.) Oceanic and atmospheric conditions present are at the most ideal for a catastrophic hurricane. Upper level anticyclone present, well aligned mlc and llcs, oceanic temperatures above 84f and at great depths as well as little to any dry air, however the dry air is currently to the west and northwest, Irene is moistening her environment and is isolating her Core.

3.) biggest detriment is the restriction of appreciable convection in the southern semicircle outside of her inner core and this needs to develop to help ventilate her inner convection. Northern outflow channel is not restricted and this is helping her maintain her current organization and intensity, I give this process of developing a southern outflow channel about 12 to 24 hours to occur. If not she could end up like Hurricane Earl intensity wise and just miss category five intensity.

4.) presence of the atlantic gulf stream current will allow rapid intensification to continue to occur if an EWRC is not going to happen. This will catch a lot of residents of guard.

5.) complacency and a higher volume of residents now living in coastal SC compared to when hugo hit could increase the number of people who are potentially in harm's way, this includes my cousins, aunt and uncle as well as myself. My relatives live in Blufton, SC and I am currently in Sumter, SC.


and from the sound of it,you want a catistophic ca5 hurricane to landfall south of charleston?????? that is sick talk
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Radar shows she is over San Juan, PR and is almost fully emerging into the Atlantic Ocean.
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Quoting Relix:
http://www.wapa.tv/tiempo/

Select Doppler. There you have your COC.

That is the same thing a few of us were showing,it was slowing coming up. Many said it was a dry spot
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15920
Quoting atmosweather:


From the 4AM position update:

AT 400 AM AST...0800 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM
IRENE WAS ESTIMATED BY FAA DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR TO BE
NEAR LATITUDE 18.3 NORTH...LONGITUDE 66.3 WEST...OR ABOUT
20 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO AND ABOUT
60 MILES EAST OF AGUADILLA PUERTO RICO.


"Estimated center" being the key words.

I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see a bump in latitude with little or no change in longitude on the next set of coordinates base on the radar images and reports we're seeing.
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6731. emguy
Irene has left the building...looking for Elvis...

She's back over open water.
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19.0n94.2w has been re-evaluated&altered for TD.Harvey_6amGMT_ATCF
18.8n94.6w, 18.5n95.7w are now the most recent positions
Starting 21August_6amGMT and ending 22August_6amGMT

The 4 shorter line-segments represent TropicalDepressionHarvey's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 12amGMT then 6amGMT :
TD.Harvey's travel-speed was 12.5mph(20.1k/h) on a heading of 254.2degrees(WSW)
TD.Harvey was headed toward dissipation over southern Mexico... or the Pacific

Copy&paste cme, 17.5n90.7w-17.9n92.0w, 17.9n92.0w-18.4n93.3w, 18.4n93.3w-18.8n94.6w, 18.8n94.6w-18.5n95.7w, mtt, ver, 18.8n94.6w-17.08n100.58w, zih, aca into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 22August_12amGMT)
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East side is really nasty, but the NE quad is the nastiest whoever is in the nern part of Puerto Rico will face some extremely nasty weather. Radar shows that she is just about over water, her southern side will take about another hour to fully emerge into the Atlantic Ocean once again.
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Stay safe Relix.

Looks pretty nasty. Hearing lots of reports of power failures.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15920
Quoting Gearsts:
Link


Still makes it look to me like it's back over water. Just where my eye sees the circulation centre.
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6726. Relix
Well, the East side has started for me. Once more!

Link

Click Play! Will at least you see where the COC is. I'll try to stay safe... seems like the East side is really nasty.
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:


I'm not sure that the NHC is really reporting it to still be over land. The last advisory said it was inland, and would continue to move over land this morning, which doesn't really give a time frame for it to be back over water. It looks to me that it may have taken a slight NW jump, which would bring it back over water much more quickly.


The northern side of the LLC is moving offshore just E of Dorado from the TDWR. Her entire center should be over water in an hour or two.
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or just turn north or northeast, irene smelling a little fishy anyway
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:




As you can see on this radar loop, Irene is now emerging back over water. Moving WNW.
now if we can just get her going west she will slam into dominican republic and hopefully spend 12 hours there
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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.