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: 5773 - 5723

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

Being positive.... very positive: we had to wait 13 years for Irene.... So does this means that the next one will be in 2024? ....;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HuracanTaino:
Yes is down now we are without information...


Still have TDWR...

Center is just SE of PR.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
62 knots surface (71 MPH)to SE of center. Man, Irene is getting stronger.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8009
71MPH west winds south of Vieques
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Please stop posting old things...


my bad - reposted and bolded someone elses without reading timestamp. thought we had a cane there for a sec - even though pretty sure we do for all intensive purposes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ElConando:


If that holds probably won't be, with gusts so strong, sustained would be well over 39. I remember the days of hoping for school to be canceled. 04 and 05 season was a grade school kids dream, and a parents worst nightmare.


Oh those were the days. I loved it back then.

Now I don't paid when I can't work due to "hurricane days". Now I root against their arrival.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmosweather:
62 kts unflagged by the SMFR and only in the SE quadrant. Should be a hurricane at this point.
I agree. One would have to assume stronger winds exist on the North side.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5766. tarps3
0z GFS HR 30

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5765. JLPR2
If winds on the south side of the system are 71mph and the NE side is the strongest, then this is a hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5764. 7544
ridge looks stronger this run ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5763. Drakoen
Looks like she wants to ramp up:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
GFS takes Irene's center just south of PR, just like the NAM.


LOL...that is impossible now...especially when it is clearly making landfall on east coast of Puerto Rico as I write this....
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 476 Comments: 3668
Quoting Ameister12:
San Juan radar appears to be down. Hasn't done anything the last couple of frames.
Yes is down now we are without information...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
PR is well into the bad stuff now.



WOW - NEVER would have suspected that loop 24 hours ago!! Just goes to show...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5759. ThePass
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
The only time i got off from a storm here(in Texas), is when Ike came through and we left the school at noon to allow evacuees to shelter there... nothing else.


Be thankful. Having your life destroyed is not what its cracked up to be. lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What are some best places to take videography of the future hurricane Irene without being evacuated if it makes landfall in Charleston, SC?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Wariac:
Here in Fajardo, I still have power but my mom doesn't. Lucky me. Very windy and the rain has been none stop.


thanks wariac

here in ponce total calm, waiting still
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
New band of 60kt winds to the S of where it looks like the centre is... looks like the eyewall may be better developed in the SE than originally thought...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GFS is SLLLLOOOWWW on NOAA site. Someone is doing it, so I'm passing this one.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8009
5753. Gearsts
In Aguadilla here, i can see flashes very heavy rain and wind and a green sky sometimes:O.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Unfriendly:
Product:


Please stop posting old things...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
62 kts unflagged by the SMFR and only in the SE quadrant. Should be a hurricane at this point.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5750. msphar
Esperanza 23 Kts. ESE gusting 36 Kts. Still ESE!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting druseljic:


Well that's neat...that shows Irene has gone through two NW wobbles and a general WNW track since birth...one NW wobble occuring last night...another occurring today when it was by St. Croix...
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 476 Comments: 3668
GFS takes Irene's center just south of PR, just like the NAM.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rkay1:
lol I wouldn't even put tape on my windows or pull my lawn gnome in if I was you.  This will completely miss FL, I hate to be the one to inform you. 

I would hate to be the person that listened to you...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting serialteg:


in ponce not a leaf stirs


That's what my sister said... No rain, no wind, no tormenteras in the sliding door...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Miami NWS calling for some intense near hurricane force to hurricane force gusts coming onshore south Florida Thursday afternoon/evening. Updated 10 minutes ago.






If that holds probably won't be, with gusts so strong, sustained would be well over 39. I remember the days of hoping for school to be canceled. 04 and 05 season was a grade school kids dream, and a parents worst nightmare.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RevInFL:
Our local weather guy said Brevard County, FL will be out of the cone by 5am. Is the current trend of the models all shifting east going to continue?


oh really...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FINALLY RUNNING... 12 hr out:

Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8009
Quoting Unfriendly:
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 02:13Z
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: 3
Observation Number: 07
A. Time of Center Fix: 22nd day of the month at 1:59:00Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 17°53'N 65°19'W (17.8833N 65.3167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 61 miles (98 km) to the SE (127°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,376m (4,514ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 66kts (~ 76.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 13 nautical miles (15 statute miles) to the NNE (24°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 105° at 67kts (From the ESE at ~ 77.1mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 17 nautical miles (20 statute miles) to the NNE (24°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 993mb (29.32 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,533m (5,030ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 22°C (72°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,522m (4,993ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 17°C (63°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 67kts (~ 77.1mph) in the northeast quadrant at 1:53:40Z




thats old
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
5740. tarps3
0z GFS HR 24

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5738. Wariac
Here in Fajardo, I still have power but my mom doesn't. Lucky me. Very windy and the rain has been none stop.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
PR experiencing western eyewall conditions as we speak.


And the small eyewall continues to try and wrap around and close off.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 02:13Z
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: 3
Observation Number: 07
A. Time of Center Fix: 22nd day of the month at 1:59:00Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 17°53'N 65°19'W (17.8833N 65.3167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 61 miles (98 km) to the SE (127°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,376m (4,514ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 66kts (~ 76.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 13 nautical miles (15 statute miles) to the NNE (24°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 105° at 67kts (From the ESE at ~ 77.1mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 17 nautical miles (20 statute miles) to the NNE (24°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 993mb (29.32 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,533m (5,030ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 22°C (72°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,522m (4,993ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 17°C (63°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 67kts (~ 77.1mph) in the northeast quadrant at 1:53:40Z
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JasonIsATOOLMan:
I work in Home Depot in Florida they are making us all work overtime this week and put out extra stock of everything they may even truck in stock from other states. This will be bad. Florida will be under siege.
no, Home Depot will be under siege...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5732. JLPR2
Quoting serialteg:


in ponce not a leaf stirs


You'll get your turn. XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
Landfall is when the absolute center (center of the center) crosses the coastline.



so ture
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
5730. robj144
Quoting RevInFL:
Our local weather guy said Brevard County, FL will be out of the cone by 5am. Is the current trend of the models all shifting east going to continue?


Even if it is shifted east by 5 am, I highly doubt the east coast of Florida will be out of the cone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting thedawnawakening3:
satellite appearance is improving, as well as looks like pushing a tad southwestward.


Doesn't look like it to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5727. Drakoen
Landfall is when the absolute center (center of the center) crosses the coastline.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
Well... the power is still generally on in the major regions. Nothing large scale is out.



shes not in yet. i'll tell u another story in 12 hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5725. tarps3
0z GFS HR 18

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5724. Skyepony (Mod)
SFMR meauring surface winds in Irene from recon.. 62 knots (~ 71.3 mph).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fix Coordinates: 1753'N 6519'W (17.8833N 65.3167W)

11pm was 17.9

and 65.5 oops
that is backing up ....not good for me
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 5773 - 5723

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

Overcast
73 °F
Overcast