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.

Links
Long-range radar out of Puerto Rico

Jeff Masters

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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting EastCoastMove:


Yes, please show me where in a graphic...


I just posted a link backwards.....
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Quoting lucreto:


Irene did not shift left at all

next run it will move back to the left..and than right and than left and than right..and so on..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


But you are barely in the cone right now...so that is better for you....right?


yes it is and I hope by tomorrow morning I a completely out of the picture..will still get some rain...just sad for my friends in FL and all points northward..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
No power, On iPad. good Night.
Good luck and stay safe. The worst has yet to come, I'm afraid to say.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5417. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
yup, the "S" turned into a near category 2 Severe Tropical Cyclone, unfortunately
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah yeah, you're right LOL. Was looking at the incorrect graph. Nevertheless, Florida is still very much in the mix of getting this cyclone.


With every consecutive report it looks better for Florida. I fully expect this trend to continue.
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5414. ncstorm
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Is a 285 heading enough for Irene to only graze the north DR coast and not go far inland into Hispaniola?


Yes
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Quoting nigel20:

Hopefully Irene misses Haiti in its entirety, they can't deal with a storm at the moment.


Amen, nigel. Amen.
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5411. msphar
On the South side of Vieques, Esperanza station is kicking it up a bit 19 Kts. NE gusting to 35 Kts. about 30 minutes ago.
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this better be a good Forecast
Discussion if they are takeing this long
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Well

Baha,

this update still leaves me with a glimmer of optimistic hope,
but looks worse for you folks.

Hang in there.

CRS
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5407. emcf30
Quoting emguy:
If this track were to verify...the interview the Psychic Twins did on the View about 6 weeks ago will have them championing victory. For those of you that were not on here during that time, I think the video of their Hurricane forecast is on YouTube.

LOL, we were talking about that the other night on here
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
No power, On iPad. good Night.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5690
5404. nigel20
Quoting tropicfreak:

Hopefully Irene misses Haiti in its entirety, they can't deal with a storm at the moment.
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Can someone post the 11pm advisory? Not seeing it yet on the blog
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..IRENE could go under RI when it comes too the coast of the USA
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5401. HCW
Irene took out the P.R radar
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1409
Quoting P451:
70mph, 285 heading. Seems to be just right.





Is a 285 heading enough for Irene to only graze the north DR coast and not go far inland into Hispaniola?
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 490 Comments: 3687
East is right, West is left folks lol


looks like it shifted right to me
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5398. scott39
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Left...actually.
Im confused Irene shifted left but cone went to the right??
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6857
5397. Thrawst
Quoting Ameister12:
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS CHANGED THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH
TO A HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS.



LOVELY...
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Whew... guess we in the Cent. GOM can breathe a little easier.....crossing fingers, saying prayers, hoping for some luck.
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5395. ncstorm
what happened to the "s" over florida on the NHC cone..people, if you havent prepared, you betta get on it..the stores will be ridiculous starting tomorrow in florida and bahamas
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Quoting tiggeriffic:


they just said right on tv as well...S FL was in the center of the cone...now cone has moved east
Yeah yeah, you're right LOL. Was looking at the incorrect graph. Nevertheless, Florida is still very much in the mix of getting this cyclone.
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Quoting AllyBama:
well, if it shifted right then it didn't shift far enough for me..I am trying to get OUT of the cone!..lol


But you are barely in the cone right now...so that is better for you....right?
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 490 Comments: 3687
5392. emguy
If this track were to verify...the interview the Psychic Twins did on the View about 6 weeks ago will have them championing victory. For those of you that were not on here during that time, I think the video of their Hurricane forecast is on YouTube.
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Quoting tiggeriffic:
crap...even our local on the 8s say tropical weather for sat...new updates...at 70mph...new cone too...shift to the right


As suspected!
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5390. HCW
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1409
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS CHANGED THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH
TO A HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS.

THE GOVERNMENT OF FRANCE HAS DISCONTINUED THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING
FOR ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* PUERTO RICO...VIEQUES...AND CULEBRA
* THE ENTIRE COASTLINE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* CENTRAL BAHAMAS

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
* HAITI
* SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
70mph, 285 heading. Seems to be just right.





Those two dropsondes from recon do not show 285, more like 275. I guess the NHC has discounted that as short term. Hopefully the plane will do one more pass for the center before heading home.
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Quoting P451:


You own bears?




no i dont own bears lol this playing a round with the nhc
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5386. JLPR2
ha! Was kept as a TS.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8731
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Left...actually.


they just said right on tv as well...S FL was in the center of the cone...now cone has moved east
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5384. 900MB
NHC keeps downcasting compared to the hot models!
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 684
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6877
cone shifted right via TWC .... 70MPH
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00
WTNT34 KNHC 220251
TCPAT4

BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM IRENE ADVISORY NUMBER 6
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011
1100 PM AST SUN AUG 21 2011

...IRENE STRENGTHENING AS IT APPROACHES PUERTO RICO...


SUMMARY OF 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.9N 65.5W
ABOUT 50 MI...75 KM WNW OF ST. CROIX
ABOUT 50 MI...85 KM SE OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...993 MB...29.32 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS CHANGED THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH
TO A HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS.

THE GOVERNMENT OF FRANCE HAS DISCONTINUED THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING
FOR ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* PUERTO RICO...VIEQUES...AND CULEBRA
* THE ENTIRE COASTLINE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* CENTRAL BAHAMAS

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
* HAITI
* SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 17.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 65.5 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 MOVE NEAR OR OVER PUERTO RICO TONIGHT AND
NEAR OR OVER THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT.

DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE
THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 70 MPH...110
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SOME STRENGTHENING IS STILL POSSIBLE
OVERNIGHT...AND IRENE COULD BECOME A HURRICANE BEFORE MOVING OVER
PUERTO RICO IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. SOME WEAKENING IS EXPECTED ON
MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT AS THE CENTER MOVES NEAR OR OVER THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. SOME RESTRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED LATE TUESDAY
AFTER THE CENTER MOVES OVER WATER.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 150 MILES...240 KM
FROM THE CENTER. A STATION AT SALT RIVER BAY ON ST. CROIX RECENTLY
REPORTED A SUSTAINED WIND OF 47 MPH...76 KM/H...AND A GUST TO 57
MPH...92 KM/H. ROOSEVELT ROADS NAVAL STATION ON PUERTO RICO
RECENTLY REPORTED A WIND GUST TO 45 MPH...72 KM/H.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE MEASURED BY THE HURRICANE HUNTER
AIRCRAFT WAS 993 MB...29.32 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE OCCURRING OR IMMINENT IN THE
VIRGIN ISLANDS...EASTERN PUERTO RICO...CULEBRA AND VIEQUES...AND
WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD ACROSS PUERTO RICO TONIGHT. TROPICAL STORM
CONDITIONS WILL REACH THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC EARLY MONDAY.
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER PUERTO RICO...VIEQUES AND
CULEBRA TONIGHT...AND OVER THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ON MONDAY. THE
HIGHEST WINDS ARE LIKELY TO OCCUR OVER AREAS OF ELEVATED TERRAIN.
TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE SOUTHEASTERN
BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS TUESDAY...AND ARE POSSIBLE
IN THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS BY LATE TUESDAY. HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE IN THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS BY TUESDAY NIGHT.

RAINFALL...IRENE IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
OF 5 TO 10 INCHES ACROSS PUERTO RICO...THE VIRGIN ISLANDS...THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...HAITI...THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS
AND CAICOS ISLANDS. ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 20 INCHES
ARE POSSIBLE. THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH
FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES IN AREAS OF STEEP TERRAIN.

STORM SURGE...A STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS 3
TO 5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS ALONG THE COAST OF THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA. A STORM SURGE OF 1 TO 3
FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS EXPECTED ALONG THE COAST OF PUERTO
RICO...AS WELL AS IN THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREA. NEAR THE
COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS WAVES.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY...200 AM AST.
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...500 AM AST.

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN



Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
For the most part what I said was the truth. A storm can't go eight different directions at one time so for the most part anyone that wants to know what's really going on they should check for themselves.
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5378. ncstorm
I believe they waited to shift left for the 11:00 news..time to inform the public of what may be..
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5377. xcool



iknow NAM is not Tropical model
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5376. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Forecast and Intensity for AL092011 (IRENE)
==========================================

24 HRS: 19.4N 70.1W - 60 knots (Tropical Cyclone)
48 HRS: 20.9N 73.9W - 55 knots (Tropical Cyclone)
72 HRS 23.5N 77.0W - 65 knots (Severe Tropical Cyclone/Cat 1)
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well, if it shifted right then it didn't shift far enough for me..I am trying to get OUT of the cone!..lol
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Same here.


That's what I was thinking lol. I guess the fact that the SMFR reading was rain contaminated and because there was only one hurricane force surface wind report made them think twice.
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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.