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: 4923 - 4873

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

this is fun
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
4921. Dakster
No problem Chicklit... Keep the maps coming. It makes it so I don't have to go out and hunt them down myself!

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10804
Anybody else notice the 60 Kt winds?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Holy Jesus! 66 knot SFMR winds in the northeast eyewall:

015430 1806N 06514W 8446 01465 //// +142 //// 113060 062 066 040 01

Pressure down to 994mb and they haven't reached the circulation yet:

015830 1754N 06519W 8435 01440 9940 +193 +188 082010 011 022 001 03

Panic Flag: OFF
Worry Flag: ON
Hyperventilation Flag: ON
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
8.150N 65.200W 842.5 mb
(~ 24.88 inHg) 1,505 meters
(~ 4,938 feet) - - From 104° at 64 knots
(From the ESE at ~ 73.6 mph) 13.7°C*
(~ 56.7°F*) -* 67 knots
(~ 77.0 mph)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4917. cerespa
Quoting tarps3:
What's the name of that long skinny island due east of PR?

Vieques
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Holy Jesus! 66 knot SFMR winds in the northeast eyewall:

015430 1806N 06514W 8446 01465 //// +142 //// 113060 062 066 040 01

Pressure down to 994mb and they haven't reached the circulation yet:

015830 1754N 06519W 8435 01440 9940 +193 +188 082010 011 022 001 03


But rain contaminated a little...not quite a hurricane yet but I would say a solid 60 kt storm that will be upgraded at 2am if trends continue.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
High rain rate in that SFMR. Although the 67 knot flight level winds are very impressive. I would say its at 60 knots right now.
Yeah, and flight level winds are a little below it. Nevertheless, I really didn't consider it suspect since there were plenty of SFMR winds in the 60 knot range.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SURFACE WINDS AT 66 KNOTS = 75 MPH.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4911. Grothar
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
What are your thoughts Grothar...Trouble for us...or East of us?


Very close. Very, very close. Depends on how strong that trough will be. If it stay more W-NW. It could be very close to SE Florida and move very slowly. Iam more concerned about that than the category at this time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I understand we now have Hurricane Irene


Taco :o)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I'm pretty sure its a Pilot in the Jet, but I could be wrong...


Wondered where you were!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A whole page of contaminated winds over 70 mph.

Center fix shortly
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4907. msphar
Fajardo 28 Kts. NNE gusting to 35 Kts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SOOO CLOSE

Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 59 knots (~ 67.8 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 61 knots (~ 70.1 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 19 mm/hr (~ 0.75 in/hr
(*) Denotes suspect data
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Time: 01:54:30Z
Coordinates: 18.1N 65.2333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 844.6 mb (~ 24.94 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,465 meters (~ 4,806 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: -
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 113° at 60 knots (From the ESE at ~ 69.0 mph)
Air Temp: 14.2°C* (~ 57.6°F*)
Dew Pt: -*
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 62 knots (~ 71.3 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 66 knots (~ 75.9 mph)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasGulf:
If I were in the Bahamas right now, I'd be battening down the hatches. The Bahamas will be on the East side of circulation and should get the worst of the winds and storm surge.

If Irene goes just North of Hispaniola, the hurricane might become stronger than anticipated, meaning a more northerly track. That would be to the right side of guidance... or Bahama bound. Better safe than sorry.
YES!@!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Couple of reliable 55-60 kt surface winds from the instrument...getting closer and closer to our 1st Atlantic hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
66 knot surface winds. Seem contaminated.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Holy Jesus! 66 knot SFMR winds in the northeast eyewall:

015430 1806N 06514W 8446 01465 //// +142 //// 113060 062 066 040 01

Pressure down to 994mb and they haven't reached the circulation yet:

015830 1754N 06519W 8435 01440 9940 +193 +188 082010 011 022 001 03
High rain rate in that SFMR. Although the 67 knot flight level winds are very impressive. I would say its at 60 knots right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Holy Jesus! 66 knot SFMR winds in the northeast eyewall:

015430 1806N 06514W 8446 01465 //// +142 //// 113060 062 066 040 01

Pressure down to 994mb and they haven't reached the circulation yet:

015830 1754N 06519W 8435 01440 9940 +193 +188 082010 011 022 001 03


lol...you are having a double rainbow incident.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
re 4869 radar looks like a side ways smiley...eyes and mouth :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Holy Jesus! 66 knot SFMR winds in the northeast eyewall:

015430 1806N 06514W 8446 01465 //// +142 //// 113060 062 066 040 01

Pressure down to 994mb and they haven't reached the circulation yet:

015830 1754N 06519W 8435 01440 9940 +193 +188 082010 011 022 001 03



oh boy
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
Quoting Dakster:
That is an interesting map chicklit... Although there is almost too much information on it.

It does show that there is a potential for RI IF Irene gets her act together.

Only positive thing is that she is so big that it takes time to wind up.


Sorry Dak, reposted just the shear map; used the wrong one. Yeah, .question is how close Irene stays to Hispaniola north coast and her energy source.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4895. Relix
NNW wobble or... just a constant movement? Who knows!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
This is the kind of convection that Irene has been lacking in her core all day, but it is now blooming.



Levi,Great update this morning,as always,filled with valuable information and insight. Could I beg and grovel for you to do a AM and a PM Tidbits when we have active Tropical Cyclones?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Looks like the center is very near Vieques.

img src="">

Squalls should hit me soon.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
SW side still trying to close up and wrap the stronger t-storms around from the N. Won't become a hurricane until this happens but she is looking better and better.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting caneswatch:
Anti-cyclone over Irene, already a hurricane, moving north of Hispaniola, heading into perfect territory. We'll be waking up to bad news tomorrow.
.

Agree
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its a 10 o clock ok kids time for bed got school in the morning
Exactly!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
994 mbs at 17.9 and 65

Not yet at the center
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4887. tarps3
What's the name of that long skinny island due east of PR?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I'm pretty sure its a Pilot in the Jet, but I could be wrong...


LMAO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Holy Jesus! 66 knot SFMR winds in the northeast eyewall:

015430 1806N 06514W 8446 01465 //// +142 //// 113060 062 066 040 01

Pressure down to 994mb and they haven't reached the circulation yet:

015830 1754N 06519W 8435 01440 9940 +193 +188 082010 011 022 001 03
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think we will be 9-1-0 at 11pm. This is really beginning to get organized quickly and thinking it will be 75 mph at 11.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Canes..you think Hurricane Warnings for our part of the world within the next two days?


I think so Geoffrey. I saw people at Publix this evening getting supplies together. We'll be getting either a Cat. 1 or a major.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Now in Caguas, we're starting to feel heavy gusts and rain...



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What are your thoughts Grothar...Trouble for us...or East of us?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:
That dip in the jet don't same too deep to me!


I'm pretty sure its a Pilot in the Jet, but I could be wrong...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4879. Grothar
Looks like the center is very near Vieques.

img src="">
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
Good chance now that IRENE will MISS all major Land mass after Puerto Rico....She might not loose much strength and could be one horrible storm for the Bahamas first. Looking more like a Major Hurricane is becoming more possible.


i mentioned earlier that the mets on tv were saying it looked more like a hit north of hispanolia and was slammed for it...hope they don't do the same to you...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Now is the time to watch HH data feed. There going ito an area which should have 70+mph winds.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3852
Quoting Grothar:
I know all eyes should be on Harvey and Irene, but this could be important next week.



Yes, that cluster on the bottom right looks like CAT 5 material to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4875. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
its a 10 o clock ok kids time for bed got school in the morning
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4874. msphar
Esperanza 13 Kts. ENE gusting 23 Kts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4873. Relix
Well starting to get hit hard. May lose power soon. Boo!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 4923 - 4873

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.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron