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 justalurker:
PR radar link please? thank you



look at dr m blog
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114756
Quoting zoomiami:


Looking at this graphic -- the weather field is huge -- it is almost the size of florida. This is what I was talking about earlier about the size of the storm and the widespread effects.

Hi Kman: is your son back at school? or are you coming over next week?


He is back but transferred to a university farther North with a better music program. I will not be back in your neck of the woods until sometime in mid September.
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4821. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
09L/H/I/C1
MARK
17.75N/65.09W

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Last center fix and current center...

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15788
The models on Accuweather's site seem to be shifting more to the west, every time there new runs come out. http://hurricane.accuweather.com/hurricane/atlanti c/2011/irene/storm.asp?partner=accuweather
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Quoting Hhunter:

Water Vapor loop imagery, and IR2, and DVORAK imagery indicate one thing, there is some reinforced riding just off the SEUS coast… which appears to be a temporary elongation of the U.S ridge. The flow is noted to be out of the ENE, and the trof is pushing this SSE. This would account for Irene slowing in forward speed, and a more westward (275) track temporarily as seen on radar. While I tend to agree with the overall track from the NHC, I believe Irene will be a little left of track, before making the NW turn in a few days, however not too much deviation left of track in the short term, before feeling the weakness in the ridge forecast in a few days.

Regardless of how far of a shift may occur back and forth over the next 24 hours, residents in the current watch and warning areas should be making preparations, and residents of South Florida, and the SEUS coast should monitor Irene closely. I will have another update in the morning.


from our favorite retired Coast Guard forecaster....


Finally an explanation for why she has slowed...and more in line with my thinking. I also don't think she's a hurricane...but a very strong TS. Might up winds to 65 or 70 mph before she hits PR.
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PR radar link please? thank you
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Quoting kmanislander:


That recent convective blow up might mean 992 mbs. Looks like a hurricane for PR tonight.


Stronger storm then the original forecasts -- yesterdays midday blog called for maybe a tropical storm in a day or two. And it was a tropical storm a few hours later -- lol
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THERE IS A WELL-DEFINED UPPER-LEVEL ANTICYCLONE
SITUATED OVER IRENE.

THE VERTICAL LIFT INDUCED BY THIS ANTICYCLONE SHOULD ALLOW THE SYSTEM TO INTENSIFY AS IT TRACKS TOWARD THE EASTERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MON.
--From 8 p.m. NHC Discussion

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Quoting presslord:


Patrap has posted the models...several times....and there are about 5000 posts which explain it


yeah...kind of gives you that sinking feeling when Patrap is even posting the runs eh? just makes me want to throw up...guess better now that if/when it hits huh?
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hi hop this storm stays S of .HAITI. or N of .HAITI. they really dont need this
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114756
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4811. Relix
Just sat with anemometer outside.... just chillaxed on the roof. Saw the amazing clouds moving around a circle. Some huge clouds. Noticed lightning inside them too and sustained winds of about 16MPH with a gust of 25MPH here in Levittown, Puerto Rico. Light rain or none at all.
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People if you are high and dry stay put eva. is a pain in the but and makes it hard to get home. I stayed for Ivan and Dennis !! & I am about 1 mile from the GOM!!
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4809. emcf30
Current Weather Conditions:
ROOSEVELT ROADS PUERTO RICO, PR, United States
(TJNR) 18-15N 65-38W 10M
Conditions at

2011.08.22 0136 UTC
Wind from the NE (040 degrees) at 22 MPH (19 KT) gusting to 43 MPH (37 KT)
Visibility 2 1/2 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Rain
Precipitation last hour 0.14 inches
Temperature 78 F (26 C)
Pressure (altimeter) 29.72 in. Hg (1006 hPa)
ob TJNR 220136Z AUTO 04019G37KT 2 1/2SM RA FEW011 BKN019 OVC042 26/ A2972 RMK AO2 PK WND 05039/0057 P0014 TSNO

Current Weather Conditions:
San Juan, Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, PR, United States
(TJSJ) 18-27N 066-00W
Conditions at

2011.08.22 0056 UTC
Wind from the NE (040 degrees) at 23 MPH (20 KT) gusting to 36 MPH (31 KT)
Visibility 10 mile(s)
Sky conditions mostly cloudy
Precipitation last hour A trace
Temperature 81.0 F (27.2 C)
Dew Point 73.9 F (23.3 C)
Relative Humidity 79%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.81 in. Hg (1009 hPa)
ob TJSJ 220056Z 04020G31KT 10SM BKN018 BKN060 27/23 A2981 RMK AO2 PK WND 03034/0041 RAB17E27 SLP094 P0000 T02720233
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Looks like the last few frames of the PR radar have a clear circulation center showing up with a jog to the NW.
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4807. emguy
If the current trough does continue to pull out and does not errode the ridge as much...then the storm will reamin on a west north west track longer and the NW bend will be more subtle. Combined with that and the fact that the hurricane models have shown a poleward bias all season long...The NHC has a pretty good track. In fact, it may be a smidge too far to the east. Fact is, just because the storm reformed farther north and took the Carribean track out of the picture, it does not take the eastern gulf out of it. In fact, the storm could miss Hispanola and Cuba to the north and small changes could still place this storm in the extreme eastern gulf. Just note the orientation of the state and it's small width and one can see hour just 6 hours of additional WNW movement than currently forecast can do this. I do agree that folks on the west coast of Florida need to continue to monitor, although I do believe a spine of the state of East coast riding storm like David is more likely.
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Quoting Detrina:
Hrm are we going to add a new category of forecasters now...
we have wish casters, west casters, fish casters, florida casters, looks like now we need carolina casters:)...

Is there some reason that some people think it's going to hit S/NC?

I don't see any track changes.

tia


A lot of the models are pointing in that direction.
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4805. Dakster
sure has the appearance of a cat1 hurricane on IR...

Just have to wait and see if the numbers and HH hunter obs. make it a Cat1.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Still pretty big.


Looking at this graphic -- the weather field is huge -- it is almost the size of florida. This is what I was talking about earlier about the size of the storm and the widespread effects.

Hi Kman: is your son back at school? or are you coming over next week?
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Quoting MississippiWx:


It's definitely going to be close. Hopefully we will have recon all the way up until landfall.


The winds will lag the pressure a bit but the sting will be in the right SE quadrant which will have time to get to Cat 1 winds IMO.
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4801. 900MB
Quoting kmanislander:


That recent convective blow up might mean 992 mbs. Looks like a hurricane for PR tonight.


Blowing up at the wrong time for PR. At least they are getting her early.
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Quoting Detrina:
Hrm are we going to add a new category of forecasters now...
we have wish casters, west casters, fish casters, florida casters, looks like now we need carolina casters:)...

Is there some reason that some people think it's going to hit S/NC?

I don't see any track changes.

tia


because we are in the cone for one...second, even the mets on tv are saying we could very well be hit, and here is a run to look at

Link
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Quoting Detrina:
Hrm are we going to add a new category of forecasters now...
we have wish casters, west casters, fish casters, florida casters, looks like now we need carolina casters:)...

Is there some reason that some people think it's going to hit S/NC?

I don't see any track changes.

tia


Patrap has posted the models...several times....and there are about 5000 posts which explain it
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Quoting tiggeriffic:


no, awendaw got crushed cuz the eye did hit charleston...they are NORTH of us...all of this area was affected by hugo was strong, massive and just kept coming...irene isn't at this point supposed to be like hugo...any storm should be taken seriously...they evac down town for that reason...
oh ok. Remember Irene COULD be ranged from TS to Cat 5.
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4797. msphar
Fajardo 30 Kts. NNE gusting 37 Kts.
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gimongous wind field i thhink im dun for the night off to bed ill be back tom
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4794. 900MB
Backside Buoy in St. Croix still kicking:

Station SRBV3
Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON)
Location: 17.784N 64.762W
Conditions as of:
Mon, 22 Aug 2011 01:00:00 UTC
Winds: SSE (160°) at 32.1 kt gusting to 49.9 kt
Atmospheric Pressure: 29.62 in
Air Temperature: 75.2 F
Dew Point: 72.1 F
Water Temperature: 84.0 F
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

It's at 994mb FWIW.


thx, stay safe tonight!
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4791. ronmil
Winds really picking up on the east center of PR...
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4790. Patrap
Quoting tennisgirl08:


Wow...looks like she has slowed down quite a bit, huh Pat??


TS IRENE has put some of that Forward Momentum inot a good burst of organazation the lst 6 hours,,and when they do that they Tighten up the core and slow down as well.

So a few degrees today and tonight in motion will have a impact on track downstream.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127601
Quoting barotropic:
Radar shows trying to close a cloud wall around what appears to be a very small COC. It can be seen just off the extreme NW tip of st croix. Thats where the center fix came from Recon.
I had to walk the dog.
I'm catching up....but I agree.
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Quoting Detrina:
Hrm are we going to add a new category of forecasters now...
we have wish casters, west casters, fish casters, florida casters, looks like now we need carolina casters:)...

Is there some reason that some people think it's going to hit S/NC?

I don't see any track changes.

tia


Wait until 2300 report from the NHC/TPC
Member Since: October 26, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 363
Quoting tiggeriffic:


your channel reported it lol...they were giving a general scenopsis


it makes me crazy that we don't have a more sophisticated descriptive system for hurricanes
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
994 is enouugh of a drop from earlier its gonna be a cane soon
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Still pretty big.
if she hit SC coast, NC will be battling the storm for loooonnnggg time.
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Quoting kmanislander:


That recent convective blow up might mean 992 mbs. Looks like a hurricane for PR tonight.


It's definitely going to be close. Hopefully we will have recon all the way up until landfall.
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St. Croix
via Stormcarib

- Darkness on East End

By Susan Beck

Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 18:33:39 -0700 (PDT)

Well, Wapa lasted all day and then poof about 40 minutes ago it went out and hubby is on generator right now.  :(  Will be a hot night with shutters up on all of the windows and no breeze going thru the house.  Still not too much rain he said, but the winds have been quite impressive.  He was off to try to get some sleep so he can go to work in the morning.  I told him that the winds are predicted to stay gusty through tomorrow afternoon, so he might have another leisure day to himself.  He did mention that the balcony had a tremendous amount of leaves and debris on it, so if he stays home it  will defintiely be a clean up day.  Must make him a nice dinner when I get back on island Labor Day weekend to make up for not being there in time of need.
 
Just in reading all of the updates, it looks like DR and Bahamas are in for a good lashing.  PLEASE again prepare now.  My husband said that this all happened so fast this morning and if we were not prepared it with our hurricane plan it would have been much much worse that what he is dealing with now.
 
Take Care,
Susan
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
good to hear that... are you sure battery will protect downtown from 20 ft storm surge? My mom said city flooded during Hugo pretty badly (again, she was in Charlotte for few days). And not surprised Sullivan's Island is in trouble... Hugo just crushed that island because it faced the worst part of Hugo.


no, awendaw got crushed cuz the eye did hit charleston...they are NORTH of us...all of this area was affected by hugo was strong, massive and just kept coming...irene isn't at this point supposed to be like hugo...any storm should be taken seriously...they evac down town for that reason...
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4781. aimetti
Gonna just barely clip / miss hispaniola then pull a donna up the seaboard
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Quoting P451:


I've been eager to see this one.

We know now exactly where it's heading since it's radar signature cleared up.

Now the interest is in pressure.

They haven't been in there for a while and during that time the center has been under or just near those really cold cloud tops.





That recent convective blow up might mean 992 mbs. Looks like a hurricane for PR tonight.
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Back in a few.
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Quoting MrstormX:
I know recon is heading back in, so I am thinking there should be at least a 2-3 mb drop if not more.

It's at 994mb FWIW.
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Quoting P451:


I've been eager to see this one.

We know now exactly where it's heading since it's radar signature cleared up.

Now the interest is in pressure.

They haven't been in there for a while and during that time the center has been under or just near those really cold cloud tops.



Also radar shows a very strong band on the North side of Irene. Will be interesting to see what winds are in that band.
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4776. Detrina
Hrm are we going to add a new category of forecasters now...
we have wish casters, west casters, fish casters, florida casters, looks like now we need carolina casters:)...

Is there some reason that some people think it's going to hit S/NC?

I don't see any track changes.

tia
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Quoting kmanislander:


The NHC consider W to be 270 to 280. WNW begins at 285.



Thanks
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4773. Hhunter

Water Vapor loop imagery, and IR2, and DVORAK imagery indicate one thing, there is some reinforced riding just off the SEUS coast… which appears to be a temporary elongation of the U.S ridge. The flow is noted to be out of the ENE, and the trof is pushing this SSE. This would account for Irene slowing in forward speed, and a more westward (275) track temporarily as seen on radar. While I tend to agree with the overall track from the NHC, I believe Irene will be a little left of track, before making the NW turn in a few days, however not too much deviation left of track in the short term, before feeling the weakness in the ridge forecast in a few days.

Regardless of how far of a shift may occur back and forth over the next 24 hours, residents in the current watch and warning areas should be making preparations, and residents of South Florida, and the SEUS coast should monitor Irene closely. I will have another update in the morning.


from our favorite retired Coast Guard forecaster....
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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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