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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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....
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 2974
Johns island, sc here, these multiple runs are starting to finally grate my nerves a little. Heading on a business trip to Vero tuesday and returning thursday morning. I hope to god I am not in a mad rush to evacuate.
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Quoting Grandpato4:


If I had accounts there I would close them and tell them why I was doing it also. I had accounts at Bank of America and closed them recently due to some of the actions they have taken with foreclosures.


I would think they were there to help folks that need cash during disaster. Clue me in. I would be happy if my bank were open as laye as possible.during disaster.
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Quoting presslord:


it's way more complex than that...it would depend entirely on the storm
sadly, you are correct. When Katrina landfalled as Category 3, it brought record breaking storm surge (around 25 feet) and destoryed Mississippi/Alabama coast.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8075
4768. Lizpr
Quoting serialteg:


someone is abusing crack up in management


From BP doesn't surprise me at all.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


People on the blog just get irritable during times like this. You have people that are being affected, people that are going to be affected, and people who want to be affected. Then you have those of us who aren't going to be affected and don't want to be affected who still have a level head and don't mean anything harsh by what we say, but it's taken as harsh by the group above because of their irritability. You just gotta take it and move on...You said nothing wrong.


Being considerate of others is always appropriate.
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Quoting presslord:


it's way more complex than that...it would depend entirely on the storm


your channel reported it lol...they were giving a general scenopsis
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Quoting houstongator:
From The Banco Popular Website...

Weather Conditions - Tropical Storm Irene

August 21, 2011



Banco Popular is closely following the developments of the tropical storm Irene and its impact to our services and to Puerto Rico.



Branches
For the time being, our branches will remain open tomorrow. This decision could change at any moment for the safety of our employees and customers. The information on this page will be updated regularly.



Are they expecting employees & patrons to check their website first! Priorities. Of course it makes sense for those who did not withdraw cash in preparation for such a storm. Oh but the big question will be if there is electricity. I hope they are right. In the short term for short sellers the stock will fall tomorrow.
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I know recon is heading back in, so I am thinking there should be at least a 2-3 mb drop if not more.
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I expect atleast 65 mph atleast on the 11 PM advisory, nice pop with convection over Irenes' center.Link
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Quoting 900MB:
Funky Green in center of funktop!
Worry here in Puerto Rico !!! Irene not moving much I think maybe 10mph,well is how it looks in the Puerto Rico radar doppler...getting close to hurricane strength,too.
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Quoting tiggeriffic:


the new bridge is stronger than the old ones by far and they made it thru Hugo...would rather have the eye than be north of the eye...parts of chas is below sea level...the battery protects the down town part, but heard on the news last week that if a cat 3 hurricane hit our area that sullivan's island would be 12 ft UNDER water
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.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8075
Quoting houstongator:
From The Banco Popular Website...

Weather Conditions - Tropical Storm Irene

August 21, 2011



Banco Popular is closely following the developments of the tropical storm Irene and its impact to our services and to Puerto Rico.



Branches
For the time being, our branches will remain open tomorrow. This decision could change at any moment for the safety of our employees and customers. The information on this page will be updated regularly.


someone is abusing crack up in management
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Quoting Patrap:


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

I'd be throwing them muffins out the window! :)


Don't throw them away! Send them to Texas, we sure need the rain :)
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Lol...it's not like Irene is a Cat 5 or anything...geez. Sorry if I offended anyone. Be careful in PR....


People on the blog just get irritable during times like this. You have people that are being affected, people that are going to be affected, and people who want to be affected. Then you have those of us who aren't going to be affected and don't want to be affected who still have a level head and don't mean anything harsh by what we say, but it's taken as harsh by the group above because of their irritability. You just gotta take it and move on...You said nothing wrong.
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Quoting snowboy:


She's a hurricane..
Well i would say we should all freak out posting WE HAVE OUR FIRST CANE in bold and other colors except it might happen just before landfall in rico.
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Complete Update

It would appear its going to miss the Northern edge of PR & Haiti :)

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI






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Quoting tiggeriffic:


the new bridge is stronger than the old ones by far and they made it thru Hugo...would rather have the eye than be north of the eye...parts of chas is below sea level...the battery protects the down town part, but heard on the news last week that if a cat 3 hurricane hit our area that sullivan's island would be 12 ft UNDER water


it's way more complex than that...it would depend entirely on the storm
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting SouthDadeNative:


I see a west movement. Can someone explain WNW for me.

Thanks


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

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Quoting MrstormX:
Wow, I leave for an hour..and Irene has tightened up a ton.

Still pretty big.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
4748. Patrap
00z Irene Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Irene Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)



Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
Quoting Grandpato4:
I am in Atlantic Beach, NC and have a place down in SE FL as well. I guess I would evacuate to my daughter's house in Raleigh.
Did you make contact with your people in FL? Up until about Wednesday, there'll likely still be some uncertainty in the track and intensity of Irene...
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Evening all. I'm sitting in a hotel in the French Quarter in New Orleans tonight. Just took my daughter-in-law around to see it as she had never been here. I can't believe how much cooler it is here compared to home, four hours northwest of NO. Had a most delicious duck dinner. Tomorrow we pick up her truck just in from Germany and then back up to the hot box of home.

From reading, it looks like the cone of uncertainty is solidifying more on where she will go.
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4745. Gorty
Quoting SouthDadeNative:


I see a west movement. Can someone explain WNW for me.

Thanks


I see WNW
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4744. snowboy
Quoting MrstormX:
Wow, I leave for an hour..and Irene has tightened up a ton.


She's a hurricane..
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Looks like Irene's movement is right on the NHC projected path over the short term (right over PR) and it appears that she is getting even better organized and stronger now!
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From The Banco Popular Website...

Weather Conditions - Tropical Storm Irene

August 21, 2011



Banco Popular is closely following the developments of the tropical storm Irene and its impact to our services and to Puerto Rico.



Branches
For the time being, our branches will remain open tomorrow. This decision could change at any moment for the safety of our employees and customers. The information on this page will be updated regularly.
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4740. K8eCane
Quoting Hhunter:
gonna be bad in carolinas.....



why do you say that? I mean, we cant be quite sure yet for goodness sake. Right?
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Quoting TCIGolfer:


Thanks Kman

Glad you were the big winner, hope is was Chilly's money you won!!


Naul and Tracy LOL. Presses on the 17th always do the trick.

Hope you guys stay safe over there.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:


Well, Category 4 is BAD for Charleston. My mom told me it was 5 feet below sea level, but I don't think it's true. This storm might challenges that huge new bridge that goes over Cooper River.


many of our streets are along old creek beds...thus flooding is a huge problem...even with small showers
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting stormy2008:
Something tells me that we may have another "Isabel" on our hands... I'll leave it at that for the moment. No need for me to add more posts than need be... until later! :)


Explains your avatar.LOL

Don't need another Isabel here, it caused quite a bit of damage here in Richmond VA.
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Wow, I leave for an hour..and Irene has tightened up a ton.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Wow that is not what she ment chill out.


Lol...it's not like Irene is a Cat 5 or anything...geez. Sorry if I offended anyone. Be careful in PR....
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Quoting Patrap:


I see a west movement. Can someone explain WNW for me.

Thanks
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Raining again.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Rapid Scan back on for the NASA satellite:

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4731. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
Quoting Bluestorm5:


Well, Category 4 is BAD for Charleston. My mom told me it was 5 feet below sea level, but I don't think it's true. This storm might challenges that huge new bridge that goes over Cooper River.


the new bridge is stronger than the old ones by far and they made it thru Hugo...would rather have the eye than be north of the eye...parts of chas is below sea level...the battery protects the down town part, but heard on the news last week that if a cat 3 hurricane hit our area that sullivan's island would be 12 ft UNDER water
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Quoting lat25five:
lurking for yrs rarely post but need concesus from all,

trying to decide how long to stay at beach house in Palmcoast(
S.of St. Augustine)or return to Miami. I had a bad feeling about Ireane so prepped properity and boats before I left.
quantry is how much time do you think before I have to make the decision to return or stay, Miami is a fortress after Andrew
w/ generator on a barrier island now w/o genset,partial shutters and not totally comfortible with structual stability in a mid 900 mlbr H. I figure to wait to see models after Hispanalo.
sound like a plan?










You can wait until Tuesday, by then the track will be more certain for Florida.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


San Juan is getting some pretty strong gusts but no new bands of rain.But it will not be long before the real deal arrives.
bad for us...look like hurricane...
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Irene doesn't need a closed eyewall to be a hurricane.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
not if the crowns are damaged...


Wouldn't that only be for the king and queen palms? :|
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Quoting kmanislander:


Lost $2.00 today but the winners had to buy the beers LOL.

Watch Irene very closely, it has your address, or close to you , written all over it. Earlier I thought it would pass South of PR but the pressure has fallen quite quickly and with that deepening of the system the steering flow has changed. Now looking like over PR and to the N side of Hispaniola.

Still a preliminary conclusion but this looks like it is ramping up tonight. PR will not pose much of an obstacle for Irene.


Thanks Kman

Glad you were the big winner, hope is was Chilly's money you won!!
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Quoting Grandpato4:
Why would Cantori go to Tampa Bay? The storm should be well to the east.


ez connector flights to anywhere in FL. And some of the best lap dancers and strip clubs in the country.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1548
Recon on the way to the SW again and will probably do a new center fix for pressure and direction.
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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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