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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4673. 900MB
Quoting 7544:


agree


I base my hurricane call on the massive blowup in convection over the center. It is obvious that Irene is far more organized than I'll ever be!
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Based on what I am seeing now I expect to see the NHC/TPC 2300 track adjusted well to the east.
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Dang we have to wait till 11 for update huh
Member Since: August 17, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 22
When is the next official advisory? It seems to be moving north of the forecasted points
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Quoting earthlydragonfly:


Its only a tropical storm


most parts of charleston sc are joined together by bridges...if we have sustained winds of 40mph or greater all bridges are closed down and we are at a stand still...no one execpt emerg personelle go to work
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Eye wall is 50% complete.
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18z GFDL moved west some, putting a cat 3 bearing down on Panama City FL.
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4664. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #1
TROPICAL DEPRESSION MINA
11:00 PM PhST August 21 2011
=====================================

The Low Pressure Area East of Visayas has developed into a Tropical Depression and was named "MINA"

At 10:00 PM PhST, Tropical Depression Mina located at 13.2°N 128.9°E or 380 km east northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots. The depression is reported as moving north northwest slowly

Additional Information
======================

TD "Mina" is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and will bring scattered to widespread rains over Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-20 mm per hour within the 300 km diameter of the tropical depression.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 AM tomorrow.
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anyone here.
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Quoting Lizpr:
I think some parts of Caguas they don't have power.


hi liz! long time no see. good to have u back
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4661. Torgen
Quoting shfr173:
hot off the press cantori headed to TB


Just to visit the strip clubs.
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4660. Gorty
Geez, Irene is starting to look scary guys. She is really doing a good job getting better organized.
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I want to take Irene out to see on a date
Member Since: August 17, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 22
umm....stalling????

I hope not because that would give the ridge time enough to build in and then...GULP! Could someone then say GOM?


Link
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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! :)
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Quoting TropicalGenesis:
Local radio reported Banco Popular asked employees to report to work at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. I guess the financial crisis part II has the bank more concerned about profits! Go figure - - Hopefully, they will get a message out changing their minds. Not good press for the largest bank on the island.


Its only a tropical storm
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Quoting WCSCTVCharleston:






The GFDL model does not initialize the storm correctly. Has central pressure at 1004 mb with 35kt winds a weak storm would go further west as the GFDL indicates but Irene is much stronger than that. You can throw the GFDL out of the window right now.


That has been my thinking and why I feel it will remain offshore...
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4654. 7544
Quoting 900MB:
Wow, she is blowin up now! Hurricane in my book as of this minute.


agree
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4653. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Quoting Marziedotz:



I live in Osprey and have flying ants. Am trying to figure out if weather related. Also major bothered by no see ems. Am looking for Avon product that my water aerobics friends say protects from all these critters. Also is good furniture polish. hmmm. Is that stuff good for your skin in the Tropics?
I read somewhere that if you put a dryer sheet hanging out of a pocket it keeps bugs away. Don't know if it works but I guess it's worth a try.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
4650. Mucinex
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
I hear some palm trees raking in the wind...and rain. Getting nasty.

Well, your palms will probably be missing more than a few fronds in the morning, but thats okay. Palms are designed to loss their frond in high wind. They will be back in a few months and look just like new.
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Quoting yesterway:


Majority of models well east. GFDL in the gulf. Is this why?






The GFDL model does not initialize the storm correctly. Has central pressure at 1004 mb with 35kt winds a weak storm would go further west as the GFDL indicates but Irene is much stronger than that. You can throw the GFDL out of the window right now.
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Quoting Drakoen:
I'm not that impressed with Irene. Even though there is partial eyewall on the north eastern part of the LLC from the hot tower observered earlier the entire southwest side is open. Irene is still struggling with dry air.


Irenes radar presentation has deteriorated. Ever since she inhaled that dry air from the slot in the NW quadrant she seems to be struggling. I believe she is also starting to feel the effects of puerto rico. She may very well have a tough night.
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4646. emcf30
Current Weather Conditions:
Christiansted, Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, Virgin Islands
(TISX) 17-42N 064-48W 17M
Conditions at

2011.08.22 0059 UTC
Wind from the S (180 degrees) at 28 MPH (24 KT) gusting to 43 MPH (37 KT)
Visibility 1 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Heavy rain
Mist
Precipitation last hour 0.06 inches
Temperature 78 F (26 C)
Dew Point 77 F (25 C)
Relative Humidity 94%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.64 in. Hg (1003 hPa)
Pressure tendency rising rapidly

9 PM (1) Aug 21 78 (26) 77 (25) 29.64 (1003) S 28 heavy rain; mist
8 PM (0) Aug 21 77 (25) 75 (24) 29.6 (1002) SSE 33 heavy rain; mist
7 PM (23) Aug 21 79.0 (26.1) 77.0 (25.0) 29.47 (997) WSW 17
6 PM (22) Aug 21 78 (26) 77 (25) 29.47 (997) W 16 light rain; mist
5 PM (21) Aug 21 78 (26) 75 (24) 29.53 (1000) NNW 21 light rain; mist
4 PM (20) Aug 21 78.1 (25.6) 75.0 (23.9) 29.69 (1005) NNE 13 rain; mist
3 PM (19) Aug 21 77.0 (25.0) 73.9 (23.3) 29.73 (1006) NNE 13 rain; mist
2 PM (18) Aug 21 77.0 (25.0) 75.0 (23.9) 29.78 (1008) NE 15 rain; mist
1 PM (17) Aug 21 75.9 (24.4) 73.0 (22.8) 29.82 (1009) NE 9 light rain
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A severe thunderstorm just slammed my area. No winds, but TONS of rains and lightings... I can only image this kind of storm with alot more winds/rain.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8075
Quoting Levi32:
This is the kind of convection that Irene has been lacking in her core all day, but it is now blooming.

Ya, Irene go boom.



Loop: http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/lo op_timestamp_640.asp?data_folder=rmtc/rmtcsasec4ir 404

That keeps up, she could be near cane strength by morning.
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4643. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Good lord 1400 comments while I had dinner!

I guess

Florida landfall 25% chance
Georgia landfall 10% chance
South Carolina landfall 50% chance
North Carolina landfall 10% chance

With 5% left over for Irene dying, going out to sea or heading through the Florida straits into the Gulf. All unlikely options.

What do you think?
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Hi Kman,

HOw is your golf game?? What do you think for us here in TCI??

Hope all is well in Cayman
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Quoting serialteg:


wheres that

Vieques
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
4638. Hhunter
gonna be bad in carolinas.....
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4637. Vero1
Quoting MississippiWx:


The Carolinas = one state, right?


Yes, Like Florida North and South
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Quoting serialteg:


u in pr also?


Charleston SC...ex hub's fam was in PR at the time... Truillio Alto
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I still think Irene has a few tricks up her sleave. Just don't think she will make that dramatic north and northeast turn that most of the models depict. The GFS and ECWMF are notorious for overdoing the troughs. As mentioned on here before, we will know once she is east of Hispaniola (if she skirts north then Northeast Florida and east) if she goes through it a Florida storm).
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Quoting TropicalGenesis:
Local radio reported Banco Popular asked employees to report to work at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. I guess the financial crisis part II has the bank more concerned about profits! Go figure - - Hopefully, they will get a message out changing their minds. Not good press for the largest bank on the island.

I could imagine the Headlines:
"Lousy Bank Makes Employees Work In Aftermath Of Storm"
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting msphar:
Esperanza starting to feel the affects of the large central core. winds 9 Kts. NE gusting to 21 kt.


wheres that
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
I hear some palm trees raking in the wind...and rain. Getting nasty.


wind estimates 30???
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4631. 900MB
Wow, she is blowin up now! Hurricane in my book as of this minute.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


The Carolinas = one state, right?


He has taught me well. I never say the Carolinas!..LOL
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The latest run of the gfdl is a bit scary. The right side being the worst side, a huge storm like it predicts doesn't need to make landfall to wreak havoc. If it is stronger and a little more east... catastrophic. No one in west central Florida should be taking this lightly.
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Quoting tiggeriffic:


eye of hugo passed over me...don't wanna see another like that one


u in pr also?
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Put the lights on...

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Quoting presslord:


please let me know as soon as you pick one ;-)


hey ya press...we will have to watch those fiddlers this week coming...gotta full marsh behind where i work...keeping my eyes peeled
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Quoting Drakoen:
I'm not that impressed with Irene. Even though there is partial eyewall on the north eastern part of the LLC from the hot tower observered earlier the entire southwest side is open. Irene is still struggling with dry air.


Exactly Drak. Nice storm but nothing to overhype right now! This, I believe is why some of the models are still trending West.
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Quoting presslord:


please let me know as soon as you pick one ;-)


I'll let you know by Wednesday!;-)
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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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