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 presslord:


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


I'll let you know by Wednesday!;-)
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4622. msphar
Esperanza starting to feel the affects of the large central core. winds 9 Kts. NE gusting to 21 kt.
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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.
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Recon starting to find some stronger winds as they head into the northeastern quadrant. Wouldn't be surprised if they found 50-60 knot winds in the [north]eastern eyewall.

010930 1814N 06353W 8426 01573 0104 +154 //// 140040 044 041 010 01
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Quoting presslord:


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


The Carolinas = one state, right?
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I hear some palm trees raking in the wind...and rain. Getting nasty.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting weatherguy03:
I still believe South Carolina/North Carolina is going to feel the brunt of Irene.


Possibly Extreme Eastern Georgia thrown in.
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4616. doubtit
Link
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Quoting scCane:
I know XD but they need to keep in mind Hugo was a category 3 while making landfall which is a big difference(/understatement).


needs to be pointed out with a pair of 50ft arrows
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Quoting FLdewey:


Great post. I'm thinking she'll miss us to the east, which is fine by me. This of course is based on no scientific data, but it has the same chance of being correct. ;-)


Hahahah so true...
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Quoting weatherguy03:
I still believe South Carolina/North Carolina is going to feel the brunt of Irene.


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

I know this is an apoctyliptic modelbut is this possible a cape cod storm
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
It looks like it will clip the NE coener of PR If so she will be in the clear to go just North of H & DR And we will get RI just MOP!
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Cat 3 or higher canes can do that...but not TS


Lol...I've been joking the whole time about the pumping the ridge thing, but even for a Cat 4, it's difficult to achieve.
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GOM is out of the woods because Levi said so in his Tidbits. All of West coast Florida can rest at ease and theres no reason to waste your money on supplies.
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I still believe South Carolina/North Carolina is going to feel the brunt of Irene.
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TS.Irene's_12amGMT_ATCF : Starting 21August_12amGMT and ending 22August_12amGMT

The 4 eastern line-segments represent TropicalStormIrene's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6pmGMT then 12amGMT :
TS.Irene's travel-speed was 15mph(24.1k/h) on a heading of 288.0degrees(WNW)
TS.Irene was headed toward passage over Humacao,PuertoRico ~2hours from now

Copy&paste pop, 15.0n59.0w-16.0n60.4w, 16.0n60.4w-16.8n62.4w, 16.8n62.4w-17.5n63.7w, 17.5n63.7w-17.9n65.0w, huc, 17.5n63.7w-18.135n65.774w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 21August_6pmGMT)
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Quoting MississippiWx:


PR will be more likely to see tornadoes in the eastern quadrant. They aren't impossible in the western quadrant, though.

I hope I don't get one...
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting LostTomorrows:
Everyone's so madly caught up in Irene (granted, there is a good reason for that, she's organizing rather well for such a massive storm, and has a very dangerous track to boot) that they seem to have not realized that our homeboy Harvey has managed to survive his trip through Latin America and floated into the Bay of Campeche... still floating north, and already reorganizing.


North? nope Already across BoC
Link
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Quoting Methurricanes:
If Irene makes landfall in PR. as a Hurricane, would that count as a US landfall, or does it have to hit a State?
Not a U.S. land fall, Puerto Rico belongs to the U.S as a property,in other words a territory, but is not part of the U.S. as Hawaii or Alaska, since we are not an state.
Member Since: May 31, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1008
Quoting CaneAddict:


Anywhere in the CONE ..is not in the clear.


very well said and I did notice that the ECMWF suddenly cut to the left this mourning when showing the storm making landfall near savannah. It had the storm near atlanta in the next frame. This led me to believe that the model was picking up on something and my first guess is that the ridge would build back in. This is likely also probably why the storm is hitting the South East in the first place rather than turning out to sea.
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Quoting serialteg:


i felt hugo even more than georges, this storm's not the intensity of those cat 2 and 3 storms.

im anxious lol


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


PR will be more likely to see tornadoes in the eastern quadrant. They aren't impossible in the western quadrant, though.


thats where we see most tornadoes
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4598. Levi32
Back in a bit.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
4597. 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: 129909
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Canada?


Yes. Here's more. "Destroyed" might be a bit strong, but a whole lot of damage and injuries.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Who needs papers? It's obvious that it happens...


Cat 3 or higher canes can do that...but not TS
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With the drop in pressure Irene has stepped up to the next steering layer. Easy to see what is happening now, it is heading for the weakness.

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4592. scCane
Quoting P451:


You just made a lot of stomachs drop with that comment.

I know XD but they need to keep in mind Hugo was a category 3 while making landfall which is a big difference(/understatement).
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Same here I have a lot of problems with flying roaches and the roaches with the black and brown stripes, I have some old kitchen cabinets that I want to replace soon. Tonight the Bees are singing away...



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?
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4590. Lizpr
I think some parts of Caguas they don't have power.
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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.


maybe if u were here where we are lol

you'd be impressed when she finally goes over u
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Supposed to go to Tybee island next week.I guess we may have to change our plans.
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
4587. Relix
Getting gusty here in Toa Baja!
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4586. Drakoen
Quoting MississippiWx:


Who needs papers? It's obvious that it happens...


lol
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

The purple triangles you see every once in a while on radar. It's a Tornadic Vortex Signature.


PR will be more likely to see tornadoes in the eastern quadrant. They aren't impossible in the western quadrant, though.
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Quoting ecflweatherfan:


Thinking this thing could go the length of the island on its current track. That would be a Georges-esque move. And because it is weaker, it might be disrupted slightly more with PR than Georges ever was. Though PR is not a known "storm killer" like Hispanola is.


Dont know, but for now its a west movement, maybe N of due west. Will Pass a bit south of Vieques Island.
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Quoting emguy:
From an Irene standpoint...I'm really not all that impressed with the current shortwave trough moving through the eastern US. It kinda looks flat and looks like it may be starting to pull to the NE already.

Later down the road as Irene moves into the next weakness (break in ridge), the Bermuda high will be building back in, so I am a little speculative of the models showing an almost due north coast to the Carolinas. NW seems to be a better fit. It just seems too sharp for the pattern, especially if the "ridge bridge", better known as a "wrap around high" does develop later on. Special note on the "ridge bridge" otherwise...this could potentially slow a storms forward speed, which could increase flood threats in impacted areas of the US.


Exactly point!!! Its not going to be a quick curve it off to the Northeast kind of storm.
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Quoting PcolaDan:

And if you see them parachuting out of the sky, you are in a bad "B" movie.


where's the chocolate
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4581. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129909
Quoting P451:


LOL it's on track to go right through that sweet spot between the main ridge of mountains and the other rise in the NE area.



Lol. It was taking a peak at Puerto Rico's topography with it's false eye to plan out its path.
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Unfortunately, I don't think Puerto Rico will escape a direct hit from Irene.
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4578. jonelu
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
The current NHC track has her at TS until past Puerto Rico; anyone here think that she will make Hurricane status before or during her pass of the Island?....She is really looking good on the loops right now but I don't know how much interaction with PR (vs Haiti or Cuba) would hinder intensification when she clearly wants to go there very soon.
She is borderline now...I think its certainly possible unless her brush with PR keeps her at bay.
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Quoting P451:


You just made a lot of stomachs drop with that comment.



i felt hugo even more than georges, this storm's not the intensity of those cat 2 and 3 storms.

im anxious lol
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that a huge hot tower
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting weatherh98:
wx nerd yo powers but to go bubye

XD Nah
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



I doubt they will move it. If they did, it would be no further than the TVCN, just offshore EFL


Majority of models well east. GFDL in the gulf. Is this why?
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Quoting weatherguy03:


Occasionally is the key word. You can see how that is working out tonite!..LOL If you have a Facebook account hit me up there EJ. I update all the time on the tropics.


I do not post here anymore either. Same blog, different season...I am on facebook and linked in. I'll follow you there.
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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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