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.

Links
Long-range radar out of Puerto Rico

Jeff Masters

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Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
4322. Thrawst
Quoting presslord:


I swear to God you will survive this injustice...


Press, you always know how to make me laugh.. lol.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1908
Quoting Ameister12:
Sounds very tragic.

GODERICH, Ont. — A severe storm some suspect may have involved a tornado struck the Ontario community of Goderich Sunday afternoon, causing widespread damage in the town centre.

Col. Morris Brause, commanding officer of the Essex-Kent Scottish regiment, was caught in the midst of the storm as he drove through Goderich, a community on Lake Huron, while hail, the size of golf balls, rained down.

He described the scene as chaotic. Roofs were torn off the tops of houses, trees were uprooted, windows in the business centre were blown out.

“The downtown has been completely devastated,” Brause said by telephone. “There’s no doubt in my mind this was a tornado. Goderich has been very badly hit.”

The Ontario Provincial Police is asking the public to stay away from the town as emergency crews attempt to respond to calls. Traffic is being detoured and police are not allowing motorists to enter the downtown area.

Witnesses to the storm have been posting their accounts on Facebook.

One witness said she was still shaking after the storm passed through her yard.

“Mass destruction. Goderich is completely shut down. I have no hydro but hear that houses are gone.”

Brause said the sky darkened very quickly as he drove on Highway 21, approaching the bridge that leads into Goderich’s downtown area. It began to hail so hard that it appeared as though the surroundings were being blanketed in a grey fog.

“We couldn’t drive,” he said, adding that cars had to stop at the side of the road because it was impossible to see.

“It was the worst kind of hailstorm,” he said, adding that it reminded him of a scene in the movie Twister. “People are shaking their heads in disbelief.”

Goderich is about 225 kilometres west of Toronto.
© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star

Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/news/Suspected+tornado+ tears+through+Ontario+community/5286266/story.html #ixzz1ViMLMmKN

A Tornado was also Spotted around Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TerraNova:


I know we'd be getting it relatively easy up here in NJ if the consensus track played out, but that would be a near parallel of Floyd for the Northeast which caused catastrophic flooding.


I'm in NJ too and if this pans out at best we will get a little more damp than usual around here...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4319. breald
Quoting PRweathercenter:

http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/


ssance Decoder & Archive for the Atlantic Basin
Decoded recon data in the last 30 minutes:

Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15)
Updated on our site 6 minutes ago

Air Force Dropsonde Report (UZNT13)
Updated on our site 14 minutes ago

Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12)
Updated on our site 6 minutes ago

System Status: Updating every 2 to 3 minutes.
Last Update: August 22, 2011 0:38 GMT

Complete List of Live Decoders:
URNT15 - High Density (HDOB) Messages
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC
URNT12 - Vortex Messages
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC
UZNT13 - Dropsonde Reports
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC
URNT11 - Tropical RECCO Observations
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC

Notes:
Data check every 1, 2/3, 5, or 10 minutes depending on activity.
Our first system check of every hour is always at :02.
Live Reconnaissance Archive:

Miss a storm's recon? Easily catch up by viewing a decoded recon product using our enhanced interface in our real time archive.

Enter the Archive

Did our site miss an observation? Add it into our system!

Live Reconnaissance in Google Earth:

View Atlantic recon tasked by the NHC in Google Earth.

Live Recon Data in Google Earth ( View Tutorial )


Thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fajardo:
26 mph sustained
38mph gusts
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
4317. jonelu
This is going to be one of those that has all of us on the coast of FL not knowing until the last minute. 50 miles in one direction and we get hurricane force winds and 50 miles in the other we get nothing more than an afternoon rumbler.
Member Since: October 31, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 884
Bye guys, stay safe, it's bad outside
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting hurricanejunky:


Irene looks to be moving almost due west to my untrained eyes...






i dont mean too be blog cop but i would re move that or you end up with a 24hr banned i think drtleg post a photo of JFV and has soon has the admin saw it he got banned
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115354
Quoting hotrods:
Looks like the TVCN model is staying put along the east coast Fl.


In fact, it appears as if it has shifted slightly westward this evening as opposed to earlier this afternoon. But there is still a decent spread to the models beyond day 4, so it is anyone's game really. I also noted too the same with the GFDL... it has also shifted WWD back into the far eastern GOMEX. Still think the UKMET and GFDL are outliers, but waiting to see if other models begin to shift slightly westward as well. Time will tell
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4313. Levi32
Quoting scott39:
285 is pretty close to due W isnt it?


270 is due west, so 285 is a 15-degree angle north of west.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
4312. 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: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting hurricanejunky:


Irene looks to be moving almost due west to my untrained eyes...


Lol...I still laugh every time I see that picture, but my computer doesn't like having to show that face. It makes my poor computer sick. :-(
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting Ameister12:
Reed Timmer
Reported large tornado has just destroyed the town of Goderich, Ontario.. More soon
44 minutes ago

Via Twitter

A page full of damage photos here. (Looks like EF-3 damage in most of the photos.)
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4309. will40
4257. GTcooliebai 12:43 AM GMT on August 22, 2011'


yes that is the correct layer
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So...we finally get action in the Atlantic and it is the week that I help my freshman daughter move into her dorm at Catholic University. How typical...she moves in Thursday LOL
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:



Slight westward shift 00Z. NHC should maintain their current track @ 11pm.


Its going to be hard for the models to shift too far East with the Subtropical High locked in place. Once we finally got a definite center with Irene, when it was organizing last night and this morning it relocated farther North, that's when we saw that bit of an Eastward shift. I really don't see many more big shifts coming with this track unless Irene really dies over Hispaniola and then maybe the track changes a bit. But that I don't see happening either. So for the next 48 hours for the U.S its going to be tweaking that forecast and seeing if Irene will make it all the way to Florida or East of Florida, and then is trouble for points North(Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina). Intensity is an entire different matter and that will depend on its interaction with Hispaniola.
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levi if u can take a look at this (if you can) the ridge appears to be alittle stronger and could move back quicker what do u think
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4304. GoWVU
Quoting presslord:


I swear to God you will survive this injustice...


too funny!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sounds very tragic.

GODERICH, Ont. — A severe storm some suspect may have involved a tornado struck the Ontario community of Goderich Sunday afternoon, causing widespread damage in the town centre.

Col. Morris Brause, commanding officer of the Essex-Kent Scottish regiment, was caught in the midst of the storm as he drove through Goderich, a community on Lake Huron, while hail, the size of golf balls, rained down.

He described the scene as chaotic. Roofs were torn off the tops of houses, trees were uprooted, windows in the business centre were blown out.

“The downtown has been completely devastated,” Brause said by telephone. “There’s no doubt in my mind this was a tornado. Goderich has been very badly hit.”

The Ontario Provincial Police is asking the public to stay away from the town as emergency crews attempt to respond to calls. Traffic is being detoured and police are not allowing motorists to enter the downtown area.

Witnesses to the storm have been posting their accounts on Facebook.

One witness said she was still shaking after the storm passed through her yard.

“Mass destruction. Goderich is completely shut down. I have no hydro but hear that houses are gone.”

Brause said the sky darkened very quickly as he drove on Highway 21, approaching the bridge that leads into Goderich’s downtown area. It began to hail so hard that it appeared as though the surroundings were being blanketed in a grey fog.

“We couldn’t drive,” he said, adding that cars had to stop at the side of the road because it was impossible to see.

“It was the worst kind of hailstorm,” he said, adding that it reminded him of a scene in the movie Twister. “People are shaking their heads in disbelief.”

Goderich is about 225 kilometres west of Toronto.
© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star

Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/news/Suspected+tornado+ tears+through+Ontario+community/5286266/story.html #ixzz1ViMLMmKN
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4301. scott39
Quoting P451:


Yes.

So does Recon.

That is the true surface center.

The large open region that was being followed was not the true surface center. That's why as the large area appeared to move WSW on radar the storm continued to move WNW....because the true surface center continued WNW.

If you recall earlier, Levi32 mentioned the true center was in the south east corner of the large open region that many were calling an eye and used to extrapolate storm heading.

He was correct and that is the feature that has now shown itself NNW of the western tip of St. Croix. That is the feature Recon dropped a vortex message on. That is the feature adjacent to the hot tower. That is the feature the NHC and ATCF has labeled as the center.

All have WNW/285 movement. This is confirmed in radar loops.

You can see the larger feature has lost it's rotation and is filling in and sagging to the SW now. On satellite imagery it's being filled in as well.

285 is pretty close to due W isnt it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
yea, but making me do summer AP homework when it was CANCELLED a week ago. My parents didn't believe me. I have to do 150 questions in 3 day.


I swear to God you will survive this injustice...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
4299. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Good thing Harvey didn't go further north...Wow.



Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Irene missing Hispaniola appears to be becoming more likely.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
yea, but making me do summer AP homework when it was CANCELLED a week ago. My parents didn't believe me. I have to do 150 questions in 3 day.


Do you have written documentation to show them that it was cancelled?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4294. Patrap
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Wind picking up, so is the rain. She's a coming!


Good Luck,,be safe, and we'll see yas on the other side of the Rainbow WNPR.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Sorry... my parents are being a-hole to me. I'll come back later.


You'll appreciate what they do now when you're all grown up and a successful and happy well adjusted person.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lucreto:
Wow system looking worse with each frame, no whites on funktop.


You're doing just fine man, sames to have it all figured out, I say send the Recon home and close up shop, how about it man?!
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4291. xcool
WeatherNerdPR stay safe
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Quoting presslord:


that's our job
yea, but making me do summer AP homework when it was CANCELLED a week ago. My parents didn't believe me. I have to do 150 questions in 3 day.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8041
Quoting Orlando11:
time to poast I guess. def moving 280-285 degrees and has for 24 hours. I see it skirting the FL coast (50 miles) and hitting the SC coast as a cat2 or cat3. long time lurker been nice to learn the last few years.



even radar is showing that
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4287. P451
Quoting USAFwxguy:


Does NHC have the CoC up there?


Yes.

So does Recon.

That is the true surface center.

The large open region that was being followed was not the true surface center. That's why as the large area appeared to move WSW on radar the storm continued to move WNW....because the true surface center continued WNW.

If you recall earlier, Levi32 mentioned the true center was in the south east corner of the large open region that many were calling an eye and used to extrapolate storm heading.

He was correct and that is the feature that has now shown itself NNW of the western tip of St. Croix. That is the feature Recon dropped a vortex message on. That is the feature adjacent to the hot tower. That is the feature the NHC and ATCF has labeled as the center.

All have WNW/285 movement. This is confirmed in radar loops.

You can see the larger feature has lost it's rotation and is filling in and sagging to the SW now. On satellite imagery it's being filled in as well.

Member Since: December 16, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 10202
Quoting presslord:


that's our job


+1000
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Quoting breald:
I just down loaded google earth to my laptop but cannot pull up the models. Is there something else I should download?

http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/


ssance Decoder & Archive for the Atlantic Basin
Decoded recon data in the last 30 minutes:

Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15)
Updated on our site 6 minutes ago

Air Force Dropsonde Report (UZNT13)
Updated on our site 14 minutes ago

Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12)
Updated on our site 6 minutes ago

System Status: Updating every 2 to 3 minutes.
Last Update: August 22, 2011 0:38 GMT

Complete List of Live Decoders:
URNT15 - High Density (HDOB) Messages
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC
URNT12 - Vortex Messages
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC
UZNT13 - Dropsonde Reports
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC
URNT11 - Tropical RECCO Observations
KNHC / KBIX / KWBC

Notes:
Data check every 1, 2/3, 5, or 10 minutes depending on activity.
Our first system check of every hour is always at :02.
Live Reconnaissance Archive:

Miss a storm's recon? Easily catch up by viewing a decoded recon product using our enhanced interface in our real time archive.

Enter the Archive

Did our site miss an observation? Add it into our system!

Live Reconnaissance in Google Earth:

View Atlantic recon tasked by the NHC in Google Earth.

Live Recon Data in Google Earth ( View Tutorial )
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Actually... it is those that laugh last, laugh best :)

Quoting stormpetrol:

Those that laugh last, laugh the loudest!
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4283. GoWVU
Quoting presslord:


that's our job

Press, WELL SAID!! My 15 year probably says the same about me, lol
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Wind picking up, so is the rain. She's a coming!
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
hurricane at 11pm update all in favor???????
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she showing only a very slight northward motion
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
will you be out in the storm like you were in Emily, giving us reports?


well i'll try to film from the celly and yes im always blogging during storms. but when the power goes out i wont have a good light source so u can see whats going on. ill try to make it entertaining tho... tomorrow some aftermath videos

im sure theres a contingent of bro's who will do this as well :)
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Quoting presslord:


that's our job

Lol was thinking the same thing
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4276. hotrods
Progressive--I agree!
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Quoting weathergeek5:


I love that movie, I can watch it over & over, it just doesn't get old.
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time to poast I guess. def moving 280-285 degrees and has for 24 hours. I see it skirting the FL coast (50 miles) and hitting the SC coast as a cat2 or cat3. long time lurker been nice to learn the last few years.
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I figured somebody on here would know where to look for this. On the NHC site's 5-day cone graphic, there used to be an animate button that would show where previous cone tracks had been in relation to where it was in the most current update. Does anybody know if they ditched that feature or if I'm just missing it somewhere on the page?
(I liked to see how the cone moved from update to update as they got more confidence in the track.)
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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.