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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3922. wpb
will the gfdl jump into the model camp east of florida or keep its western most track? have not seen the 18z run
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Quoting weatherh98:
whereis weathernerd pr, can we get live updates haah



He's around
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3919. MahFL
I'd say 11 pm will be 70 mph.
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Many of the homes in the Bahamas are built like concrete forts.
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3917. hahaguy
Seems the models have Irene taking a pretty sharp turn north. I thought it was going to turn it north gradually?
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3916. aquak9
Quoting USAFwxguy:
17.7, 65

My fix.


from looking at rgb, I totally agree. So then, how is it gonna skirt over the NORTHERN part of hispaniola, given it's present location?

TIA, hahaha
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 169 Comments: 26126
3915. WxLogic
18Z GFDL Init:

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expect a hurricane watch for the NW bahamas tomorrow morning
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Quoting weatherh98:
whereis weathernerd pr, can we get live updates haah

You asked? Pretty quite ATM.
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Again I cant even remember the amount of times a storm this far out has Charleston SC in its path and it always goes to nc or out to sea
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3911. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Puerto Rico is going to take a direct hit
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3909. msphar
Yabucoa reports 7 kts N with 14 kt gusts.
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3908. reid221
8PM .. Irene 60 mph .. 995mb .. WNW 15 MPH
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She is just about closed the eyewall on the north east end tip on st-croix...she never looked so good..bad sign for us :(
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Watches now in effect for the central bahamas and TS warnings for the Se bahams and the turks and caicos
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whereis weathernerd pr, can we get live updates haah
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...CENTER OF IRENE MOVING PAST ST. CROIX...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS SPREADING OVER EASTERN PUERTO RICO...
8:00 PM AST Sun Aug 21
Location: 17.8°N 64.9°W
Max sustained: 60 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 995 mb
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.8N 64.9W
ABOUT 10 MI...15 KM NW OF ST. CROIX
ABOUT 90 MI...145 KM ESE OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60 MPH...95 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...995 MB...29.38 INCHES
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
..CENTER OF IRENE MOVING PAST ST. CROIX...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS
SPREADING OVER EASTERN PUERTO RICO...


SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.8N 64.9W
ABOUT 10 MI...15 KM NW OF ST. CROIX
ABOUT 90 MI...145 KM ESE OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60 MPH...95 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...995 MB...29.38 INCHES
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Quoting weatherh98:
""

Wait hold on breaking news the dry air that was inthe center maybe getting epelled and possibly the coc is under the newly developed hot tower otherwise the coc is moving wsw


Its just south of that tower.
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3898. Relix
8:00 PM AST Sun Aug 21
Location: 17.8°N 64.9°W
Max sustained: 60 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 995 mb
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3896. WxLogic
8:00 PM AST Sun Aug 21
Location: 17.8°N 64.9°W
Max sustained: 60 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 995 mb
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Looking at all Irene models on Google Earth. The "NGPI" model has been fairly accurate thus far. Not sure if that will hold true in the future but you can check out the model here.

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/~acevans/models/

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Quoting iamtheman99:

yes
so I take it then that S. Florida still isnt out of the woods yet for a direct landfall?
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3893. bassis
Quoting presslord:
all this talk of Irene is fine, I suppose...but...What are y'alls thoughts on the Kardashian wedding???


Hey share the bottle of rum would ya. I'm hoping for a mountain to rip her apart and stay out of the Carolina's.
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3892. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting Thrawst:
The site I use to look at wind forecast now shows the eye of Irene moving directly over the island of New Providence... as does the GFS model as well. 976 mb and 80+ kts.
GFS has been showing this solution off and on since last weekend... cycled through it every 4th or 5th run, more or less. It's been getting my attention.
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3889. Skyepony (Mod)
Couple of brief tornado vorticies going across PR there.
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What about the Herbet box? Isn't Irene going through it now?
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Quoting HCW:






Between the three 12z models you posted, it now looks like the Euro, the most trusted by Dr. M, is the farther west. Had always been the one most east. I think
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3885. WxLogic
Quoting wpb:
gfdl 18z run spots running?


Not yet.
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3884. msphar
Fajardo reports 26 kts. NNE with gusts to 33 kt.
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Quoting Levi32:


Likely, given the size of the system, but such details are still beyond us, as we can't yet know for sure whether Florida will or won't get a direct landfall.
i know just trying to see distance with the models , just speculating
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3882. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5996
Tropical Depression HARVEY Storm Archive
...HARVEY STRENGTHENS A LITTLE...HEADED FOR SOUTHERN MEXICO...
7:00 PM CDT Sun Aug 21
Location: 19.0°N 94.2°W
Max sustained: 35 mph
Moving: WNW at 14 mph
Min pressure: 1005 mb
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting hunkerdown:
I bet not as there is no update of the tracks for the intermediate advisories


Not true. As a system approaches landfall tracking points and midpoints can be a part of all scheduled advisories.
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3875. MahFL



Irene winked at me :).
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Quoting alvarig1263:
BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION HARVEY INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 12A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL082011
700 PM CDT SUN AUG 21 2011

...HARVEY STRENGTHENS A LITTLE...HEADED FOR SOUTHERN MEXICO...


SUMMARY OF 700 PM CDT...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...19.0N 94.2W
ABOUT 60 MI...95 KM NNE OF COATZACOALCOS MEXICO
ABOUT 250 MI...400 KM SE OF TUXPAN MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 290 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1005 MB...29.68 INCHES



LOL!!
HUHHHH
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3873. ackee
look at the blow up of convection E of PR maybe centre is trying to relocate 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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