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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3873. ackee
look at the blow up of convection E of PR maybe centre is trying to relocate there
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the new updates sould be out any time now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115076
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Well, Wilmington is not on coast, but 20 miles upriver on Cape Fear. Carolina Beach/Wrightsville Beach will get destoryed... it's on sea level and no hurricane wall.

Stop scaring people, I know you have not been here long. It's one of several model runs, it WILL change.
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""

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
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
so if that materializes TS force winds would be felt in Se florida


According the the CURRENT NHC track, my NWS office says 35-38mph winds with gusts as high as 55, and I'm on the West Coast, tropical storm force winds extend 150 miles from the center as of now.
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If it misses a few forecast points south than we are where we were a few day ago

Quoting Levi32:


I agree.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 703
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!!


What the! LOL
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3865. Levi32
Quoting Seflhurricane:
so if that materializes TS force winds would be felt in Se florida


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.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Complete Update

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI





Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting presslord:
just lost the St Croix station


AN Eye is trying to develop in the se portion of the COC. St Croix is getting slammed. Some pretty cold cloudtops over them
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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!!
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3859. wpb
gfdl 18z run spots running?
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Quoting P451:


WOW.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32001
3857. msphar
Anna's Retreat south of St. John is reporting 31 kt wind E with gust to 39 kt.
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Just looking at the N and NE half of this storm, I can tell it won't matter much in terms of rainfall whether this tracks to the SW of us [Bahamas] or right through us.... That's a lot of rain this storm is packing...

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Quoting Levi32:


I agree.
so if that materializes TS force winds would be felt in Se florida
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
thanks miami
00z not 18z. My bad.
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3853. JLPR2
HHs turned around and are headed towards the LLC again.

Blogging until I loose power. XD
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3852. Levi32
Quoting 34chip:
Levi if its slowing down what does that do if anything to the track of the storm? It looks like its south of the forcast points headed west. Thanks for your help.


As I mentioned, short-term trends aren't immensely important unless they become long-term trends. Here, I would say that all it means is that Irene's center is still trying to organize, and is trying to wrap in stronger convective bands in attempts to construct an eyewall. That kind of organization can cause the center to slow down a bit at times.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
18z dynamic plots should be money with the new coordinates. We're gonna have to wait 45 minutes or so though.
thanks miami
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Not sure what you are looking at but they have the storm on shore in Florida at 120 Hr

Quoting Seflhurricane:
they are not WELL off shore they are still very close
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 703
Quoting P451:
huge wind field yikes
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Levi or Patrick, if you are around. I have one good site reporting a Category 2 at landfall in Florida. Any chance that happens?
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3846. Levi32
Quoting Drakoen:


I agree with the ECMWF and GFS taking the system somewhat close to Florida before moving up northward possibly into South Carolina. The reason the models are farther east than a cuople days ago is due to the relocation of Irene's center farther north. Keep in mind that the models where pulling it up northwestward into Florida from a southerly position, now that has changed a bit a the models are pulling it northwest from a more northerly position.


I agree.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting Seflhurricane:
Miami how is it looking for South florida model wise any changes with the new runs
00z dynamic plots should be money with the new coordinates. We're gonna have to wait 45 minutes or so though.
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3844. 34chip
Quoting Levi32:


That loop perfectly captures what I mean about her slowing down a bit during the last little while.
Levi if its slowing down what does that do if anything to the track of the storm? It looks like its south of the forcast points headed west. Thanks for your help.
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Quoting nola70119:


I think it is.....the storm is not really doing much as far as getting it together, and the conditions aren't going to get any better in the next day.


I would call a 10mb drop through the day, and forming an eyewall, 'getting it together'.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
well, I don't know sadly. It have been there for months.


It needs to go away! LOL! I hate the heat here and we havent had much rain if any at all !! we are -40 inches...everything just dry....
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3839. ackee
Quoting Tazmanian:
i say Irene is the best storm of the sea so far
agree may be more to come
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3838. ncstorm
We are having a storm here..the sky is red with low level clouds..I will talk to yall later

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15284
3837. Drakoen
Quoting BenBIogger:


Hey Drakoen.

Whats your thinking on Irene track?


I agree with the ECMWF and GFS taking the system somewhat close to Florida before moving up northward possibly into South Carolina. The reason the models are farther east than a cuople days ago is due to the relocation of Irene's center farther north. Keep in mind that the models where pulling it up northwestward into Florida from a southerly position, now that has changed a bit a the models are pulling it northwest from a more northerly position.
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Quoting Levi32:


The kind of observation I just made is one of those meso-analysis comments about something that occurs in a very short time interval. It only becomes significantly relevant to longer-term behavior if it persists for a long while.
your fallback career a politician ?? :)
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Quoting IFuSAYso:


Still air, may have use jato rockets
Link
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""
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3833. msphar
Culibra is reporting 12 kt winds NNE with gust of 33 kts.
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Quoting TropicalGenesis:
Looks like Irene is still fighting dry air on the west but a new semi-circle appears to be tightening up inside the circulation center. If this is the case then the center has been over St. Croix with little movement for the past few hours.


Looks that way to me also, or it could be sheered.....Dr. Masters won't post till he sees something definitive.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Well, Wilmington is not on coast, but 20 miles upriver on Cape Fear. Carolina Beach/Wrightsville Beach will get destoryed... it's on sea level and no hurricane wall.


I have a Wilmington address and live 4 miles from the atlantic
Ocean....
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8pm intermediate advisory should be out shortly
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Quoting ncstorm:
oh ok. And Raleigh/Charlotte WAS supposed to take in people into our local schools. Look like that's not the case anymore.
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seems as if the circulation developed right over the island and paused a bit to organize
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4567
Quoting Skyepony:
I'm in awe how the Hurricane Hunters took off from the COC of Irene..


Still air, may have use jato rockets
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Quoting thedawnawakening3:
Dry air was impacting her earlier today, doesn't seem to be the case later today, this evening.


I think it is.....the storm is not really doing much as far as getting it together, and the conditions aren't going to get any better in the next day.
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Looks like Irene is still fighting dry air on the west but a new semi-circle appears to be tightening up inside the circulation center. If this is the case then the center has been over St. Croix with little movement for the past few hours.
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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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