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 WeatherNerdPR:

lol


Your parents letting you skip school tomorrow? (If there is school)
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15945
3071. Dakster
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
She will spit that out very soon.


I thought this was a weather blog?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567
Quoting chrisdscane:
if my eyes r correct she took a jog w or wsw judging by radar and visible


Mine say the same thing.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Here ya go :D






trust me that is a full eye on the rader i re call seeing this with IKE that is no dry spot
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115341
if my eyes r correct she took a jog w or wsw judging by radar and visible
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Quoting MahFL:
The pressure on that bouy went down pretty fast.


*Is going down pretty fast.
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Quoting hotrods:
Levi has always gave good info on here as well as others, Keep up the great info Levi! you are well respected!
There is such thing as asking too much from one person like Levi, appreciate what he brings to the table but don't abuse him Please. Reading the Blog I am exhausted just with the questions thrown his way.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Here ya go :D

She will spit that out very soon.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
remember ike was a brute just north of where irene is now.
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Can someone post an image or a link for St croix Station...
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WeathernerdPR is about to get eaten by Irene :(
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

V-V-Very N-Nervous!


Lol...You must be a rookie with tropical systems. :-)
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Quoting Dakster:


Hmmm. and Irene is only a TS, maybe a Cat 1 at landfall in PR... I would hate to see you if a Cat 3+ was coming your way. Hang in there..

lol
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Meanwhile long live Harvey Dent, erm I mean Harvey.

...HARVEY EMERGES OVER THE SOUTHERN BAY OF CAMPECHE...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR A PORTION OF THE SOUTHERN COAST OF MEXICO...
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AM 970 News/Talk St. Croix...live Irene coverageLink
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Here ya go :D



There we go. Levi explained this earlier, but thanks for making a visual to go along with it to complement said explanation for bloggers.
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Quoting leftlink:


ok, now station CHSV3 at 5:18pm reported a reading of 29.49, which is 998.64, or the lowest pressure recorded yet, and the center was passing just north as winds were turning towards the northwest.


Pressure now 29.48" there.

With a 21 kt NNW wind I think that means the central pressure is now 996 mb.
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3055. WxLogic
@48HR Bridge but weak enough for a WNW:

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the center is really woobling on radar
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3053. Patrap
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
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3051. Dakster
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

V-V-Very N-Nervous!


Hmmm. and Irene is only a TS, maybe a Cat 1 at landfall in PR... I would hate to see you if a Cat 3+ was coming your way. Hang in there..
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567
Here ya go :D

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Minimal interaction with Hispaniola.



Minimal land interaction with Hispaniola has me very worried.

Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

V-V-ery N-Nervous!


Stay safe!!!
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3048. MahFL
The pressure on that bouy went down pretty fast.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3680
Quoting yesterway:


I'm thinking about you over there in Jupiter. I am not far from you. Things continue to improve as far as our interests are concerned. I have ever reason to expect that trend will continue.



Appreciate the thoughts, likewise. I am hoping they do as well, this is my daughters first week of school, VPK, and would be her first hurricane.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
00Z is 8 p.m. isn't it? Why r they taking off early?


Nope that's right for this time of year. (DST)
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3045. Dakster
Quoting ElConando:
I felt that it was dry air, I have seen an eye like dry patch before but I was wasn't too sure, but Drak and Levi have confirmed what I thought. I was fooled for a bit before I took a look at the microwave around 4pm.


I looked at the Microwave at 4pm too. Took out some pizza and popcorn..
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567
Public Inofrmation Statement from National Weather Service Tampa Bay Area.

000
NOUS42 KTBW 212101
PNSTBW
FLZ039-042-043-048>052-055>057-060>062-065-221200 -

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
501 PM EDT SUN AUG 21 2011

...NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO REVIEW YOUR HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS PLAN...

ALL EYES ARE ON THE TROPICS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK WITH TROPICAL
STORM IRENE CURRENTLY ABOUT 40 MILES EAST OF ST CROIX. THE CURRENT
PROJECTED PATH OF IRENE MOVES THE STORM UP INTO SOUTH FLORIDA
THURSDAY NIGHT AND INTO CENTRAL FLORIDA FRIDAY AFTERNOON. DUE TO
THE FACT THAT THIS STORM IS STILL FIVE DAYS AWAY...THE PROJECTED
PATH AND TIMING CAN AND WILL LIKELY BE ADJUSTED AS WE MOVE CLOSER
TO THE EVENT. ALL PERSONS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE LATEST
FORECASTS FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AND YOUR LOCAL
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN RUSKIN FOR DETAILS ON THIS
STORM AND HOW OR IF IT WILL AFFECT WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

IRREGARDLESS OF WHETHER THIS STORM ENDS UP HAVING AN IMPACT ON OUR
AREA...NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO GO OVER YOUR HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS
PLANS. VISITORS TO WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA ARE
ENCOURAGED TO CHECK WITH HOTELS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS REGARDING
INITIAL PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS THAT MAY NEED TO BE INITIATED OVER
THE COMING WEEK.

IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY KNOW YOUR HOME`S VULNERABILITY TO STORM
SURGE...FLOODING AND WIND...THIS INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED A
NUMBER OF WAYS. BUILDING CODE AND FLOOD PLAIN INFORMATION CAN
OFTEN BE OBTAINED THROUGH YOUR COUNTY. THERE ARE A HOST OF ONLINE
SITES THAT CAN ALSO HELP. FOR EACH HURRICANE HAZARD...LOCATE A
SAFE ROOM OR THE SAFEST AREAS IN YOUR HOME. CHECK TO SEE WHETHER
YOU LIVE IN AN EVACUATION ZONE. IF NECESSARY...COORDINATE
EVACUATION PLANS AND MEETING PLACES WITH FRIENDS AND RELATIVES
FARTHER INLAND...AND HAVE A COMMON CONTACT PERSON WHO IS OUT OF
HARM`S WAY.

ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE ADEQUATE SUPPLIES FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR
FAMILY. CHECK BATTERIES FOR RADIOS AND FLASHLIGHTS...DRINKING
WATER...CANNED OR DRIED FOOD...FIRST AID SUPPLIES AND PRESCRIPTION
MEDICATION. HAVE A SUFFICIENT SUPPLY OF CASH AND CHECK FUEL LEVELS
ON AUTOMOBILES...GENERATORS AND CHAIN SAWS.

FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE LISTING OF PREPAREDNESS
INFORMATION...PLEASE VISIT HTTP://WWW.READY.GOV

TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS VISIT THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER`S WEBSITE AT HTTP://WWW.HURRICANES.GOV

AND FOR POTENTIAL IMPACTS ON THE LOCAL AREA...MONITOR FORECASTS
FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN RUSKIN AT
HTTP:///WWW.WEATHER.GOV/TAMPA

$$

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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
Irene is closing in or St. Croix fast now, while the real potential doom looms in the distance.

She could go nuclear, this one, and looking at the forecast models, I might have a real mess to clean up at my house.

Perhaps I should I have kept my mouth shut?



Very nice animation and graphic. Thank you!
Member Since: October 26, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 363
Quoting Drakoen:
Just in:




what is that showing me
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115341
3041. FLdewey
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

O-O-OH M-MY G-G-GOD...


LMAO... just LMAO.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 42 Comments: 6269
Quoting BahaHurican:
00Z is 8 p.m. isn't it? Why r they taking off early?


I'm guessing that's the time they're scheduled to arrive? I'm probably wrong about that. It wouldn't take an hour to get there anyway.
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Quoting Levi32:
Still NNW wind and down to 998.2mb:



Still not levelling out, either.
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3037. lucreto
Quoting Relix:
Just become a Hurricane and give me everything Irene. EVERYTHING!

Btw is Lucreto for real or is he just that sad and bored? XD!


All of the above eagle-man
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Minimal interaction with Hispaniola.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15945
Anybody got some cheese to go with this "whine" party?

If people can't hang with the big dogs then stay on the porch with me!..lol..We got a long way to go until Irene is over and done with. People are going to stress, fret, or whatever - get a grip and hang-on! Irene is a woman, she is in charge and she don't get a damn what any of us think! She is going to make even the best forecaster look bad at some point - so, watch out - don't get your panties in a wad and move on!..We are here to learn, express our opinions and have respect for others.
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I felt that it was dry air, I have seen an eye like dry patch before but I was wasn't too sure, but Drak and Levi have confirmed what I thought. I was fooled for a bit before I took a look at the microwave around 4pm.
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Quoting Dakster:


How you holding up there?

V-V-Very N-Nervous!
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting leftlink:
srbv3 and CHSV3 stations both reporting pressure of 29.54mb in st. croix, with winds still out of the north so center had not passed yet. However there is a lag of 45 minutes before the readings are appearing at the web site of www.ndbc.noaa.gov.

here is a web site to convert to millibars:

http://www.csgnetwork.com/pressinmbcvt.html

Doing the conversion this turns out to be 1000.33Mb and still dropping.


ok, now station CHSV3 at 5:24pm reported a reading of 29.48, which is 998.30, or the lowest pressure recorded yet, and the center was passing just north as winds were turning towards the northwest. [edited after seeing Levi's post, I had read the chsv3 site wrong]
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convection has increased on her south semicircl
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Irene is closing in or St. Croix fast now, while the real potential doom looms in the distance.

She could go nuclear, this one, and looking at the forecast models, I might have a real mess to clean up at my house.

Perhaps I should I have kept my mouth shut?

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At the current rate of eastern shift in the models, I expect Bermuda and Reykjavik to be in the cone of DOOM at 5 am tomorrow!! ;-)

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Quoting BahaHurican:
00Z is 8 p.m. isn't it? Why r they taking off early?


The investigation is scheduled for 00Z, take off scheduled for 23.30Z, which is 7:30 EDT. I was half an hour out, lol.
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Quoting Levi32:
NNW wind 998.2mb:



So the 998.2 is still to the W of the center.. Pressure will probably bottom out at 997.
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3026. Dakster
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

O-O-OH M-MY G-G-GOD...


How you holding up there?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567
3025. WxLogic
@42HR 500MB:

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3024. Relix
Just become a Hurricane and give me everything Irene. EVERYTHING!

Btw is Lucreto for real or is he just that sad and bored? XD!
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3023. Dakster
Quoting Neapolitan:
Looks like St. Croix is dead-center of Irene's eye -- er, roughly circular area of comparatively light winds, low precipitation, and sinking air that encompasses the center of the storm's rotation.


ROFLMAO...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567

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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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