Hurricane Irene pounds Puerto Rico, heads for Hispaniola

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:40 PM GMT on August 22, 2011

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Hurricane Irene strengthened into the season's first Atlantic hurricane at 5am EDT this morning as the eye moved over San Juan, Puerto Rico, and crossed into the ocean just north of the island. Overnight, Irene held its own as the eye passed over the most mountainous portion of Puerto Rico, the El Yunque region. Winds in the higher mountains likely reached Category 2 strength, 96 - 110 mph, according to measurements from the San Juan Terminal Doppler Radar, and the hurricane pounded the island with damaging winds and flooding rains, resulting in widespread tree damage and power failures that hit 800,000 people. The San Juan Airport recorded top winds of 41 mph, gusting to 55 mph, and 2.87" of rain, as of 9am AST. Tropical storm conditions affected the Virgin Islands, with St. Thomas recording sustained winds of 40 mph, gusting to 67 mph, and 4.03" of rain as of 6am AST today. At 7am EDT, the ship Horizon Trader measured sustained northeast winds of 69 mph and wave heights of 11.5 feet at 19°N, in the northern eyewall of Irene. Latest observations from an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that Irene is slowly intensifying, with a central pressure of 989 mb observed at 9:42am EDT. The eyewall is not fully formed yet, with a gap on the south side. This gap will need to close off before the hurricane can undergo rapid intensification.


Figure 1. A direct hit: the center of Hurricane Irene passed directly over the Terminal Doppler Radar at San Juan, Puerto Rico between 4am and 5am AST this morning.

Track forecast for Irene
The computer models show good agreement that Irene will pass along the north coast of Hispaniola today, but just a slight wobble in Irene's track to take it farther offshore--or push it onshore, over the mountains--will have major impacts on the ultimate path and strength of the hurricane. A trough of low pressure is expected to move across the Eastern U.S. on Wednesday and Thursday, turning Irene more to the northwest by Wednesday. 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 popular solution among the models is to take Irene to the northwest through the Bahamas on Wednesday and Thursday, then into the Southeast U.S. coast in South Carolina or North Carolina on Saturday. Irene would then travel up the mid-Atlantic coast, arriving near Long Island, New York on Monday morning as a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. One of the models proposing this solution is our best model, the ECMWF. However, we have two other of our very good models suggesting a landfall near Miami on Thursday night is likely (the GFDL and UKMET models.) NHC forecaster Stacy Stewart gave some good reasons in this morning's discussion to favor a track close to the east coast of Florida, but just offshore. Last years' worst performing major the model, the NOGAPS, predicts that Irene will pass out to sea, missing the Southeast U.S. coast. Keep in mind that the average error of a 4-day forecast from NHC is 200 miles, and just a small deviation in the path of a storm moving roughly parallel to the coast will make a huge difference in where it ultimately makes landfall. The NOAA jet will be flying its first dropsonde mission into Irene today, which should result in a more reliable set of model runs first thing Tuesday morning.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Irene is embedded in a large envelope of moisture now, and wind shear is expected to remain low, 5 - 10 knots, for the next five days. With water temperatures very warm, 29 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification except when land is interfering. Satellite loops show that Irene is steadily growing in size, which will protect the storm against major disruption by its passage along the north shore of Hispaniola today. The storm is lacking much development on its southwest side, where dry air is interfering with development. This dry air may help keep southern portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti from receiving more than 3 - 6 inches of rain. There is at least a 30% chance that passage of the eye over Hispaniola will reduce Irene to a tropical storm tonight and into Tuesday. Due to Hispaniola blocking inflow of moist air from the south, Irene will likely compensate by building an even larger region of heavy thunderstorms to the north, offshore. Thus, when Irene's center finally moves well away from the coast on Tuesday, it will be a bigger storm, with the potential to spread hurricane conditions over a wider area later in the week when it intensifies. One limiting factor for intensification may be in the upper-level outflow pattern. The hurricane is lifting a huge amount of air from the surface to the upper atmosphere, and all that mass has to be efficiently transported away in order for the hurricane to intensify. Right now, upper level outflow is only well-established to the north and east, and the forecast outflow pattern for the coming five days is only moderately favorable. Overall, I think the official NHC forecast of a Category 3 hurricane by Thursday is the right one, though Irene could easily be a Category 2 or Category 4 storm.

Irene's impact on the Dominican Republic
Heavy rains from Irene have already reached the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, where Punta Cana has seen wind gusts up to 29 mph this morning. The northeast coast of the country near Samana will receive the worst of Irene's wrath, with sustained winds of 50 - 70 mph and gusts above hurricane force likely to cause widespread tree damage and power outages today. Passage along the coast of the island may weaken Irene to a tropical storm by Tuesday morning, and wind damage in Puerto Plata may be less severe than at Samana. The capital of Santo Domingo will see lesser winds, perhaps 30 - 50 mph, with gusts to 60 mph. The main danger to the Dominican Republic will be Irene's torrential rains, which are likely to reach 20 inches in some mountainous regions, causing dangerous flash floods and mudslides.

Irene's impact on Haiti
No nation in the Caribbean is more vulnerable to hurricanes than Haiti, whose northern reaches are expected to receive torrential rains of 5 - 10 inches from Irene. During the 2008 hurricane season, four storms--Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike--dumped heavy rains on Haiti, leaving over 1,000 people dead or missing. The path and intensity of Hurricane Irene are very similar to that of Hurricane Jeanne of 2004, which dumped 13 inches of rains on the nation's northern mountains. The rugged hillsides, stripped bare of 98% of their forest cover thanks to deforestation, let flood waters rampage into large areas of the country, killing over 3000 people, mostly in the town of Gonaives, the nation's 4th largest city. Jeanne ranks as the 12th deadliest hurricane of all time on the list of the 30 most deadly Atlantic hurricanes, and Irene's rains are capable of causing a similar disaster. During 2004 and again this year, ocean temperatures off the coast of Haiti were 1 - 1.5°C above average, one of the top five values seen in the past 100 years. Since more water vapor evaporates into the air from record warm waters, the potential for devastating floods from hurricanes is much higher in these situations. However, satellite images of Jeanne show the storm had much more moisture on its south side when it hit Hispaniola than Irene currently has, so I am hopeful that Irene's rains will not be as intense as Jeanne's were.


Figure 2. Track of Hurricane Jeanne of 2004, which followed a path very similar to what is expected from Hurricane Irene along the north coast of Hispaniola. Irene is not going to do a big loop like Jeanne did, though.

As bad as the hurricanes of 2004 and 2008 were, the January 2010 earthquake was far worse. Up to 316,000 may have been killed, and the capital city of Port-Au-Prince was devastated, leaving over 1.5 million people living under tarps during the 2010 hurricane season. Fortunately, Hurricane Tomas missed making a direct hit on Haiti, and Haiti escaped major loss of life during the 2010 hurricane season. This year, approximately 595,000 Haitians still live underneath tarps outdoors thanks to the earthquake, and these unfortunate people will be at risk of being swept away by flash flooding from Irene's torrential rains. However, Port-Au-Prince lies to the south of where Irene's main rains will fall, and I doubt the earthquake refugee camps will suffer from a major flooding disaster.


Figure 3. Hospital admissions (black bars) and death rate in percent (red line) for Haiti's cholera epidemic of 2010 - 2011. The cholera epidemic surged out of control after Hurricane Tomas dumped heavy rains on Haiti on November 4, 2010, with hospitalizations increasing by a factor of three for over a month. Over 3% of all people who contracted cholera died after Tomas' rains. However, sanitation and medical care improved in the following months, and the death rate fell by a factor of five to 0.7% by the summer of 2011. Another surge in cholera cases occurred in June 2011, doubling after heavy rainy season rains occurred. Cholera deaths doubled during the surge, but the death rate remained constant at 0.7%. Image credit: Pan American Health Organization.

Another danger is that Irene's rains will worsen the cholera epidemic that surfaced after the earthquake. Cholera is a water-borne disease, and spreads readily after heavy rains. As of August 12, 2011, the 2010 - 2011 cholera epidemic had infected 419,000 Haitians, killing 5,968. After Hurricane Tomas passed on November 5, 2010, cholera cases exploded, with hospital admissions more than tripling for over a month. Similarly, heavy rains in June 2011 during the country's usual rainy season caused doubled cholera cases and deaths for several weeks. We can expect that Irene's rains will cause at least a doubling of cholera cases for a month or more. This will lead to several hundred additional cholera deaths, given the disease's 0.7% mortality rate this summer in Haiti (during June and July 2011, 95,212 cases were reported, with 626 deaths.) An increase in cholera deaths due to Irene's rains is also a concern in the Dominican Republic, where cholera has sickened 14,000 people and killed 92 as of the end of July.

Organizations Active in Haitian Relief Efforts:
Portlight disaster relief
Lambi Fund of Haiti
Haiti Hope Fund
Catholic Relief Services of Haiti

Links
For those of you wanting to know your odds of receiving hurricane force or tropical storm force winds, I recommend the NHC wind probability product.

Wunderground has detailed storm surge maps for the U.S. coast.

See my 2010 post, Haiti's tragic hurricane history.

An exceptionally active of hurricane season
Hurricane season is only one-third over, and we've already had almost a full years' activity already. Tropical Storm Irene is the 9th named storm this year, and an average season has just 10 - 11 named storms. Irene's formation date of August 20 ties 2011 with 1936 as the 2nd earliest date for formation of the season's 9th storm. Only 2005 was more active this early. However, the first eight storms of the year have done far less damage than is typical. All eight storms stayed below hurricane strength, making 2011 the first hurricane season since record keeping began in 1851 to have more than six consecutive tropical storms that did not reach hurricane strength. As I discussed in Friday's post, a major reason for this is the lack of vertical instability over the tropical Atlantic so far this year. We've had a large amount of dry, sinking air over the tropical Atlantic, and the usual amount of dry, dusty air from the Sahara, both helping to keep the atmosphere stable and stop this year's storms from intensifying into hurricanes. Hurricane activity typically ramps up big-time by August 20, with more than 80% of all the hurricanes and 65% of all the tropical storms occurring after that date. At our current pace, 2011 will become the second busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, with 24 - 27 named storms. There are only 21 names in the list of names for a hurricane season, so we may have to break out the Greek alphabet again in late October this year, as occurred in 2005. Ironically, this was the last time the current set of names was used in the Atlantic, so 16 of this year's 21 names are repeats of 2005. I'm not too happy about seeing another hurricane season challenge the Hurricane Season of 2005 in any way, and let's hope we don't retire another five names this year, like occurred in 2005! With vertical instability much lower this year than in 2005, and that year having already seen one storm (Dennis) retired by this point in the season, I doubt that will happen, though.


Figure 4. The annual cycle of average hurricane frequency in the Atlantic. Historically, about 35% of all the tropical storms and 15% of all the hurricanes will have occurred by August 20.

Which model should you trust?
Wunderground provides a web page with computer model forecasts for many of the best-performing models used to predict hurricane tracks. So which is the best? Well, the best forecasts are made by combining the forecasts from three or more models into a "consensus" forecast. Over the past decade, NHC has greatly improved their forecasts by relying on consensus forecast models made using various combinations of the GFS, GFDL, NOGAPS, UKMET, HWRF, and ECMWF models. If you average together the track forecasts from these models, the NHC official forecast will rarely depart much from it, and the NHC forecast has been hard to beat over the past few years. The single best-performing model over the past two years has been the ECMWF (European Center model). This model out-performed the official NHC forecast in 2010 for 1-day, 2-day, 3-day and 4-day forecasts, and in 2009 for 4-day and 5-day forecasts. You can view ECMWF forecasts on our wundermap with the model layer turned on. The European Center does not permit public display of tropical storm positions from their hurricane tracking module of their model, so we are unable to put ECMWF forecasts on our computer model forecast page that plots positions from the other major models. As seen in Figure 5, over the past two years, the GFS and GFDL model have been the next best models, with the UKMET model not far behind. Last year, the NOGAPS model did very poorly, forcing NHC to come up with some new consensus models this year, the TCOA and TVCA, that do not include the NOGAPS model. For those interested in learning more about the models, NOAA has a great training video (updated for 2011.)


Figure 5. Skill of computer model forecasts of Atlantic named storms 2010. OFCL=Official NHC forecast; GFS=Global Forecast System model; GFDL=Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model; HWRF=Hurricane Weather Research Forecasting model; NOGAPS=Navy Operational Global Prediction System model; UKMET=United Kingdom Met Office model; ECMWF=European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting model; TVCN=one of the consensus models that lends together all (or most) of the above models. Image credit: National Hurricane Center 2010 verification report.

Next post
There will be 2 - 3 posts per day in my blog this week during Irene, with Angela Fritz and Rob Carver doing some of the afternoon and evening posts.

Jeff Masters

Tropical Storm Irene hits Puerto Rico (lobdellJ)
Tropical Storm Irene hits the north coast of Puerto Rico
Tropical Storm Irene hits Puerto Rico
Tropical Storm Irene from Maunabo, PR (ronmil)
The first bands or Irene approaching Maunabo, Puerto Rico (SE corner)...
Tropical Storm Irene from Maunabo, PR
Irene (reefchild)
Irene @OPkB OceanParkBeach Puerto Rico 7pm
Irene

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Well looks like I MAY be in the clear in NE FLA now according to that big shift east. It will probably continue shifting east JMO. Glad I waited on rushing to fill gas cans for my generators at least just yet. Guess time will really tell though when new models come out or tonight's update.
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Quoting Drakoen:


If Irene takes the southern and western most portion of the cone.
,so she'd have to weaken???
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Quoting Drakoen:


A lot of people were saying Florida would definitely get hit. Even the people that are now saying that she will go east of Florida.




This storm may not make land fall in Florida, but it will impact Florida.
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Quoting WINDSMURF:
Those of you in SC and NC don't go crazy running around just yet. It is too early to say that this storm is going to hit you. The key is timimg and land interaction with Hispanola. If it goes north of Hispanola without making landfall, then you guys must begin to worry. Any land interaction will mean a more westerly track and a weaker storm which will feel the weakness less. Again be prepared but don't loose it this early.


Very much so. I noticed that most of the reliable models indicated a slow down after the turn north. That idicates that the steering pattern may be changing at that time.

Storms forcasted to complete a linear path, don't always do so. They can miss a trough, so to speak, and the high can build back over top of them. Sometimes they can be sent back westward.
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Quoting BobinTampa:
for those in SC, sometimes it's not all bad to be in the bullseye this far out. Tampa finds itself in the center of the Cone of Uncertainty very often and we get hit about once every 100 years.



Wishing you never said that!!
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Dude, come on man. Quit being a sore looser it's not going to hit New orleans sorry no Weather Channel hype on the levees you guys never fixed. Look at the OFFICIAL tracking map from the NHC. The letter "M" is for MAYOR hurricane, so quit with the crap and get serious. Most ppl here hope it would recurve and not touch the US or even better fizzle, but it is not doing that it is getting stronger and as time passes by Suoth Carolina is at more risk for a direct impact, so don't say crap like this cause there is the ocassional reader who believe's it and ppl like you endanger them.


Come on, man...do you really think we want another storm down here in NOLA? I know I don't. I have no love for evacuations. Plus, I have fun stuff to do this weekend, like replacing the driveshaft in my Dragin' Wagon.
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Dewey...

If both Miami AND New Orleans are out of the cone, I believe a drastic change to the DOOM:CON level will be in order as the ppm (posts per minute) statistics will drastically decline!
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229. HCW
I can let you know how strong the winds will be an how long you can expect them based off the 11am advisory



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Quoting PaulinJax:
When will the watches/ warnings for Florida start to go up ?


Probably late tomorrow
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Quoting Drakoen:


A lot of people were saying Florida would definitely get hit. Even the people that are now saying that she will go east of Florida.


Well said... +1000

In fact a couple of days or so ago the official NHC track called for a definite FL hit.

The situation is fluid.
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984.2 MB found in the center.
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I haven't posted in a while and am a little rusty. Not comforting seeing this storm growing in size and intensity as I live in Wrightsville Beach
North Carolina. Last big one was Floyd was a Cat 4 that weakened before it hit here. When I see Jim Cantore cross the bridge ill know its time to leave.
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Quoting VaBeachSurfer:
Should I be worried here in Virginia Beach? We never see much from these storms that ride up the coast.


well this is a dif situation. if she follows the NHC track she will be somewhat inland as she goes up the coast
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When will the watches/ warnings for Florida start to go up ?
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for those in SC, sometimes it's not all bad to be in the bullseye this far out. Tampa finds itself in the center of the Cone of Uncertainty very often and we get hit about once every 100 years.

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Quoting yonzabam:


Maybe not, but you were saying yesterday that Florida would definitely get hit.


A lot of people were saying Florida would definitely get hit. Even the people that are now saying that she will go east of Florida.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29910
Quoting NASA101:


... think we are ALL amateurs here, unless someone here has a degree in meteorology..!?
And also only a handful of folks on here worth listening to..
Umm, yeah, there are a few. Some with graduate degrees.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting TopWave:
Virginia Beach is holding their annual East Coast Surfing Championships over the weekend. Should be interesting to see how this storm affects the VA coastline. not looking so good for Carolinas into VA at this point. Im thinking impacts similar to Hurricane Isabel in 2003.


The ECWMF is predicting landfall around Myrtle Beach, SC..its intensity stays the same after traveling up the coast to Virginia Beach..I dont see much surfing happening..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14567
Great, the last thing we need is more rain in Philadelphia
Thank's Irene
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Last frame shows the rain shield, but the beam is shooting way up.

That TDRW site is a tad screwy like most of them

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Quoting islander101010:
? how about some hurricane info instead of this crap next time im ignoring you

Poof!
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Guys, I don't want to sound controversial, but I have yet to find any wind reports any where near supporting what Irene hit landfall as. Granted there are always issues when it comes to observations as far power loss and instrument malfunction during tropical cyclones, but still top winds 41 gusting to 55 mph at San Juan isn't very impressive for an "eye wall".

When Frances and Jeanne tracked north of Tampa in 2004, we had a lot stronger winds than that from just general banding and both storms were rated as tropical storms when they wen through, not hurricanes.

I got sustained winds topping at 55 with gusts to hurricane force for hours and over 10 inches of rain, a lot worse than Irene dealt from what we know so far.

Also, a ship over water in the northern eye wall failed to find hurricane force winds, sustained at 69 mph is still tropical storm strength, and that's over water.

That being said, I question about tropical cyclones, and their behavior. Some hurricanes sometimes are shockingly powerful in terms of the actual wind force they produce on land at the surface, while it seems some hurricanes seem to keep their strong winds elevated just above the surface, that actual surface winds are weaker than represented.

Like I said, I'm just talking, not declaring anything here with authority. Its something I would be very interested in discussing with actual meteorologists, that is for sure.
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Just remember folks, Irene's cone is still in FL. We're not out of the woods yet.
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Should I be worried here in Virginia Beach? We never see much from these storms that ride up the coast.
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Also, based on what I've seen forecast in the models (as far as steering patterns), and what I've read from people who know a lot more than I do, the setup doesn't really make for a recurve or brush like some of the models are indicating. I wouldn't be surprised to see them trend back west a bit in time.
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Virginia Beach is holding their annual East Coast Surfing Championships over the weekend. Should be interesting to see how this storm affects the VA coastline. not looking so good for Carolinas into VA at this point. Im thinking impacts similar to Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Wonder how much money FEMA has left...


Oh, they are a Federal Agency. They can and will get more budget if the need arises. There are good people in that agency, despite the tarnish they have picked up since Katrina.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
,key west is out of the 3day cone,arent the forecast thru 72hrs pretty predictable,how due you see kw getting a ny direct effects from irene???,i dont even see the possiblilty unless she moves due west at some point


If Irene takes the southern and western most portion of the cone.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29910
We won't know if the storm will impact Florida until the center is in the vicinity of the turks and caco islands. Irene is forecast to make a sharp northward turn in that location. Any deviation in its turn will decide the fate of Florida. This looks like a Floyd event.
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The HH Invest will give us a Eye condition,,most likely seems open to the SW.


But IRENE will close it up later.

That Core is intact and in Warm SST's and low shear, so we will see her improve slowly.


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Quoting WINDSMURF:
Those of you in SC and NC don't go crazy running around just yet. It is too early to say that this storm is going to hit you. The key is timimg and land interaction with Hispanola. If it goes north of Hispanola without making landfall, then you guys must begin to worry. Any land interaction will mean a more westerly track and a weaker storm which will feel the weakness less. Again be prepared but don't loose it this early.


Well they have some time... but PLEASE don't listen to anyone here for your preparations....your local EMS are the right folks!
By tomorrow SC/NC ought to know where IRENE might hit...
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202. Gorty
Guys, is it possible that because the SW side is over land, is why the outflow there is restricted?
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
That is one UGLY track for Charleston, SC, if indeed that were to pan out! If she makes landfall right there or up to 50 miles to the southeast of Charleston, SC near Savannah, GA as a major, that will have devastating effects on Charleston Bay with the surge.


Im more worried a slight tick northward to Georgetown, SC hit up Winyah Bay, WORSE CASE scenerio for Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand
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Quoting reedzone:


Exactly what I'm pointing out, though everyone thinks I'm actually wishcasting. People, look at the pattern, observe.. Florida is not in the clear, nor is any of the US East Coast. A Classic situation evolving this week.


Maybe not, but you were saying yesterday that Florida would definitely get hit.
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Irene continues to take in dry air and her low level inflow will get disrupted as she nears Hispaniola.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29910
Quoting Drakoen:
The entire east coast from Key West to New England needs to watch Irene. There is no "in the clear" for those areas.
,key west is out of the 3day cone,arent the forecast thru 72hrs pretty predictable,how due you see kw getting a ny direct effects from irene???,i dont even see the possiblilty unless she moves due west at some point
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In other news, Harvey's dead.

000
WTNT33 KNHC 221431
TCPAT3

BULLETIN
REMNANTS OF HARVEY ADVISORY NUMBER 15
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL082011
1000 AM CDT MON AUG 22 2011

...HARVEY DISSIPATES OVER THE SIERRA MADRE OF MEXICO...


SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.1N 97.3W
ABOUT 105 MI...170 KM SW OF VERACRUZ MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...30 MPH...45 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 260 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1008 MB...29.77 INCHES

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All of this talk about 'Florida being in the clear" is foolishness.
Last I checked, more than 50% of the state was in the cone and the middle of the foretasted path was no more than 60 miles offshore from my location (and as a major)
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Quoting divdog:
we are almost all amateurs no matter what this storm does.


... think we are ALL amateurs here, unless someone here has a degree in meteorology..!?
And also only a handful of folks on here worth listening to..
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Those of you in SC and NC don't go crazy running around just yet. It is too early to say that this storm is going to hit you. The key is timimg and land interaction with Hispanola. If it goes north of Hispanola without making landfall, then you guys must begin to worry. Any land interaction will mean a more westerly track and a weaker storm which will feel the weakness less. Again be prepared but don't loose it this early.
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Quoting P451:


I have to agree with you Reed. The steering pattern is also an evolving one and will continue to be tricky for at least the next 12 hours. More changes will occur model wise I would think. It would be unwise to discount Florida or a recurve this early in the game. The only certainty is the Bahamas getting hit. That is going to happen.


BTW- Good call on expecting Irene to develop before the day was out Saturday. I thought she'd take another 12 hours to get there but by 8PM she was there.


Thanks.. the Bahamas needs to quickly stock up and prepare for a potential Category 2, maybe 3 storm. Remember how Earl blew up near the area after lifting north from PR? I'm expecting my store to be very busy today with people preparing for Irene just in case the new models (00Z) shift back to the west confirming the weakness may be around west Florida.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Yeah, I knew better.
Otherwise, hokey-dokey?

And, do you really have power?

Generator. Winds were pretty violent way earlier in the morning.
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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.