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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1987. Skyepony (Mod)
3:42 AM GMT on August 23, 2011
Today's TRMM pass.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36065
1986. marktheteacher
2:38 AM GMT on August 23, 2011

I live on the South shore of Long Island, New York on the western half of Nassau County. We had no tropical storm except since Gloria 1985....26 years ago. Do we need to prepare for another Hurricane? Thanks....

Mark Surval
marktheteacher@yahoo.com
Member Since: August 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
1985. CaneGurl
12:18 AM GMT on August 23, 2011
Where did everybody go? Nothing on boards for 15 min? At least not on my computer...
Member Since: September 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 31
1984. CaneGurl
11:55 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Honest question: Why does rapid intensification indicate a quicker turn to North?
Member Since: September 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 31
1983. Chicklit
11:26 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Grandpato4:


My daughter is in North Raleigh out towards Wake Forest. I think we would be fine there. No large trees and she has a large brick home.

Why don't you just have her come out and get you so you won't have to worry about last minute stuff?
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11035
1982. HurricaneHunterJoe
11:24 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting BahaHurican:
Hm....

From 6 to 12 feet of storm tide is possible in the worst case scenario for a Cat 3 along much of the largely residential south coast of New Providence.

As evidenced by Hurricane Andrew, North Eleuthera can see as much as 18 feet of surge, while Exuma can have as much as 20 feet. Some parts of Long Island could be completely overrun by surge.

Sure hope this isn't going to be one of these scenarios...

If you haven't done so as yet, check out the storm surge database the doc has linked in his blog entry.
r u in the bahamas baha?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1981. HurricaneHunterJoe
11:20 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Chicklit:
The outliers take it to the Outer Banks and north at this point.



whys is the UKMET way over in the GOM?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1980. HurricaneHunterJoe
10:56 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting bwat:
Is it at all possible she is slowing down because she is feeling the influence of the weakness and is preparing to make a turn? Honest question, I'm still learning.
I mean 3 days ago the models were saying the trof was gonna lift her north to florida. now the trof is gonna lift her north to sc/sc... it looks like this trof has missed Irene and the bermuda high is building back west,and now the models say a 2nd shortwave/trof will lift Irene north??? IT SEEMS TO ME THEY BEEN WRONG WRONG WRONG! the only reason the models have shifted right(East) is that the models screwd up at the beginning by organizing Irene at about 4 degrees latitude further south then where she actually formed?????????? no?????????? please explain
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1979. HurricaneHunterJoe
10:49 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting washingaway:
78hrs.



why do the models expect the 2nd trof/shortwave to do anything to Irene,as it now looks like the strong 1st one hasnt done a thing and with models saying the bermuda high will build west..........????????????
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1978. HurricaneHunterJoe
10:40 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting atmoaggie:
Weather balloons launched from these locations at 18 Z:


(This is unusual and was specifically requested by NHC).
Quoting atmoaggie:
Weather balloons launched from these locations at 18 Z:


(This is unusual and was specifically requested by NHC).
Quoting atmoaggie:
Weather balloons launched from these locations at 18 Z:


(This is unusual and was specifically requested by NHC).


NHC is taking this very serious,they don't wanna be wrong on a possible Cat4 landfall. Are all these dropsondes and ballons normal for a storm,or are they reserved for strong storms,or they arent able from the models to feel comfortable enough to call it?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1977. jonelu
10:35 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
Looks to be staying off shore for sure so far.
Member Since: October 31, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 882
1976. HurricaneHunterJoe
10:23 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting air360:
HA he just tweeted that he had no idea where his assignment would be and I tweeted back saying most likely Morehead/Atlantic Beach. Seems I'm not the only one who notices that they send him here often for NC storms.
Isn't Cantore the KINGof TWC? thought him ans stef go where they please. God,he sure been there a while. Iremember him having hair when I was in Naples Florida for 6 years 86-92.....lolololol
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1975. NOVArules
10:21 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


6) Water in old nasty milk jugs.

7) Crow bar.

8) Large caliber semi automatic pistol.


Just wondering, who still uses milk jugs in 2011? Most of the milk/water I get are in gallon-sized bottles.
Member Since: August 26, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 178
1974. HurricaneHunterJoe
10:19 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting TomTaylor:
Latest Dropsonde from Gonzo (23N 73W) shows dry air in the mid to upper levels of the atmosphere




This is inline with the water vapor image (water vapor imagery depicts the upper third of the atmosphere) which is showing dry air aloft. Dropsonde location is circled in green.






As already mentioned, this is all a result of the trough over the east coast pushing winds toward Irene on the west side. This produces convergence aloft. When the air converges aloft, it sinks (subsides). As it sinks, it warms by compression and dries out the air level in the process.

Other than this, the rest of the upper level and oceanic environment are favorable for continued intensification. The only other issue is the organization and continued land interaction from Hispaniola (although the effects of this will not be nearly as significant as expected a few days ago). None of these are huge issues, however. So...Bahamas, SE US, mid Atlantic states, and NE states, start prepping now...


Now we need to figure the starting longtitude for the turn north of Irene. At what longtitude does Irene need to start making up some latitude to avoid a brush/hitting of Florida east coast?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1973. weatherman566
10:06 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
18z GFS shows Irene just slightly westward....

Member Since: July 15, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
1972. BahaHurican
10:04 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Did ya'll realize there's a new blog???
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
1971. BahaHurican
10:02 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting ncstorm:
STORM SURGE WILL ALSO RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS
MUCH AS 5 TO 8 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN
BAHAMAS...AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS...AND 7 TO 11 FEET OVER THE
CENTRAL BAHAMAS. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY
LARGE AND DANGEROUS WAVES.
Hm....

From 6 to 12 feet of storm tide is possible in the worst case scenario for a Cat 3 along much of the largely residential south coast of New Providence.

As evidenced by Hurricane Andrew, North Eleuthera can see as much as 18 feet of surge, while Exuma can have as much as 20 feet. Some parts of Long Island could be completely overrun by surge.

Sure hope this isn't going to be one of these scenarios...

If you haven't done so as yet, check out the storm surge database the doc has linked in his blog entry.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
1970. BahaHurican
10:01 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
oops
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
1969. Patrap
9:59 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125530
1968. leftlink
9:57 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
The lower moving image in post 1720 , posted at 4:21 by P451

shows the "outflow boundary" which crossed Providenciales
as a squall line giving me a 55 mph recorded wind gust


Are there any local radars or weather stations that we can follow?
Member Since: December 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 134
1967. BahaHurican
9:47 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting DookiePBC:
As expected the cone shifted eastward. I just wonder how much further east the cone can shift. Will be really interesting once all the HH data and weather balloon information is taken into account. Starting to feel safer with each shift in SE FL though. Lotta friends in Freeport though!! :-( for them!!
Yah, Freeport doesn't need another bad blow. Every hurricane since 2002, except Ike, hit Grand Bahama hard.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
1966. AllStar17
9:45 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Click to enlarge.

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
1965. 996tt
9:32 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Levi32:
Visible imagery indicates that Irene is trying to reorganize and generate a deeper CDO, but dry air has been an issue for the past couple of days, evidenced by outflow boundaries racing off to the west of the storm into the Bahamas. Irene will likely struggle to intensify significantly until she is well clear of Hispaniola.


Yep, and this could help her stay South and East or current models.
Member Since: September 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
1964. ExumaMET
9:27 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
The 5pm update was the absolute worst track forecast for me. oh well, time to batten the hatches.
Member Since: November 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
1963. RickWPB
9:27 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Grandpato4:


This is supposed to be my vacation home. I winter in Florida. I will head to my daughter's house in Raleigh. She has a big house and no trees. She also has my grandkids so it will be nice to see them all on their own turf.

Interesting. I'm a retired GP too. I live in West Palm B. FL. Would like to move to Raleigh, NC area as both my sons and 7 grandkids are there. Just waiting for real-estate to recover, ha – yeah right!

But... Raleigh area can feel some serious storm effects too, but nothing like near the coastline. "Hide from the wind, Run from the water".

Good luck to you and your wife. A move inland should be a good thing for sure.
Member Since: September 26, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 340
1961. HurricaneHunterJoe
9:25 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Chicklit:
LinkWVLoop

Another interesting evening ahead for Irene-watchers.
Quoting Dem86Mets:
ZCZC MIATCDAT1 ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
HURRICANE FRANCES DISCUSSION NUMBER 33
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 PM EDT WED SEP 01 2004

RECON THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING INDCIATED THE CENTRAL PRESSURE HAD
DECREASED TO 939 MB. A DROPSONDE AT 01/1904Z INDICATED WINDS OF 154
KT...OR 177 MPH...AT THE 850 MB LEVEL. THE HIGHEST 700 MB RECON
FLIGHT-LEVEL WIND AT 2210Z WAS 134 KT...EQUAL TO ABOUT A 121-KT
SURFACE WIND. BASED ON THIS INFORMATION...FRANCES IS BEING HELD AT
120 KT...WHICH MAY BE A LITTLE CONSERVATIVE.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS 295/12. HOWEVER...THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERBALE
WOBBLE IN THE TRACK THE PAST 12 HOURS DUE TO THE EYEWALL REPLACEMENT
CYCLES THAT HAVE BEEN OCCURRING. FRANCES HAS BEEN MOVING
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD FOR THE PAST 24 HOURS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE
SUBTROPICAL RIDGE TO THE NORTH...WHICH IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN INTACT
THROUGH AT LEAST 48 HOURS. [b]THE GULFSTREAM-IV JET AND AN AFRES C-130
HAVE BEEN RELEASING DROPSONDES AROUND THE PERIPHERY OF FRANCES. THE
SONDE DATA HAS PRODUCED SOME INTERESTING AND DISTURBING RESULTS.
THE HEIGHT DATA FOR THE VARIOUS PRESSURE LEVELS...COMPARED TO 18Z
SURROUNDING UPPER-AIR DATA...APPEAR TO BE AT LEAST 20 METERS TOO
LOW. HOWEVER...THE WIND DATA CLEARLY INDICATE A MID-TROPOSPHERIC
HIGH PRESSURE CENTER NEAR 30N 75W...OR ABOUT 500 NMI NORTHWEST OF
FRANCES WITH A RIDGE AXIS EXTENDING WEST-SOUTHWESTWARD ACROSS NORTH
FLORIDA AND INTO THE NORTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO.


thats why they dropping dropsondes all over the place nw of irene
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4570
1960. DontAnnoyMe
9:24 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
STOP POSTING HERE, THERE'S A NEW BLOG.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
1959. Abacosurf
9:23 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting presslord:
so...we have 3 planes...and a bunch of balloons...in the air...What, if anything, does it mean?
It means we like to polute...
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 250
1958. interstatelover7165
9:23 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Anybody know when Irene will be in range of Guantanamo Bay's radar?
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
1957. Levi32
9:23 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting CothranRoss:
Should I evacuate in Wilmington? I'm about 6 miles inland of the coast and about 30 feet above sea level. I just don't see the need unless it was a category 4 .


It will depend entirely on whether Irene directly impacts NC and what intensity she is. Local officials will also tell you if an evacuation is seriously needed.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1956. 996tt
9:22 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting ecflweatherfan:
In case there is anyone who THINKS south Florida is out of the woods, think again. Last time I checked, the NHC said "lessens the threat for south Florida, but increases the threat to the Carolinas." It did not say that this will not impact south Florida, and it did not say it was definitely coming to the Carolinas. Also there is still a high likelihood of TS force winds in South Florida, ~50-60% chances. No one is in the clear just yet... except for TX, LA, MS, AL and the FL panhandle, IMO.


Haha, Gustav was a Carolina storm also at same location as Irene is at now and models shifted daily as turn never came with the same exact map set up. Panhandle is kind of in play. Depends entirely on storms strength at this point. 40 % GOM and 60 % chance of Keys to Ft. Lauderdale hit based on what I am seeing. If goes to cat 2 really quickly, especially strong cat 2, then Carolinas are in play.
Member Since: September 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
1955. Methurricanes
9:22 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Just saying this thing is about Due south of the eastern tip of Cape Cod, i think this may be an Outer Banks/ New England Storm, sort of like Bob in 1992, Maybe like 20 miles west of Bobs landfall.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 646
1953. Orcasystems
9:21 PM GMT on August 22, 2011


Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
1952. cycleranger
9:21 PM GMT on August 22, 2011


Intensifying storm no doubt. Convective burst over the center.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 116
1951. CothranRoss
9:21 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Should I evacuate in Wilmington? I'm about 6 miles inland of the coast and about 30 feet above sea level. I just don't see the need unless it was a category 4+.
Member Since: April 16, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 112
1950. rv1pop
9:21 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Grandpato4:


This is supposed to be my vacation home. I winter in Florida. I will head to my daughter's house in Raleigh. She has a big house and no trees. She also has my grandkids so it will be nice to see them all on their own turf.
I almost got property in Port Arthur TX, to have for a parking spot / Vacation site, but taxes were way too high - WalMart in CC allow RV parking, with security and a shuttle to shopping! Four grandkids just 7 blocks away.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 191
1948. DontAnnoyMe
9:20 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
1947. gatorman98
9:20 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Chicklit:
The outliers take it to the Outer Banks and north at this point.



We should be ok, eh?
Member Since: July 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 15
1946. bwat
9:19 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


They're right. If the center tracks east of Raleigh, the effects will be minimal in the Triangle area.
True, but he said that emergency managment offcials had to make plans now, but that was all for the time due to the uncertainty. Seemed like bad advice to me, but thats just IMO. I've always heard to make plans whenever you are in the cone. Saturdays a long way out I suppose, I guess kudos for them not creating a panic just yet.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 338
1945. interstatelover7165
9:19 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
12,480m (40,945 ft) -51.5°C (-60.7°F) Approximately -66°C (-87°F)

Just Amazing. Everybody watch out for Irene!
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
1944. Levi32
9:19 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Visible imagery indicates that Irene is trying to reorganize and generate a deeper CDO, but dry air has been an issue for the past couple of days, evidenced by outflow boundaries racing off to the west of the storm into the Bahamas. Irene will likely struggle to intensify significantly until she is well clear of Hispaniola.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1943. hahaguy
9:18 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


You. Use the NHC Google Earth that shows cone and track. You can zoom into an area and then change advisory # at the top to see the difference.

I did just come inside form the extreme heat so my brains a little fried lol
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
1942. 996tt
9:18 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting drj27:
its not going into the GOM where do you see this?


Haha, say this tomorrow at same time. The last several strong hurricanes to hit CONUS all had east coast tracks at this juncture and all moved west day by day. Bermuda high, system not entirely organized with poor Southern outflow will keep drifting more WNW. Models are using steering for strong cat 2, cat 3 which be Northernly. If she hits strong cat 2 within say 24 hours, Carolinas. If she lumbers around as cat 1 with poor outflow on one or more sides, keys and up west coast of Florida penisula.
Member Since: September 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
1941. MoltenIce
9:18 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


6) Water in old nasty milk jugs.

7) Crow bar.

8) Large caliber semi automatic pistol.
You wouldn't need a gun if you're in Japan post-disaster. There were hardly any (or none) lootings after the earthquake a couple months back.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 768
1940. usa777
9:18 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
It figures...I get chased out of Miss. by Katrina..Now I have a potential monster heading up into the mid-atlantic area. I know it won't be anything like Katrina when it gets into Maryland but I don't want any bad memories coming back. lol Anytime I get bad winds, it freaks me out.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 164
1939. RickWPB
9:18 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
The 'cone of error' along the east coast of FL is about the same as it was at 11AM, but shows Irene obtaining the 'M' label (cat 3) sooner. The center of the cone is now between SC and NC border... or a little to the right of the 11AM track. Sure would like to see the cone shift more right so ALL of CONUS is safe.

For history of track prediction click link below:
Link
Member Since: September 26, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 340
1938. wpb
9:17 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
the model will have a ton of extra data

gulfstream jet
af 307 dropsones off the carolinas
extra ballon data at selected stations
2 noaa 2 p3 orion flights tuesday
plus the af c 130

wow
Member Since: May 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 572
1937. nrtiwlnvragn
9:17 PM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting hahaguy:
Is it just me or on 2pm thursday is the track a little closer to FL or am I seeing things?


You. Use the NHC Google Earth that shows cone and track. You can zoom into an area and then change advisory # at the top to see the difference.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10459

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.