Category 2 Irene Approaches The Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:51 AM GMT on August 23, 2011

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As of 2am EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 20.1N, 69.7W, 135 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island. It was moving west-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, making it a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 978 mb. Hurricane warnings have been issued for the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from the Haiti board to Cabo Engano, the southeastern and central Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos islands. Hurricane watches have been posted for the north coast of Haiti from Le Mole, St. Nicholas to the Dominican border and the northwestern Bahamas. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for all of Haiti and the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Santo Domingo.

5AM Update
As of 5am EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 20.3N, 70.1W, 105 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island. It was moving west-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, keeping it a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 978 mb.

Figure 1 shows that Irene is maturing into a vigorous storm, with apparent waves in the western edge of the cirrus outflow.


Figure 1 IR satellite view of Irene taken at 135AM EDT, August 22, 2011

Track Forecast

Irene is forecast to move to the north-northwest, passing over all of the Bahama islands by Thursday evening, at which points it starts curving to the north. Irene is forecast to make landfall in the US near Wilmington, NC Saturday evening. However, it is important to note that this is not a definitive forecast, the average forecast error for day 5 is 250 miles. The timing of Irene's recurvature depends on how quickly several small troughs of low pressure in the Northeastern US move to the east. After Saturday, Irene may pose a threat to the mid-Atlantic coastline and locations further north, but it is too early to make a skillful forecast for those regions.

NHC is forecasting for Irene to become a major hurricane (winds faster than 110 mph), within 24 hours, then reaching peak intensity at 130 mph (Category 4 storm) by 8pm EDT Thursday evening.

Forecast models and adaptive observations
The different forecast models are in rough agreement until Irene nears the Carolinas. The dynamical hurricane forecasting models, GFDL and HWRF, have Irene making landfall near Charleston, SC. NGFDL (a variant of the GFDL that uses NOGAPS for background conditions) has landfall near Morehead City, NC, and the GFS has Irene crossing the Outer Banks. The UKMET forecast track splits the difference, placing Irene near Myrtle Beach, SC at landfall.

To reduce the model spread, and improve the track forecast error, the NOAA Gulfstream IV and an Air Force WC-130J have been flying dropsonde missions north of Irene. A dropsonde is an meteorological instrument package dropped from a plane that can tell you the vertical profile of temperature, pressure, moisture, and winds. By flying these missions, the dropsondes can improve all of the numerical weather prediction models initial picture of the atmospheres, which improves the forecast. Also, NHC has asked NWS offices in the southeastern US that launch weather balloons to do so every 6 hours instead of the normal 12 hour frequency.


Figure 2 Official track forecast of Irene as of 2am.

5AM update
The 00Z ECMWF forecast is available and Figure 3 shows the maximum wind speed over the next week for the eastern coast of the US. Green indicates tropical storm force winds, while yellow and orange are hurricane-force winds. The important thing is not to fixate on the predicted landfall location, but to see that Irene's winds will affect areas far away from landfall. The GFS, not shown, agrees with ECMWF that Irene will have a large area of tropical-storm force winds associated with it.

Figure 3 Maximum wind-speed in mph from the 00Z August 23 ECMWF forecast for the next week.

Impacts

In the immediate future, Irene is expected to have a significant impact on the Bahamas and surrounding islands. Hurricane force winds are forecast to reach the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos sometime this afternoon or evening. These locations can also expect 5-10 inches of rain. Three to six inches of rain are forecast over northern Hispaniola, with isolated areas receiving up to 10 inches. This could lead to flash flooding and mudslides in mountaineous terrain. NHC is predicting a storm surge of 9-13 feet above normal tide level for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos.

Outside of the islands immediately impacted by Irene, it is my judgement that everybody living on the eastern coast of the US should monitor Irene and review their hurricane preparations over the next few days.

Dr. Masters will have a new blog entry this morning, and Angela Fritz will be covering the afternoon. I'll be back on third shift tonight.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Rob Carver

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This would be my message to the hurricane skeptics that always take the storm lightly and are the first we see on TV standing on their roof surrounded by walls of water from the ocean.

Hurricane Irene is going to be a dangerous storm and so anyone in it’s path need to stay tuned to the weather channel and the news. There are a lot of people that live in the Carolinas that talk about this storm or that one. They state that they have lived through them and so this one will be no different but the old saying goes, “It only takes one storm.” I bet that if you asked people in Katrina’s path in 2005 they would have made some of those same comments but talk to them after the storm and they give you a totally different answer. Oh and I am not just talking about people in New Orleans either because I bet some people in Missippi high tail it out from now on when a storm threatens their area.
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


I know exactly how complicated it is. I'm a Puertorican. Actually I was an Independentista and used to be an active meber or "La Fupi" back in the late 80's I know Puerto Rico is about the last Colony in the world to the shame of the US, but I also learn to love the United States after I took the time to learn about how great the ppl living here are. Now I use the same passion to try help this country get rid of the Liberals here anyway subject for another forum not here.

Puerto Ricians are US citizens and therefore are considered part of the United States. If I recall there have been several votes throughout the years by those on the island of Puerto Rico to choose if they would like to become independant, a state or to stay as is and t.he result is always "stay as is" a territory of the United State. I woulnd't call it a colony
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Eastern Cuba radar
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Quoting mcluvincane:
a lot of people hanging their hats on missing the conus just because new model guidance. Are you kidding me? NC is very much in the path of a major hurricane.


I haven't looked at any models today, what is important more so then whatever the latest flavor of the models is how much stronger (over guidance) the feature is, diving down from into the Ohio Valley. That is the key feature to watch. If it continues there is little support that Irene can make landfall on the CONUS. I’m not saying it’s a sure bet by any means, but the trend is going in that direction.

You can clearly see it here:

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/eaus/flash-wv.h tml


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Quoting Bluestorm5:
gater23, local radar is not a good proof... this storm got "eye", but it's not visible.

Visible image of Katrina shows it didn't have eye


You have it backwards. Visable satellite is not good proof radar is. As itr cleary shows an eye.

You said it did not have an eye. Well she did in fact have an eye you just could not see it on visable satellite. Furthermore those of us who were in her experienced the dead calm associated with an eye. So your statement tht she did not have an eye until CAT 3 is factually incorrect. Period.
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Quoting mcluvincane:


No. I'm a realist. poof


poof to you too:)
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Quoting Skyepony:
Recon is descending into Irene.


Skye, would post a link to the site you use? Thanks!
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Quoting snotly:
No it is just dry air being sucked into the very center of the storm that will steer it directly west into the gulf of mexico, I know all this better than 100 years of forecasting from the NHC, since I learned from meteorology from the back of a Cheerio's box.

Impossible!

The gap created by dry air will steer Irene into the EPAC and then to the WPAC where it will live indefinitely.

(Sarcasm mode = on)
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Quoting FLdewey:
This blog needs an age filter.

Models are twitching... hopefully further East.


Agreed.

At least the 11A update is less than an hour away... that will be a nice reality break.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Wish all of smart ones are on here... this blog is full of idiots except for TampaSpin/ncstorm


Wow, go ahead and just insult people you don't even know, that will win you a lot of friends. So according to you the only TWO on here that aren't idiots are TampaSpin and NCStorm, wow!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2996
Quoting WeafhermanNimmy:
I am going to say this and say this again! This will not impact the US.


And has people have said before, and will say again - it already has.

It hit PR.

What you're trying to say is it will not impact the MAINLAND U.S.

Even then, still too early to say.
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As far as landfall and tropical cyclone impacts, it is definitely part of the USA.
If a hurricane hits Puerto Rico or the USVI you should definitely consider it a US landfall, hence the USA has been hit by a hurricane this season... so start counting again, "IT HAS BEEN 1 DAY(S) SINCE LAST HURRICANE MADE LANDFALL ON THE USA".
All politics aside, lets not get technical... this is a tropical weather blog after all.
But if a storm hits Puerto Rico or the USVI it is just as if it hit a state: (to name a couple)
1. 4 million people that are all US Citizens... 4 million people putting their US Passport in Ziplock bags along with US DOLLARS to keep safe if worst comes to worst.
2. Disaster relief depends entirely on FEMA, just as any other state.

So if we get a major hurricane, if we get a tsunami, if we get an earthquake it comes out of your pocket to help us. I think that is enough to say this was a US landfall. After all, that's the only effect someone in Seattle will have if major hurricane Irene slams in to South Carolina.


Now if you keep it to strictly lower 48 or all that "mainland" hoopla... well toss us in the same pile as Hawaii and Alaska and forget about us. lol
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Quoting TheMom:
Not so complicated it was cede to the US as an organized territory in the Spanish American War (think Teddy and the Rough Riders) They have a no vote representative as well in the US Congress



I know the history. I'm from Puerto Rico.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1563
Quoting JGreco:


No they are not hanging their hats, they are hoping it misses and keeps the burden of the people in the area. You almost sound like you want it to hit there?...:o
he's right, Carolinas are still not out. Models at 00z runs was directed at SC landfall. It usually shift east during the day, west at night with this storm.
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Quoting JGreco:


No they are not hanging their hats, they are hoping it misses and keeps the burden of the people in the area. You almost sound like you want it to hit there?...:o


No. I'm a realist. poof
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867. MahFL
You can see the CDO expanding SW.
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HPC Extended Discussion

THE LATEST NHC FORECAST IS
BETWEEN THE 00Z UKMET/ECMWF SOLUTIONS
...WITH THE 00Z GFS SLIGHTLY
FASTER UNTIL ABOUT DAY 6/MON WHEN THE GFS IS CLOSET. THUS...DUE TO
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF IRENE WILL LIKELY USE THESE 3 MODELS THE MOST
IN CONSTRUCTING THE PRELIMINARY PRESSURES/FRONTS FOR THE MEDIUM
RANGE PERIOD. EVEN WITH RELATIVELY CLOSE DYNAMICAL TRACK GUIDANCE
TO IMPLEMENT IN THE UPCOMING PROGS...NO SOLUTION OTHER THAN THE
00Z ECMWF IS EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO THE HURRICANE MODEL GUIDANCE
CENTRAL PRESSURES SUCH AS THE GHM/HWRF WHICH HAVE IRENE BOTTOMING
OUT AROUND 930 MB AND SHIFTING TO THE LEFT OF THE OFFICIAL NHC
TRACK ALONG THE SOUTH CAROLINA COAST. HOWEVER...WHEN CONSIDERING
THE ENTIRE SOLUTION SPREAD JUST BY DAY 4/SAT...TRACK DIFFERENCES
SPAN ABOUT 300 NM...SO THERE REMAINS MUCH TO RESOLVE FOR THE
SENSIBLE WEATHER DETAILS OF IRENE. FOR NOW...WILL INTERPOLATE
BETWEEN THE LATEST NHC POINTS FOR DAYS 3 AND 4 WHICH HAS IRENE
MAKING LANDFALL BETWEEN MYRTLE BEACH SC AND WILMINGTON NC LATE
SATURDAY. REFER TO THE NHC FOR THE OFFICIAL TRACK AND INTENSITY
FORECAST.

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Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Quoting Bayside:


Yeah, I got some trees I worry about and the boats especially when we decide to leave, but if there is surge I can't do anything if they break their lines anyway except watch since I wouldn't be able to get to them, so maybe it's better that way. I have some friends offering places from Newport News to Richmond, so we'll see what it looks like wed/thurs I guess. Earl last year was a stressful event and it turned out to be nothing, but I want to be ready in case this one doesn't spare us.


Yes, Earl was pretty stressful - sure hope this pulls farther right so we don't get the nasty quadrant. Pretty sure we'll get something out of her though. Keep prepping - I'm on my way out to fill up the kids' cars - mine got filled last night. :)
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Quoting mcluvincane:
a lot of people hanging their hats on missing the conus just because new model guidance. Are you kidding me? NC is very much in the path of a major hurricane.


So is SC. Models have been all over the place.. Trough evolution is still up in the air.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
gater23, local radar is not a good proof... this storm got "eye", but it's not visible.

Visible image of Katrina shows it didn't have eye



That file image of Katrina is as it appeareed still East of Fla as a Tropical Storm,,it never created a Eye feature till into the GOM.,,as a Hurricane
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1 big storm and still growing... T&C on the very edge of the main storm body...
Link
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860. maeko
"Puerto Rico has a republican form of government,[62] subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sovereignty.[3] Its current powers are all delegated by the United States Congress and lack full protection under the United States Constitution.[63] Puerto Rico's head of state is the President of the United States."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico

Puerto Rico is an autonomous territory of the US that falls under the umbrella of US law and US military protection...sorry, couldnt help myself : )
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She's putting on a show. Got some pizazz. But no doubt she smells the fish and has a liking to them.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
it's sad that people don't realized that Irene is STILL going to hit Bahamas no matter what until it turns NE NOW... prayers for them.


yes, my prayers are with them.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1563
Quoting WeatherfanPR:


actually, it's not the United States but somehow it's part of the United States. This issue is a bit complicated.
Not so complicated it was cede to the US as an organized territory in the Spanish American War (think Teddy and the Rough Riders) They have a no vote representative as well in the US Congress
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Quoting wolftribe2009:


true but the further west it wobbles the more likely it will be for it to hit the US. Irene right now is on a track further south than any storm to hit the Carolinas in the last couple decades. That is why I am not so sure it is going to NC but am more leaning on a landfall in South Carolina (likely near Charleston).


remember Hurricane Otto last year? it wasroughly at this same latitude/longitude when it did a V turn, went from west to NE in few hours. probably wont happen at all with Irene, but SMALL chance
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting mcluvincane:
a lot of people hanging their hats on missing the conus just because new model guidance. Are you kidding me? NC is very much in the path of a major hurricane.


No they are not hanging their hats, they are hoping it misses and keeps the burden of the people in the area. You almost sound like you want it to hit there?...:o
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While the rest of the mapping remains the same as in page15comment706, the projected first landfall and its timing needed correction.

H.Irene's_12pmGMT_ATCF : Starting 22August_12pmGMT and ending 23August_12pmGMT

The 4 shorter line-segments represent HurricaneIrene's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6amGMT then 12pmGMT :
H.Irene's travel-speed was 11.3mph(18.2k/h) on a heading of 300.7degrees(WNW)
H.Irene was headed toward passage over YankeeTown(WestCaicos)Turks&Caicos ~10hours from now

Copy&paste 18.9n67.0w-19.3n68.0w, 19.3n68.0w-19.7n68.7w, 19.7n68.7w-20.1n69.7w, 20.1n69.7w-20.6n70.6w, pls, 20.1n69.7w-21.623n72.482w, upa, asd, pls into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 23August_6amGMT)
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No it is just dry air being sucked into the very center of the storm that will steer it directly west into the gulf of mexico, I know all this better than 100+ years of forecasting from the NHC, since I learned from meteorology from the back of a Cheerio's box.

Quoting MoltenIce:

We have an eye! Or is it...?
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851. Skyepony (Mod)
Recon is descending into Irene.
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Quoting Matt74:
Is it one of the actual 50 states?


Nope and neither is Washington DC, but they are part of the US right? their resident go to the US Armed forces to serve right? well so as PuertoRicans do, but if you didn't take the time to pay attention to class when they explained that if they even did well I don't have the time or the inclination to make you a bit more knowledgeable in the subject I guess you will have to google it. Now back to the weather please.

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Quoting Matt74:
Is it one of the actual 50 states?
dude, are you for real?
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it's sad that people don't realized that Irene is STILL going to hit Bahamas no matter what until it turns NE NOW... prayers for them.
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


I know exactly how complicated it is. I'm a Puertorican. Actually I was an Independentista and used to be an active meber or "La Fupi" back in the late 80's I know Puerto Rico is about the last Colony in the world to the shame of the US, but I also learn to love the United States after I took the time to learn about how great the ppl living here are. Now I use the same passion to try help this country get rid of the Liberals here anyway subject for another forum not here.


a pues saludos hombre, yo soy natural de San Juan pero apenas hace 3 meses me mude para Tampa,FL.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1563
a lot of people hanging their hats on missing the conus just because new model guidance. Are you kidding me? NC is very much in the path of a major hurricane.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Wish all of smart ones are on here... this blog is full of idiots except for TampaSpin/ncstorm


hmmmmmmm.......never mind
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Quoting aimetti:
pretty soon the crazies are gonna start calling for Irene in the GOM.


Nah, it's EPAC bound.
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Quoting Matt74:
Is it one of the actual 50 states?


Per Wiki-

In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory.

The definition of "Commonwealth" according to current U.S. State Department policy (as codified in the department's Foreign Affairs Manual) reads: "The term 'Commonwealth' does not describe or provide for any specific political status or relationship. It has, for example, been applied to both states and territories. When used in connection with areas under U.S. sovereignty that are not states, the term broadly describes an area that is self-governing under a constitution of its adoption and whose right of self-government will not be unilaterally withdrawn by Congress".[1]

There are currently two United States insular areas classified with the status of commonwealth, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.

Of the current U.S. insular areas, the term was first used by Puerto Rico in 1952 as its formal name in English ("Commonwealth of Puerto Rico"). The formal name in Spanish for Puerto Rico is "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico,".

Despite the Spanish translation of the term "commonwealth", Puerto Rico's relationship with United States is not a Compact of Free Association (which is the case for the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands). As sovereign states, these islands have full right to conduct their own foreign relations, while the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is part of the United States as a territory. ”[2]
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gater23, local radar is not a good proof... this storm got "eye", but it's not visible.

Visible image of Katrina shows it didn't have eye

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pretty soon the crazies are gonna start calling for Irene in the GOM.
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Good morning everyone. Been lurking for years and have an occasional opinion to post. To my untrained eyes, it appears to me when looking at the storm movement on radar, has the eye moved a little south and west? Probably a wobble, but affect the next models, perhaps? TIA
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Quoting WeatherfanPR:


actually, it's not the United States but somehow it's part of the United States. This issue is a bit complicated.


I know exactly how complicated it is. I'm a Puertorican. Actually I was an Independentista and used to be an active meber or "La Fupi" back in the late 80's I know Puerto Rico is about the last Colony in the world to the shame of the US, but I also learn to love the United States after I took the time to learn about how great the ppl living here are. Now I use the same passion to try help this country get rid of the Liberals here anyway subject for another forum not here.
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Quoting Matt74:
Is it one of the actual 50 states?


no
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1563
Quoting NasBahMan:


We in the Bahamas in the path of Irene are not looking for an eye.
We are thinking of you even as people say fish we all know you are there and in the path of a major event be safe!
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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.