Irene pounds the Dominican Republic, heads for the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:32 PM GMT on August 23, 2011

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Hurricane Irene is pounding the north coast of the Dominican Republic this morning with tropical storm-force winds and torrential rains, as the storm continues to head west-northwest towards the Bahama Islands. Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic reported sustained winds of 58 mph at 5am local time this morning, with heavy rain. In the Turks and Caicos Islands ahead of Irene, winds have gusted to 42 - 49 mph this morning on Providenciales at personal weather stations at the Regent Grand and at Pine Cay. The latest hurricane hunter eye report at 10:38am EDT found a central pressure of 980 mb, and top surface winds of 85 mph using their SFMR instrument. The plane had not finished sampling the storm yet.

Yesterday, Irene hit Puerto Rico as a tropical storm with 70 mph winds, reaching hurricane strength as it emerged into the Atlantic northwest of the capital of San Juan. No deaths or major injuries have been reported thus far from the islands, though the storm knocked out power to 1 million residents of Puerto Rico, including the entire island Vieques; 28% of Puerto Rico had no running water Monday afternoon. Billionaire Richard Branson's 8-bedroom mansion on private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands was hit by lightning during the storm and burned down, and Branson relates on his blog how actress Kate Winslett had to carry out his 90-year-old mother from the main house to safety. Haiti has thus far escaped heavy rains from Irene, though the main danger comes today as the storm makes its closest approach to Haiti.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Irene, showing a hint of an eye starting to pop out.

Track forecast for Irene
Yesterday's dropsonde mission by the NOAA jet helped significantly narrow the uncertainty in the 1 - 3 day forecasts from the computer models. Irene will track through the Turks and Caicos islands today, the central Bahamas on Wednesday, and northwestern Bahamas on Thursday. However, the models still diverge considerably on their 4 - 5 days forecasts. One reliable model, the UKMET, takes Irene into South Carolina, while several others have the hurricane missing the Southeast U.S. completely, passing just offshore of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Saturday. The official NHC forecast of a landfall along the North Carolina coast is a reasonable compromise, though with the models trending more eastwards of late, I would favor a landfall farther east than NHC is predicting. Irene will continue north or curve northeast after its encounter with North Carolina, and the hurricane could be a dangerous and destructive storm for the entire mid-Atlantic and New England coast.

A research project funded by NOAA known as the Joint Hurricane Testbed has produced a remarkable number of tools now in operational use at the National Hurricane Center to improve hurricane forecasts and warnings. One of these projects, called "Prediction of Consensus TC Track Forecast Error and Correctors to Improve Consensus TC Track Forecasts", was an effort by Dr. Jim Goerss at the Navy Research Lab to improve the accuracy of the NHC "cone of uncertainty" (AKA the "Cone of Death") showing where a storm is expected to track 2/3 of the time. The radius of the circles that make up the cone are based on error statistics of the official NHC forecast over the past five years. We can expect in certain situations, such as when the models are in substantial disagreement, a consensus forecast made using these models will have much greater than average errors. Since the NHC typically bases their forecast on a consensus forecast made using a combination of reliable hurricane forecasting models, it is instructive to view the "GPCE" (Goerss Prediction Consensus Error) circles to see if the uncertainty cone should be smaller or larger than usual. The consensus forecast I'll look at is called "TVCN", and is constructed by averaging the track forecasts made by most of (or all) of these models: GFS, ECMWF, NOGAPS, GFDL, HWRF, GFDN, and UKMET. In the case of this morning's 12 UTC (8am EDT) runs of these models, here is what the radius of the "cone of uncertainty" should be, in nautical miles:

12 hours: 27 nm
24 hours: 44 nm
36 hours: 64 nm
48 hours: 81 nm
72 hours: 137 nm
96 hours: 201 nm
120 hours: 308 nm

And here is the radius of NHC's "cone of uncertainty" for their official forecast, based on the average errors for the past five years:

12 hours: 36 nm
24 hours: 59 nm
36 hours: 79 nm
48 hours: 98 nm
72 hours: 144 nm
96 hours: 190 nm
120 hours: 239 nm

So, the GPCE error estimates are showing that the latest forecasts for Irene are better than average over the 1 - 3 day time period, and worse than average for 4 - 5 days. Note the error estimate of 308 nm (355 miles) for today's 5-day forecast. That's more than the distance from New York City to Boston, suggesting that we really don't know what portions of New England might be at most risk from Irene. It is still quite possible the core of the hurricane could miss New England.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Latest microwave data suggests that Irene does not have full eyewall; a gap exists in the southwest side. With wind shear now a moderate 10 - 20 knots, Irene may have trouble intensifying today. The hurricane is embedded in a large envelope of moisture, and wind shear is expected to remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots, for the next four days. With water temperatures very warm, 29 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification to a Category 3 storm sometime in the next two days. Satellite loops show that Irene is steadily growing in size, which will protect the storm against major disruption by wind shear. The storm is lacking much development on its southwest side, where the presence of Hispaniola is interfering with development. Once Irene pulls away from Hispaniola tonight, intensification is more likely.

Irene's impact on the Turks and Caicos Islands
Heavy rains from Irene have already reached the Turks and Caicos Islands, which form the southeastern portion of the Bahama Islands chain. The last hurricane to affect the Turks and Caicos islands was Hurricane Ike of 2008. Ike's northern eyewall devastated Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, and a few other smaller cays when the storm was at Category 4 strength. Ike then weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds before making a direct hit on Great Inagua Island. Approximately 70-80% of the houses on Great Inagua Island sustained roof damage, and 25% had major damage or were destroyed. The Morton Salt factory on the island was forced to halt operations as Ike damaged its offices and loading docks. A few West Indian flamingos were killed by Ike but most of the 50,000 flamingos in Inagua National Park--the world's largest colony--survived by taking shelter within the park's mangroves or flying to other islands. Risk Management Solutions estimates that total damage costs are between $50 and $200 million (USD) for the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. Irene will be weaker than Ike, so will not do as much damage. The main threat from Irene will be wind damage.


Figure 2. The path of Hurricane Ike of 2008 took it through the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds (pink colors).

Irene's impact on the Bahama Islands
Irene will pass through the length of the Bahama Island chain and cause widespread destruction on those islands unfortunate enough to encounter the storm's right front eyewall. Currently, it appears that Crooked, Cat, Exuma, Eleuthera, and Abaco Islands are all in danger of experiencing the eyewall of Irene, which will be capable of bringing storm surges of 9 - 13 feet. The current forecast puts the Bahamas' two most developed islands--New Providence and Grand Bahama--on the weaker west side of Irene, where Category 1 hurricane winds are likely. These winds will likely cause considerable but not devastating damage. Irene will come very close to the capital city of Nassau on New Providence Island on Thursday morning, home to 70% of the population of the Bahamas. Nassau has received direct hits from three major hurricanes since 1851--the Category 4 Nassau Hurricane of 1926, which killed 287 people, a Category 4 hurricane in 1866 that killed 387 people, and a Category 3 hurricane in August 1949. The island is vulnerable to high storm surges--a ten-foot storm surge is theoretically possible on the south shore of Nassau in a Category 3 hurricane. However, the south shore of the island is relatively undeveloped, and the city of Nassau and Paradise Island are mostly higher than ten feet in elevation. A much higher storm surge of 20 feet is possible along the southwest shore of Exuma Island, but again, this shore is not heavily developed.


Figure 3. The height above ground that a mid-strength Category 3 hurricane with 120 - 125 mph winds would push a storm surge in a worst-case scenario. The image was generated using the primary computer model used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to forecast storm surge--the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. The accuracy of the SLOSH model is advertised as plus or minus 20%. This "Maximum Water Depth" image shows the water depth at each grid cell of the SLOSH domain. Thus, if you are inland at an elevation of ten feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is fifteen feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. This Maximum of the "Maximum Envelope of Waters" (MOM) image was generated for high tide and is a composite of the maximum storm surge found for dozens of individual runs of different Category 3 storms with different tracks. Thus, no single storm will be able to cause the level of flooding depicted in this SLOSH storm surge image.

Irene a potential multi-billion dollar disaster for New England and the mid-Atlantic
Though it is still possible the core of Irene will miss the U.S., the current NHC official forecast would mean that Irene would bring destructive flash flooding, significant beach damage, and widespread power outages due to tree damage along the entire U.S. coast from North Carolina to Maine, costing several billion dollars. If Irene ends up skirting the Outer Banks of North Carolina and not significantly weakening, then plowing through the mid-Atlantic and New England states as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, it could become one of the ten most damaging hurricanes in history. The latest 06Z (2am EDT) run of the GFS model puts Irene ashore in Southeast Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon as a large storm with a central pressure of 974 mb. The latest run of the ECMWF model has Irene with a central pressure of 964 mb over Chesapeake Bay, and 972 mb over New Jersey. These central pressures correspond to strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane strengths, and are similar to what Hurricane Floyd or 1999 had when it moved up the mid-Atlantic coast after hitting North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane. Floyd was the 14th most damaging hurricane in history, with total damages estimated at $9.2 billion (2010 dollars.) Most of the damage was in North Carolina, which experienced its worst flooding on record. If the GFS and ECMWF models are correct, Irene could easily be a $10 billion hurricane, causing widespread damage along a long section of heavily populated coast. The most damaging Northeast U.S. hurricane of all time was Hurricane Agnes of 1972, with damages estimated at $11.8 billion (2010 dollars.) Currently, it appears that Irene will hit North Carolina on Saturday, and New England on Sunday. I strongly urge all residents of the coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts to assess their hurricane preparedness immediately, and anticipate the possibility of hurricane conditions this weekend.

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.

Elsewhere in the tropics
There are two tropical waves far out in the eastern Atlantic, Invest 90L and Invest 98L, that NHC is giving 20% chances of developing into tropical depressions by Thursday. At present, the long-range models are showing that both of these disturbances will not be a threat to any land areas over the next seven days, and will probably move too far north to ever be a threat to land.

Texas/Oklahoma heat wave sets all-time 100° records
The unprecedented heat wave gripping Texas and Oklahoma set several new all-time heat records yesterday. The high temperature hit 101° at the Houston Intercontinental Airport yesterday, the 22nd consecutive day of 100°+ heat and 33rd day of 100°+ heat in the city. Both are all-time records for the city. Oklahoma City recorded its 51st day of 100°+ temperatures yesterday, breaking the record for most such days in year, set previously in 1980. Temperature records for Oklahoma City date back to 1891.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Irene (LRandyB)
Ragged eye of Irene
Hurricane Irene
Tragic (rlwhipkey)
This is the scene around Lake Sam Rayburn. Dead fish every 20 yards or so and dead fresh water clams everywhere. The lake is 11 feet low and is losing about an inch a day.
Tragic

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1787. cwf1069
As the pressure deep on Irene, she can be on a different steering layer if goes below 970 mb. This sugest she will slow down a little bit more, waiting for the next trough to pull her. Just my point.
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Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:
Wake up to a category 4 being predicted to directly hit Wilmington (my location).... come home from work to nearly perfect model consensus that this will completely miss my area with very little side effects (being on the west side of the storm). Interesting.

This is a perfect example of why people dont take these storms seriously.... I gotta say, considering the models showed everyone from Texas to Maine at risk... then showed Florida, GA and SC at a very high risk... then showed NC at a very high risk... and now millions and millions of people in these states will receive little-to-nothing from Irene... Wow. Its a good thing this time, but should clear up for some of us enthusiasts why the everyday person doesnt take these things seriously until the last second
You act as if the storm has already passed you.

Be patient, you never know what could happen. Those models could shift west again for all we know. They're just models.
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1785. Patrap
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Quoting ncstorm:


I think the fact that the NHC called it weak says a lot..


They were talking about the weak trough that follows the hurricane across the SE states.

"SEVERAL OF THE MODELS...INCLUDING THE
GFS...ECMWF...HWRF...AND GFDL...SHOW A TURN BACK TOWARD THE NORTH
NEAR THE END OF THE FORECAST PERIOD. THIS APPEARS TO BE IN RESPONSE
TO A WEAK TROUGH THAT MOVES THROUGH THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
BEHIND THE HURRICANE."
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Quoting Levi32:
Irene looks to be trying to reform her CDO again. We will see how long it lasts. These attempts will become easier to maintain as the core pulls away from Hispaniola.

IR Loop


May not need anymore attempts after this one.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Quoting Grothar:
Nice thunderstorms over central Africa.




Are any of them headed to Texas? - Hi Grothar!
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1781. Relix
Quoting MississippiWx:
90L will probably receive an upgrade in percentage later tonight in the TWO. Nice flare-up over the center.





Will it really go out to sea like models say? Many in PR are looking towards this little wave.
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1780. Levi32
Irene looks to be trying to reform her CDO again. We will see how long it lasts. These attempts will become easier to maintain as the core pulls away from Hispaniola.

IR Loop
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
1779. hamla
QUOTING MISSISSIPPIWX

U THINK IRINE IS THE FAT LADY WHO IS GONA SING LOL
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1777. 996tt
Quoting MississippiWx:


It won't happen. Let's just put it that way. It's a different situation than with Andrew.

Anyway, we have 19 years more of study and new technology now. She's going up the coast somewhere east of Florida.


The same technology had Gustav going up east coast in 2008 when Gustav was in a similar location. Gustav never turned either.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
90L will probably receive an upgrade in percentage later tonight in the TWO. Nice flare-up over the center.





No way, Jose.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Quoting TerraNova:
Cleaner view of the models and the interesting trend that NHC mentioned in their 5 PM discussion...



Those suck. Earl, Part II.
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1774. redux
storm track will be like a typical noreaster. won't know what happens until it does.
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Quoting CoopsWife:
Hey, Va Beach - all done prepping? Lots of trees up Little Neck way.


Well im at college so not much to do here, but called the parents and made sure they already had everything all set. Now just sitting and waiting making sure it starts to turn, on the weathertap sat it looks like its wobbling west again :(
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Quoting BahaHurican:
You ain't the only one.... lol ... much harder to get to cat 4/5 before exiting the Bahamas...


Not really, all those winds gotta do is catch up to the pressure drop and Irene is right back in the saddle. But better for you ppl in the Bahamas FOR NOW
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GFS running. 0 hr.

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Quoting scott39:
How is the intensity of Irene being lowered in the forecsat, going to play out in the track?


the intensity forecast, in this case, will be adjusted according to current intensification trends. If a round of rapid intensification ensues, I would not be surprised to see the forecast upped significantly. If, for some reason, the storm does not intensify as much... the forecast could be lowered. However, logically speaking the Hurricane is in a decent environment and warm water for modest-to-moderate intensification. My feeling is that there is a moderate risk of it reaching strength higher than the official forecast. But that remains to be seen.

Edit - The hurricane has weakened slightly, although it is probably temporary the intensity forecasts have been nudged downward. You can see my point. A lot of the strength rests on what the storm does, not on what is predicted. Interestingly enough, more and more models show Irene either not curving to the northeast, or turning back to the north after a short northeast stint. This in response to a weak trough digging into the southeast states behind Irene. This is somewhat alarming, since it is quite similar to the track of the Hurricane of 1938. But will it be as intense? Will it happen this way at all? Questions still yet to be answered.
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5:00pm Advisory
*Click on image for enlarged version
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
1768. palmpt
Quoting ConnecticutWXGuy:
I must agree a lot of people that show up here for major events have no clue what they are talking about. I will admit, I am a bit of a lurker in these blogs, and usually comment much more during the winter months.... as Nor'Easters and other New England winter weather events are more my specialty. However, I have been researching and forecasting the weather since I was 5 years old, and I am 28 now. While I do consider myself a bit of a weather buff, I know there are more well trained people than me... with a higher education. That being said, I can't help but to be made sick when I see people claiming that Irene is in the process of breaking up (obviously confusing a temporary slowing of the strengthening process via a little bit of dry air and some mountains) turn on their troll-machines and start criticizing people who are not forecasting this to be a "fish" storm.

As a matter of fact, we have seen quite a bit of model consensus over the last 48 hours, and even a little longer. The models have consistently depicted Irene striking somewhere between the SC/NC border, and passing just east of Cape Cod. This "cone" has not changed all that much, but it has shrank a bit... resulting in much of the Carolinas possibly being spared, but with an increased risk to New England and the upper Mid Atlantic. As we speak, the latest GFS and ECMWF models both show Irene taking a track up through or just off the NC coastline, and impacting western Long Island/CT. This is a solution that has been near the center of the "cone of uncertainty" the entire time... yet people claim that the models have been unreliable?

Anyone who knows anything about computer models and tropical systems see it as an obvious fact that models do not pick up on tropical systems and their tracks well until they are well developed. Yet, ever since Irene became a Hurricane the forecast track and the vast majority of the models have remained fairly consistent. Is this going to be a fish storm? Maybe. Is this storm going to make landfall? Maybe. But one thing is for sure, nobody knows for sure... and the models have likely made more accurate predictions than most of the human beings commenting here.

As for all the bickering between members, personally I would like to see the site moderate this a bit better, and eliminate the trouble makers.

As for my personal feeling about the storm, I think the track will fall between the last two most recent runs of the GFS and the ECMWF. There is no real reason to believe this storm will fly harmlessly out to sea, at the moment anyway - considering the ridge to the east of the storm track, and the not-too-impressive troughs helping steer it northward. I have a hard time believe such weak features will save the entire coastline from impacts, but if I'm wrong... heck, I don't feel bad, and no true weather buff or meteorologist should feel bad or feel like they failed the public in any way if they end up being wrong. Who's really failing the public? Well... the public fails the public more than any meteorologist ever has. They are the ones who expect computer models to have an exact track more than a week in advance.. and they are the ones who let their guard down based on shallow reasoning such as "well the forecast was wrong before so it will be wrong this time too."

Quit finger pointing, and quit trying to suggest that your forecasts, hopecasting, landcasting, fishcasting, whatever you want to call it is the definitively RIGHT solution. I've seen people screaming "fish storm" here and I've seen people calling for mass destruction of the entire US Coastline, when in fact there is no definitive reason to believe either will happen, they are both still possibilities. All we can do is take what info we have NOW and make an educated assessment, and forecast the most likely scenarios based on our knowledge. But for people with little to no forecasting experience or in depth education to come in here and criticize anyone, especially the educated and dedicated meteorologists of this site and elsewhere... you should be ashamed... and I wish you would take your bull elsewhere.

Sorry for the rant, but I've seen more pointless non-sense posted here than useful info about Irene over the last 24 hours. Let's get serious people.


That is a show nuff lecture.
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90L will probably receive an upgrade in percentage later tonight in the TWO. Nice flare-up over the center.



Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
Great image of that CDO Patrap!



The "eye" feature from this morning has filled in, dropping pressures, then boom tonight we'll see the nice beautiful rippled outflow.

She's going to get real pretty tonight.

I predict a 10 nautical mile eye in the morning, over that hot water, she's going to be tight!
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Hey, Va Beach - all done prepping? Lots of trees up Little Neck way.
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Quoting alvarig1263:


There are a few things that would need to happen atmospherically for that scenario to take place. I certainly am not ruling it out as with this system already and a countless number of systems in the past have just outright fooled all the weathermen and super computers. So to be on the safe side if anyone lives in S FL, like myself, I would stay tuned in to the latest....


Definitely
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Eye popping out again directly south of Turks and caicos, moving due west it seems, :/
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Quoting presslord:
since there's a bit of blog bashing going on...let me add this:

I've spoken by phone today with an even dozen WU bloggers...and, without exception, they have been some of the nicest, smartest, most caring people I've ever dealt with......you know who you are...


Oh thank you :)
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 744
1761. Patrap
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Quoting rchira1:


***ALERT***


What happens if this storm continues on this wnw track and does not make that turn its supposed to make? Where would the storm hit? SOUTH FLORIDA ?


Remember Andrew. It was coming towards south florida but all of the computer models and weathermen said it would not hit south florida and it was going to make a turn away from s florida. the next morning, they said it missed the turn and now coming straight at south florida . everybody had less than 24 hours to get ready and that evening it came.


***Voice Your Opinions On This***


There are a few things that would need to happen atmospherically for that scenario to take place. I certainly am not ruling it out as with this system already and a countless number of systems in the past have just outright fooled all the weathermen and super computers. So to be on the safe side if anyone lives in S FL, like myself, I would stay tuned in to the latest....
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 744
Quoting rchira1:


***ALERT***


What happens if this storm continues on this wnw track and does not make that turn its supposed to make? Where would the storm hit? SOUTH FLORIDA ?


Remember Andrew. It was coming towards south florida but all of the computer models and weathermen said it would not hit south florida and it was going to make a turn away from s florida. the next morning, they said it missed the turn and now coming straight at south florida . everybody had less than 24 hours to get ready and that evening it came.


***Voice Your Opinions On This***


It won't happen. Let's just put it that way. It's a different situation than with Andrew.

Anyway, we have 19 years more of study and new technology now. She's going up the coast somewhere east of Florida.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
I LIKE LOWERING to Cat 1 !!!
You ain't the only one.... lol ... much harder to get to cat 4/5 before exiting the Bahamas...
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1757. ncstorm
Quoting SCwannabe:
This is still very much a timing thing people. I don't think the trough will be as amplified as the models are thinking-IMO. I don't see that weak trough pulling this thing-JMO SC and NC are still very much in play as the NHC cone includes.


I think the fact that the NHC called it weak says a lot..
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1756. scott39
Quoting sullivanweather:
Next, with the 500mb charts...

I drew lines representing the base of the trough and trough axis. As well as lines connecting Bermuda with the crest of the offshore ridge.

Note how when the trough digs the ridge, in response, builds. Since the front will be lifting out fast, leaving Irene behind for the second trough, the building of the ridge will keep Irene from recurving.





How is the intensity of Irene being lowered in the forecsat, going to play out in the track?
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Quoting rchira1:


***ALERT***


What happens if this storm continues on this wnw track and does not make that turn its supposed to make? Where would the storm hit? SOUTH FLORIDA ?


Remember Andrew. It was coming towards south florida but all of the computer models and weathermen said it would not hit south florida and it was going to make a turn away from s florida. the next morning, they said it missed the turn and now coming straight at south florida . everybody had less than 24 hours to get ready and that evening it came.


***Voice Your Opinions On This***

You also have to think that was 19 years ago technology has improved greatly since then
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since there's a bit of blog bashing going on...let me add this:

I've spoken by phone today with an even dozen WU bloggers...and, without exception, they have been some of the nicest, smartest, most caring people I've ever dealt with......you know who you are...
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Quoting MississippiWx:
The chances of Irene taking the exact NHC track are slim to none. Irene is very close to hitting SC, even on the exact track of the NHC. The trends farther and farther east are nice, but it's not over until the fat lady sings.

The OBX and New England are still in the forecast track. New Englad probably won't be dealing with a major, though, as Irene will most likely be struggling with dry continental air at that time. Even still, she could be a disaster.


I just hope it doesn't pull "Hugo"... turning at the last moments is bad stuff to deal with, so I would keep telling people along SC/NC coast to get ready and keep the eye on the cone.
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1731 - plus 1,000 if I could. Thank you, Sir (or Ma'am)

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Irene growing "pole-ward" again. Intensifying?
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 744
1749. scott39
I didnt mean to post 1731.---sorry
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1748. air360
I really dont have model support or big evidence...but just thinking about what i have seen and read on everything and wondering a few things...since they are talking about a possible bend back to the west towards the end of the period.... if the storm actually slowed down some (as it showed in 12z run compared to 06z models) could that bend happen earlier than the track shows and "cover" more or NC/VA than currently forecast even though the initial track is more east?

**this isn't wishcasting...its trying to understand how everything works together and the possible outcomes overall**
Member Since: October 13, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 275
This guy had REAL DAMAGE....

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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Really great advice, if you have ever been to any NWS office (much less the NHC) you would be amazed at the amount of technology and expertise present. There are some very intelligent people that post here, but still I doubt anyone here has access to AWIPS and all the other tools the NWS has. Also your local authorities get their information straight from the NWS so they are also good to get advice from.
You are NOT lying. I asked NWS Raleigh if I can have a tour. They said sure and dated the tour for April 16th (yep, NC outbreak occurred that date). On morning of April 16th, I went on SPC site (as usual during tornado season) and saw NC under HIGH RISK. NWS Raleigh called me to move the tour to next weekend because they are busy with the storm. We all know what happened on April 16th and NWS Raleigh saved many lives by getting tornado warnings correctly in most cases. Next week, I went to NC State for NWS tour. They only got 3 or 4 people running one shift at the time (can be up to 10 during MAJOR events) running MANY models, forecasts, radars, satellite images, flood stages, measurement, etc. They said they got 20 more members of NWS team on the field doing measurements. They also were working on reports from April 16th outbreak and they explained what happened with EF-3 Sanford/Raleigh tornado and explained it ALMOST got to EF-4, but the winds measurements didn't support it. Trust me, NWS offices KNOW what they are doing.
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The chances of Irene taking the exact NHC track are slim to none. Irene is very close to hitting SC, even on the exact track of the NHC. The trends farther and farther east are nice, but it's not over until the fat lady sings.

The OBX and New England are still in the forecast track. New Englad probably won't be dealing with a major, though, as Irene will most likely be struggling with dry continental air at that time. Even still, she could be a disaster.


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
1744. Grothar
Nice thunderstorms over central Africa.

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1743. scott39
Quoting ConnecticutWXGuy:
I must agree a lot of people that show up here for major events have no clue what they are talking about. I will admit, I am a bit of a lurker in these blogs, and usually comment much more during the winter months.... as Nor'Easters and other New England winter weather events are more my specialty. However, I have been researching and forecasting the weather since I was 5 years old, and I am 28 now. While I do consider myself a bit of a weather buff, I know there are more well trained people than me... with a higher education. That being said, I can't help but to be made sick when I see people claiming that Irene is in the process of breaking up (obviously confusing a temporary slowing of the strengthening process via a little bit of dry air and some mountains) turn on their troll-machines and start criticizing people who are not forecasting this to be a "fish" storm.

As a matter of fact, we have seen quite a bit of model consensus over the last 48 hours, and even a little longer. The models have consistently depicted Irene striking somewhere between the SC/NC border, and passing just east of Cape Cod. This "cone" has not changed all that much, but it has shrank a bit... resulting in much of the Carolinas possibly being spared, but with an increased risk to New England and the upper Mid Atlantic. As we speak, the latest GFS and ECMWF models both show Irene taking a track up through or just off the NC coastline, and impacting western Long Island/CT. This is a solution that has been near the center of the "cone of uncertainty" the entire time... yet people claim that the models have been unreliable?

Anyone who knows anything about computer models and tropical systems see it as an obvious fact that models do not pick up on tropical systems and their tracks well until they are well developed. Yet, ever since Irene became a Hurricane the forecast track and the vast majority of the models have remained fairly consistent. Is this going to be a fish storm? Maybe. Is this storm going to make landfall? Maybe. But one thing is for sure, nobody knows for sure... and the models have likely made more accurate predictions than most of the human beings commenting here.

As for all the bickering between members, personally I would like to see the site moderate this a bit better, and eliminate the trouble makers.

As for my personal feeling about the storm, I think the track will fall between the last two most recent runs of the GFS and the ECMWF. There is no real reason to believe this storm will fly harmlessly out to sea, at the moment anyway - considering the ridge to the east of the storm track, and the not-too-impressive troughs helping steer it northward. I have a hard time believe such weak features will save the entire coastline from impacts, but if I'm wrong... heck, I don't feel back, and no true weather buff or meteorologist should feel bad or feel like they failed the public in any way if they end up being wrong. Who's really failing the public? Well... the public fails the public more than any meteorologist ever has. They are the ones who expect computer models to have an exact track more than a week in advance.. and they are the ones who let their guard down based on shallow reasoning such as "well the forecast was wrong before so it will be wrong this time too."

Quit finger pointing, and quit trying to suggest that your forecasts, hopecasting, landcasting, fishcasting, whatever you want to call it is the definitively RIGHT solution. I've seen people screaming "fish storm" here and I've seen people calling for mass destruction of the entire US Coastline, when in fact there is no definitive reason to believe either will happen, they are both still possibilities. All we can do is take what info we have NOW and make an educated assessment, and forecast the most likely scenarios based on out knowledge. But for people with little to no forecasting experience or in depth education to come in here and criticize anyone, especially the educated and dedicated meteorologists of this site and elsewhere... you should be ashamed... and I wish you would take your bull elsewhere.

Sorry for the rant, but I've seen more pointless non-sense posted here than useful info about Irene over the last 24 hours. Let's get serious people.
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1742. Patrap
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery


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"Blob" and low pressure off GA have dissipated. No worries about those factors...
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 744
This is still very much a timing thing people. I don't think the trough will be as amplified as the models are thinking-IMO. I don't see that weak trough pulling this thing-JMO SC and NC are still very much in play as the NHC cone includes.
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Quoting TerraNova:
Cleaner view of the models and the interesting trend that NHC mentioned in their 5 PM discussion...



We discussed this last night, actually.

Quoting sullivanweather:



Those trough will be there, stacked up one after the next. However, notice their orientation; negatively tilted. This, combined with the Bermuda high offshore being so far north will keep this thing on a north-northeast heading.



Here's the GFS model for 2am EDT Sunday night/monday morning. You can see how the two troughs over the eastern half of the nation are both digging towards the southeast while that high offshore remains anchored there. Not good.



(a pic would be nice)

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Recon. about 435 miles from the center of Irene. I'm curious to see if the pressure continues to drop and if the winds have responded to those pressure drops yet.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313


equals...

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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.