Category 3 Hurricane Irene tracks northwest through the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:55 PM GMT on August 24, 2011

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Hurricane Irene remains a powerful category 3 this afternoon, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. Irene is moving northwest through the Bahamas at 12 mph, and its center has cleared the northern edge of Crooked Island. The next islands in the path of Irene are Rum Cay (population 80) and Cat Island (population 1700), which it will encounter later tonight. Irene will track northeast of Long Island (in the Bahamas) over the next 24 hours. George Town has been reporting wind gusts up to around 40 mph this afternoon, and wind speed will likely increase during the next 12 hours as Irene's center passes about 30-40 miles to their northeast. Long Island in the Bahamas will likely see category 1 winds, which begin at 74 mph. Shelters on New Providence and Grand Bahama are open and ready for business, and Grand Bahama International Airport will remain closed until Irene passes.

Irene continues to look well-organized on satellite, especially compared to yesterday afternoon. Since then, intense upward motion, and therefore strong thunderstorm activity, has encompassed the center on all sides, which has led to a well-defined eye. Throughout the morning, Irene's eye wall has shrunk, and a new eye wall could be developing, although it remains unclear at this point. If this is the case, it could lead to some temporary weakening of the hurricane, which would be good for the Bahamas. This afternoon, Irene's hurricane-force winds extend 50 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 205 miles from the center. Earlier this morning, an Air Force Hurricane Hunter mission investigated Irene and a NOAA Gulfstream (Gonzo) is currently collecting data around the hurricane.


Figure 1. Microwave satellite imagery of Irene captured at 8am this morning. Image source: Naval Research Laboratory.

Track forecast for Irene
NOAA has continued dropsonde missions today, scouring the atmosphere for data as far north as the waters off of South Carolina. Every bit of upper-air data that the models can ingest will lead to better forecasts and decreased uncertainty. These missions are an investment that pay off. Irene will track through the central Bahamas today, the northwestern Bahamas on Thursday, and approach the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Friday. Beyond this there is a bit of divergence in the models. Both the GFDL and the HWRF are forecasting a landfall on Long Island, New York, and the ECMWF continues to suggest a landfall even further west than that. NOGAPS is still the eastern outlier, which misses the U.S. all together and makes landfall in Canada. Today the official track forecast from the National Hurricane Center agrees with the GFS forecast through Saturday morning, and then diverges ever so slightly to the west of that through Monday. It has become clear over the past 3 days that everyone on the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine should be prepared to feel impacts from Hurricane Irene.


Figure 2. Official track forecast provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Irene continues to be embedded in a large envelope of moisture, and wind shear is expected to remain low to moderate, 5 - 20 knots, for the next three days. With water temperatures very warm, 28 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification to a category 4 hurricane (winds of 131 to 155 mph). The only reliable model that's not forecasting this intensification is the GFS, and this is likely due to its relatively course spatial resolution. The National Hurricane Center expects Irene to intensify to a category 4 tomorrow, with a decrease in intensity back to a category 3 on Friday.

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

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

Our Wundermap is also a great resource for tracking hurricanes, with the ability to turn on multiple layers of data, including satellite, official track forecast, and current weather observations from not only the U.S. but the Caribbean and Bahamas, as well. Here's a link to get you started.

Angela

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2768. will40




even further west than GFS
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2767. help4u
post 2757 lol!
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

What's your point?

Study: Stronger hurricanes loom
Fewer expected but bigger storms to bring more damage

WASHINGTON — Top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming, seeming to settle a scientific debate on the subject.


Exactly as has been predicted..


the 8 other storms this season disprove your theory, you cant just post it during the 1 out of 9 that does...
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2765. nigel20
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2764. Torgen
Quoting LAlurker:

Yes, the population in NY is VERY dense!


baDUM tish!

He's here all week folks!

Tip your waitress, and try the veal!
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2763. Gorty
Quoting Gorty:
Uggh, models have shifted west by New England... not good.

Puts me in western Mass more at risk for the very, very strong winds.

Link
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Quoting Cat5Hurricane250:
Link

Long range GFS showing the potential for quite a bit of action after Irene and 90L.



hmmmm, interesting.
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Experimental FIM is also further west.
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2759. Grothar
Quoting Torgen:


Houston has nowhere near the number of skyscrapers that NYC has. That's what he means by "a metro area like this." I've heard stories from people who've been in NYC in winter where the buildings channel the winds in a noreaster and can pick people up off the ground. Imagine what a steady 100mph hurricane will do.


It happens all the time. Try and walk down 86th St and Riverside Drive on a blustery day. I have seen people picked up and dropped. The smaller streets are worse. The become wind tunnels.
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2758. nigel20
Would a fast moving storm amplify the storm surge in the right front quadrant?
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Quoting Floodman:



AIEEEE! Jeez, don't sneak up on people like that; make a noise or something, huh?


What's your point?

Study: Stronger hurricanes loom
Fewer expected but bigger storms to bring more damage

WASHINGTON — Top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming, seeming to settle a scientific debate on the subject.


Exactly as has been predicted..
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting KittieCane:


Can someone tell me why this fast moving trough over the US will have no effect on Irene?


Trough is supposed to stall...Irene will then merge with the front...causing rain and tornadoes as well...gonna be a long weekend along the East Coast.
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HWRF 42hrs:
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Quoting thelmores:
was watching a weather station..... Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, in the direct path of Irene...... watching it show sustained winds 45-50mph....... when it just stopped!

By my rude calculations, these poor folks may have 50-100mph+ sustained winds for the next 14-18 hours!

That tells you how big Irene's wind field is!

Prayers to those in harms way tonight and tomorrow in the Bahama's!

aside from the destruction its causing, what a shame all that wind energy is going to waste
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Link

Long range GFS showing the potential for quite a bit of action after Irene and 90L.
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00Z HWRF, through 42 hours, NO eastern movement at all
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OK thanx yall. Just catchin up. I saw 55 blog pages and didn't want to scroll through them all. Wowzers!
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2750. Gorty
Uggh, models have shifted west by New England... not good.

Puts me in western Mass more at risk for the very, very strong winds.

Link
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Quoting dogsgomoo:


No offense to the lovely Houston but New York is a whole other creature. It's not just the square footage of the city but also it's population and density.

Yes, the population in NY is VERY dense!
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2748. Torgen
Quoting nofailsafe:


I'm from Texas and Houston ≠ NYC.


I know Houston, I've lived in Houston. Houston was a friend of mine. Houston is no New York City.

(1am, no wonder I'm loopy.)
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

How much can be attributed to man made Climate Change? How much worse will it get in coming years if we even now with under 1 C global mean temperature rise experience such phenomena...



AIEEEE! Jeez, don't sneak up on people like that; make a noise or something, huh?

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Quoting KittieCane:


Can someone tell me why this fast moving trough over the US will have no effect on Irene?

it is what will turn her to the north
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was watching a weather station..... Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, in the direct path of Irene...... watching it show sustained winds 45-50mph....... when it just stopped!

By my rude calculations, these poor folks may have 50-100mph+ sustained winds for the next 14-18 hours!

That tells you how big Irene's wind field is!

Prayers to those in harms way tonight and tomorrow in the Bahama's!
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00z UKMET appears to have shifted west.

Seems like those flights did help.
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Quoting KittieCane:


Can someone tell me why this fast moving trough over the US will have no effect on Irene?


Someone just said something about the front stalling that they heard on the Weather Channel. That might change the game....
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Inbound run again... I wonder where it will be this time?
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00Z HWRF, between 30 and 36 hours, also due north.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:


Only a Texan would compare Houston to New York City.


I'm from Texas and Houston ≠ NYC.
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Can someone tell me why this fast moving trough over the US will have no effect on Irene?
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Is there anything that could weaken Irene by the time it makes it up the the New York area (dry air, colder water, etc)? (if that is where it ends up going)


Land. If she tracks further west in the cone, she will weaken considerably over NC. Really a lose lose situation....bc regardless someone gets smacked!
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Quoting Tazmanian:
can the white house with stan a hurricane

No,the White House failed during Katrina, and will likely fail again.
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2736. IMA
Quoting Orcasystems:



You beat me to it, Orca - I was busy doing this:
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Looking at the 00Z HWRF models points. Irene look NNW up to 24 hours, then between 24 and 30 hours, it's almost directly North.
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2734. Levi32
I forgot to just check a buoy....

Just off eastern Long Island, before it went offline 4 days ago, reported 24C.

Link

Later.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Houston's a pretty place. Metro-wise, like Miami. None of those storms had sustained high end CAT1 winds. Plus, I've been in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. and NYC. There's nothing that compares to the density of Manhattan ISLAND. It's a sea of tall buildings, plus an extensive infrastructure as deep as 200 feet in some places.


Only a Texan would compare Houston to New York City.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
img src="">




Not sure what the purpose of that video was......that happens everyday in Florida.
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30 hrs:
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Quoting Tazmanian:
can the white house with stan a hurricane
i don't know if they can with stan, but betty for sure:) just funning ya!
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Quoting CCkid00:


Chances are VERY VERY VERY HIGH that this is correct, that it isn't going to Florida at all. My point, though, was that until it is NORTH of Florida, people should still pay attention and that it was foolish for the poster to say ZERO chance. There is always a chance with a hurricane, until it is away from you. Furthermore, chance ARE that Florida will get some (not alot, but some) rain and winds from Irene so to say "nowhere near Florida" is foolish.


Yes, until a storm is past your house and sometimes not even then don't count yourself out of the woods. No matter what an "Expert" says mother nature doesn't get cable.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Your no slouch, other words come to mind... slouch wasn't any of them :)

Any sign of rain yet in your neck of the woods?

Wonder where the next Vortex plot will be?


Rain? Wait, I've heard of that...isn't that where water falls from the sky? Seems I read about that when I was a kid...

6 to 5 and pick 'em

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looks like the HH is going for other pass
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
2726. Torgen
Quoting keisa90:


What would you call Houston? It is a very large metro area and has seen the likes of Ike, Alicia and TS Allison.


Houston has nowhere near the number of skyscrapers that NYC has. That's what he means by "a metro area like this." I've heard stories from people who've been in NYC in winter where the buildings channel the winds in a noreaster and can pick people up off the ground. Imagine what a steady 100mph hurricane will do.
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2725. nigel20
Quoting Bluestorm5:
if I'm not mistaken, Irene will go more west... I'm not an expert, so...

OK thanks for your input.
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2724. Grothar
Levi, this is what usually use.

img src="">
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Quoting keisa90:


What would you call Houston? It is a very large metro area and has seen the likes of Ike, Alicia and TS Allison.
Houston's a pretty place. Metro-wise, like Miami. None of those storms had sustained high end CAT1 winds. Plus, I've been in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. and NYC. There's nothing that compares to the density of Manhattan ISLAND. It's a sea of tall buildings, plus an extensive infrastructure as deep as 200 feet in some places.
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Quoting keisa90:


What would you call Houston? It is a very large metro area and has seen the likes of Ike, Alicia and TS Allison.


No offense to the lovely Houston but New York is a whole other creature. It's not just the square footage of the city but also it's population and density.
Member Since: March 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 316
Quoting TexasHurricane:
Is there anything that could weaken Irene by the time it makes it up the the New York area (dry air, colder water, etc)? (if that is where it ends up going)
Levi did mentioned dry air being the last defense...
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8031
Quoting Floodman:


Given the current steering, that ain't going to happen; at this point the furthest south this will be is the NC/SC border, and more likely nearly on the NHC track...

They are obviously very confident in their track forecast - just wouldn't be the first time.
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24hrs HWRF:
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Quoting Tazmanian:



ok


dos any one no how strong the white house can with stan a hurricane like cat 1 cat 2 cat 3 cat 4 cat 5 ???




One way to find out.
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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.