Category 3 Hurricane Irene tracks northwest through the Bahamas

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

Share this Blog
35
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 2668 - 2618

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65Blog Index

GFS basically takes 90L north, stalls it and kills it out. Still not convinced as the GFS has it moving WNW already...It's moving SW.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
Quoting Floodman:


Isn't that the way it goes...sticks are okay too though; just not nearly as fun or lively as a puppy (trying to help out...how am I doing?)


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?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWaterFront:
I just don't understand this.Expert mets in Florida have already made the following declaration:

"This is NOT Florida's storm, people. This storm is NOT coming to Florida, so please stop worrying about that."

Why would they make such a bold declaration unless there was almost zero chance of Irene coming to Florida? And furthermore, there is more research and analytical data going into the forecast for Irene than there has been for any hurricane in history. You know what that means? It means it is not going to come to Florida, period.


Agreed! The further west she goes...the more she nails OBX...that is the question now. She's not going to Florida.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2665. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:


I notice you have already answered most of what I was going to ask. But just this one. If the current wind field extends outward 255 miles from the center and the closest approach to the Florida Coastline will be 200 miles (at the present time) Just your opinion, do you think TS warning might be on the agenda tomorrow. 2nd part. The very slight westward jogging is beginning to concern some of us down here. What is causing it and how long might it be expected to last. Now I don't often ask you questions and I know this is loaded, but you can make your answer briefer than my questions. :)


Well the TS wind field at maximum is 225 miles to the east of the center, but it extends out only 120 miles to the west. With that in mind, the center is forecasted to pass 180 miles east of Florida, which is why only offshore TS warnings are in effect.

The continued NW motion is nothing to be concerned about unless the storm ends up west of 77W tomorrow morning. The turn right now is supposed to be very gradual, and honestly it's not really deviating significantly from the forecast track at this time. We'll have to see where it is in the morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scCane:
New steering layer just updated



what does the line just north of irene,with a arrow pointing to the west actually mean? air flow? or?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2663. nigel20

The SAL is almost non existent.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLWaterFront:
I just don't understand this.Expert mets in Florida have already made the following declaration:

"This is NOT Florida's storm, people. This storm is NOT coming to Florida, so please stop worrying about that."

Why would they make such a bold declaration unless there was almost zero chance of Irene coming to Florida? And furthermore, there is more research and analytical data going into the forecast for Irene than there has been for any hurricane in history. You know what that means? It means it is not going to come to Florida, period.


I pray you are correct. But at this point, I'll believe it when I see it and if you live on the north to central east Florida coast you would be foolish to ignore it. Even experts make mistakes and they are most certainly not in charge of where this storm goes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
And why am I asking a question about 90L when Irene is heading for me, NC Coast?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I know how these thing jig and jog......but that last one was a pretty sharp left turn......its gotta come back right correct.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


I notice you have already answered most of what I was going to ask. But just this one. If the current wind field extends outward 255 miles from the center and the closest approach to the Florida Coastline will be 200 miles (at the present time) Just your opinion, do you think TS warning might be on the agenda tomorrow. 2nd part. The very slight westward jogging is beginning to concern some of us down here. What is causing it and how long might it be expected to last. Now I don't often ask you questions and I know this is loaded, but you can make your answer briefer than my questions. :)


Tropical storm force wind radius in the western semicircle only extends about 150 miles so I wouldn't expect there would be any need for warnings other than the marine coastal warnings that are already in place.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting c150flyer:


I'm prepping for a 1500 mile trek to Morehead City... Tomorrow is decision day. Thanks btw for your quick and detailed response to my WU mail... :)


No problem.

You should have some intense conditions in Morehead. Might see a Hurricane Watch tomorrow.

Try and get some pics/video if you can!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Irene needs to start turning before Nassau or else rather significant changes could be in order.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Maybe; most likely it'll end up a few ticks west of the next point and put it somewhere between Morehead City and Wiimington for a good old downhome landfall


If it goes to Jacksonville the Marines will kick it's @zz.
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
2655. redux
Quoting Levi32:
Well this is not good....recent AVHRR SST passes indicate that 27C waters extend right up to the coast of Long Island. This is strange because other analysis I have seen (such as LSU) says that SSTs drop below 25C rapidly north of the Gulf Stream there, but upon using a photo-editing program to figure out what temperature on the scale that the colors near Long Island correspond to, this image indicates 27C. I wonder which analysis is correct.



LSU SSTs:



does lake ontario get that hot in summertime??

I am suspicious of the first data.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2654. Levi32
NOAA-15 also says warm right up to Long Island:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rhiles2760:

2609. MississippiWx 4:22 AM GMT on August 25, 2011 +0 Hide this comment.
123...Ridge builds back in over 90L and forces it WSW.

Do you think that 90L will be drawn around the Ridge by Irene?


Irene will have no effect on 90L.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
Worst case scenario. The only good thing is it's happening on a week-end in NYC. That cuts the population in half. There's not much chance of evacuating probably more than 25% of the people who are left. The rest will be in a sea of tall buildings. We've never seen a cyclone hit a metro area like this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For the sake of future confidence in NHC forecasts, I hope Irene starts moving due North soon. I'd sure hate to be the guy in charge when they change shifts and he gets told he needs to tell all the Emergency management people on the East coast of FL that they need to issue evacuation orders. Sounds like that would be a serious case of indigestion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2650. Gorty
I am sooo on the edge of my seat with Irene here in western Mass.... can't believe I have to say that about a hurricane lol.

Edge of my seat with t-storms? common

Winter storms? Common

Cyclones? Not common.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nigel20:
When Irene's EWRC is completed, will she form a new eye?




you think?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I was hoping for a puppy... all I am getting is a stick :(


Isn't that the way it goes...sticks are okay too though; just not nearly as fun or lively as a puppy (trying to help out...how am I doing?)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Well this is not good....recent AVHRR SST passes indicate that 27C waters extend right up to the coast of Long Island. This is strange because other analysis I have seen (such as LSU) says that SSTs drop below 25C rapidly north of the Gulf Stream there, but upon using a photo-editing program to figure out what temperature on the scale that the colors near Long Island correspond to, this image indicates 27C. I wonder which analysis is correct.



LSU SSTs:



AOML agrees more with LSU.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
2646. ncstorm
From this image, Wilmington looks to get more than TS winds..we are in the red


Member Since: Posts: Comments:

2609. MississippiWx 4:22 AM GMT on August 25, 2011 +0 Hide this comment.
123...Ridge builds back in over 90L and forces it WSW.

Do you think that 90L will be drawn around the Ridge by Irene?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Well, I sure ain;t Levi, but I'm no slouch either (actually, I'm a tremendous slouch, but that's a story for another time) and I know that given the amount of atmosphere she's effecting and her mass will take a whle to turn effectively...it won't take much variation for the track to change tragically at this point. It would juast about take an act of God to for Florida to be in dnager at this point, but too nuch of this and Wilmington is very much back into the picture...another half a degree and this is very much a different storm for the folks in N&S Carolina
I hope I don't wake up in the morning to see Raleigh back in the game...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:



I don't see a lot of turning going on


Orca
It's just starting. Be patient.
Jesse
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Concerned about Irene being pulled west by the ULL in the GOM, high pressure has moved towards the west and is now over New Mexico, so a ridge to the west of Irene is not a problem. The ATL ridge to the east of Irene continues to build westward and is squeezing Irene into a small corridor. Irene better pick up speed or hope that trough digs deeper and sooner, or Irene will be hitting anywhere from FL to SC before we even think about NC and New England. Just saying...
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 744
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
You can expect me to be in NE NJ if the 00z GFS happens.


I'm prepping for a 1500 mile trek to Morehead City... Tomorrow is decision day. Thanks btw for your quick and detailed response to my WU mail... :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Well, I sure ain;t Levi, but I'm no slouch either (actually, I'm a tremendous slouch, but that's a story for another time) and I know that given the amount of atmosphere she's effecting and her mass will take a whle to turn effectively...it won't take much variation for the track to change tragically at this point. It would juast about take an act of God to for Florida to be in dnager at this point, but too nuch of this and Wilmington is very much back into the picture...another half a degree and this is very much a different storm for the folks in N&S Carolina


" Don't sell yourself short Judge...you're a tremendous slouch."

;^)
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting TampaSpin:
Tell ya South Carolina needs to watch this beast.....


Maybe; most likely it'll end up a few ticks west of the next point and put it somewhere between Morehead City and Wiimington for a good old downhome landfall
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2638. nigel20
When Irene's EWRC is completed, will she form a new eye?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2637. vince1
Quoting tennisgirl08:


Well, there goes our economy...lol

That was doomed well before Irene surfaced.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2636. Grothar
Quoting Levi32:


Sure.


I notice you have already answered most of what I was going to ask. But just this one. If the current wind field extends outward 255 miles from the center and the closest approach to the Florida Coastline will be 200 miles (at the present time) Just your opinion, do you think TS warning might be on the agenda tomorrow. 2nd part. The very slight westward jogging is beginning to concern some of us down here. What is causing it and how long might it be expected to last. Now I don't often ask you questions and I know this is loaded, but you can make your answer briefer than my questions. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25511
Quoting CCkid00:


The people in Texas don't have a major hurricane headed right at them, unless it turns. The people in Florida do. The NHC is usually right and the storm will probably make the turn in time, but they are not God. It would be just as foolish for the people of Florida to not be a little concerned, as it is foolish for you to make a statement of "ZERO" chance for Florida to be hit by Irene. If you were standing in the middle of the road with an 18 wheeler within sight, headed right at you, even if there were a road for it to turn on, would you be so foolish as to not take note and watch it really close, JUST IN CASE it didn't turn in time, so you could get out of the way??
I just don't understand this.Expert mets in Florida have already made the following declaration:

"This is NOT Florida's storm, people. This storm is NOT coming to Florida, so please stop worrying about that."

Why would they make such a bold declaration unless there was almost zero chance of Irene coming to Florida? And furthermore, there is more research and analytical data going into the forecast for Irene than there has been for any hurricane in history. You know what that means? It means it is not going to come to Florida, period.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2634. Levi32
Well this is not good....recent AVHRR SST passes indicate that 27C waters extend right up to the coast of Long Island. This is strange because other analysis I have seen (such as LSU) says that SSTs drop below 25C rapidly north of the Gulf Stream there, but upon using a photo-editing program to figure out what temperature on the scale that the colors near Long Island correspond to, this image indicates 27C. I wonder which analysis is correct.



LSU SSTs:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
IceCoast, what's the next model run? GFDL or HWRF?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
Tell ya South Carolina needs to watch this beast.....
This storm is moving too close to SC/FL for people to ignore it. FL may get TS winds, but unsure about SC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2631. scott39
Quoting TampaSpin:
Wow, the steering flow Graphics sure show a very narrow opening.......and that short wave trough sure is not coming very far south......its still up in Canada and appears will never push much into the ConUs.
It looks like Irene SHOULD be going NNW right now. I dont know if she is or not? It looks like shes only got about 60 to a 100 miles before she is due to go N and then the gradual turn more NNE. This looks like its going to be a close one for the current tropical points from the NHC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


I thought you lived in FL.


I do, my mother still lives in NE NJ where I grew up.

I'm thinking of flying up there to help out if I need to.

Have to make a decision by tomorrow morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Well, I sure ain;t Levi, but I'm no slouch either (actually, I'm a tremendous slouch, but that's a story for another time) and I know that given the amount of atmosphere she's effecting and her mass will take a whle to turn effectively...it won't take much variation for the track to change tragically at this point. It would juast about take an act of God to for Florida to be in dnager at this point, but too nuch of this and Wilmington is very much back into the picture...another half a degree and this is very much a different storm for the folks in N&S Carolina


I was hoping for a puppy... all I am getting is a stick :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ya, Irene is definitely big, no doubt about that.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Wow

I'll be waiting for the livestream if you do head up over there haha.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tell ya South Carolina needs to watch this beast.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2625. nigel20
Quoting MississippiWx:
123...Ridge builds back in over 90L and forces it W.


wow!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:


Well, there goes our economy...lol


Already gone IMO lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Current S FL Radar

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
00z GFS is worse than the 12z ECMWF.

I get pummeled by 93 hours.

Wow.


If you catch my planefare I could be there tomorrow tp pummel you...you seem to be looking forward to it so much I thought I could help out...LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2621. njdevil
These runs are meaningless. The last set had a few like that too, and then when the product came out (GFS at least), other than a couple of goofy ensamble members, they were all over E-LI.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's COMPLETELY calm here... hopefully it's not the calm before the storm. Our high school football game had been moved up couple of hours to beat Irene.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2619. Gorty
Quoting vince1:

Almost 4 days out...how accurate have the models traditionally been at ~4 days?


Well I heard EURO has a good track record for track of cyclones.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2618. nigel20
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
ASCAT showed a well-defined circulation. Could get classified at any time tbh.

Yea
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 2668 - 2618

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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