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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Has anyone seen how close the forecast track from NHC has shifted west.....holy cow hurricane warning should be going for Sout florida pretty quickly....
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050730 2403N 07549W 6971 02700 9481 +157 +148 059003 008 018 001 03
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

What's your point?

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

WASHINGTON %u2014 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..


My point is that while I am generally in agreement with you, your proselytizing Climate Change here, in this place, given a major storm in the Atlantic making it's way to the CONUS is disagreeable and will, without doubt, result in confrontations much like this one. Also, I am quietly aggravated that you somehow managed to escape my usually secure ignore list.

Would you care to talk about the steering for Irene? Perhaps discuss the possibility that she may indeed end up too far west to turn out as she is supposed to, or would you rather peddle some more Climate Change Watchtowers?
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CAMS!
Just found this in a note to my sister-in-law on Nantucket, sent last year as Hurricane Earl came alongside the coast as a Cat 3, and was supposed to affect New England on Sunday, August 29th, 2010. We lucked out as it was offshore, unlike Irene.


CAPE COD Live Cams: http://www.capecodlivecam.com/

NANTUCKET Greatpoint Cam: http://colossus.bu.edu/latestGreatpoint/

NANTUCKET Jetties Beach Cam: http://www.nantucket.net/live/jetties.php

Cams at various sites between Baltimore and Maine:
http://www.hazecam.net/allsites.html
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2813. will40




hwrf west of NHC track at 66 hrs
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2812. nigel20
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Like I said I wouldn't be surprised if we run through the whole list of names.

Yea quite possible.
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2811. help4u
post 2802 nothing shows up
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Quoting Remek:


If the warmer climate cycle continues, it's not the # of hurricanes generated, but their increased intensity per storm (though TS #s might slightly increase per year).

Yes.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
2809. Gorty
Night all

Conclusion:

By New England area models are trending west... I am sooo on the edge of my seat here in western Mass. Probably more of a westward trend later today.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Right, but you are bringing it up now as if Irene proves it, when its a cat 3 and the other 8 storms never got their act together.

Why don't you read again, post 2695? I nowhere said this was prove for anything. And i said this is exactly was has been predicted by climatologist for years.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting nigel20:

The season is moving into fifth gear.
Like I said I wouldn't be surprised if we run through the whole list of names.
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2806. Remek
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

This is not my theory that is scientific consensus. Over the last years damage, intensity etc has gone up with hurricanes.



If the warmer climate cycle continues, it's not the # of hurricanes generated, but their increased intensity per storm (though TS #s might slightly increase per year).
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
2805. help4u
hwrf update?
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2804. nigel20
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Right, but you are bringing it up now as if Irene proves it, when its a cat 3 and the other 8 storms never got their act together.

I think some of the storm formed in the downward phase of the MJO.
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Link NYC Skyscrapers
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90 hrs HWRF:
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Georgetown in the Bahamas recently reported a 67mph wind gust..
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2800. nigel20
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I think Jose is gone before then, could be Katia.

The season is moving into fifth gear.
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this is starting too be come vary vary close too the coast of FL if this dos not start turning soon
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Quoting weatherrx2012:
I think Irene has the potential to be a category four storm by noon tomorrow.
As soon as she completes her EWRC. Somewhat likely.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 776
2797. JNCali
Goooood night from the boring side of the continent... peace and protection for the brothers and sisters in the Bahamas.. Bloggers Behave! oh... and Irene, please be heading Northeast the next time I check in... ok???
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Quoting Grothar:


And that is only on one block. :)


Yeah, well I know the first time I went there it was like stepping into a whole new universe... You heard anything about what kinda news they're spreading up there?
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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..



Hahahahahaha you're adorable
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Quoting LAlurker:

No,the White House failed during Katrina, and will likely fail again.


Not trying to argue but the complacency of people is what caused the main failure from Katrina.
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2793. Remek
Quoting Torgen:


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.)


Yeah. Pack the whole population of the Houston area into a place the size of their IAH intercontinental airport and that might approach NYNY density. Then multiply that area by 4 or 5 and plunk it down at the coast. That's a close approximation.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
Recon. approaching the center.
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should be seeing jim cantore reporting for irene tomorrow/today
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2790. help4u
not all science agrees with you.sorry
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i think the WU server is on overload
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2788. nigel20
Quoting sunlinepr:

wow!
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2787. MTWX
Quoting LAlurker:

Yes, the population in NY is VERY dense!

Pop density per square mile:
New York City: 27,016
Houston: 3,501

No comparison at all!
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2786. Grothar
Quoting charlottefl:
There are 363 high rise buildings in Houston, TX. In New York city, there are 5,954.


And that is only on one block. :)
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Quoting LAlurker:

They are obviously very confident in their track forecast - just wouldn't be the first time.


The conditions are what they are; if something changes drastically we'll all see it and it will certainly be analyzed to death here, but that's part of the beauty of this place: we are mostly all enthusiasts and some of us are quite good; by and large, most of us old timers can read a steering map and make a pretty good determination, based on what we see.

I love those that make statements as if they fear the inherent cleverness of hurricanes and their vindictive nature...LOL
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

This is not my theory that is scientific consensus. Over the last years damage, intensity etc has gone up with hurricanes.



Right, but you are bringing it up now as if Irene proves it, when its a cat 3 and the other 8 storms never got their act together.
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Quoting nigel20:

Is that pre-Jose in the NE Caribbean
I think Jose is gone before then, could be Katia.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


the 8 other storms this season disprove your theory, you cant just post it during the 1 out of 9 that does...

This is not my theory that is scientific consensus. Over the last years damage, intensity etc has gone up with hurricanes.

Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
2781. nigel20
Quoting atmosweather:


Storm surge can generally be increased in a fast moving storm in areas of the coast that are unprotected. In bays and other areas that have some form of land protecting one or two sides a fast moving storm actually decreases the storm surge.

Thanks very informative.
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2780. Gorty
Quoting yonzabam:
The forecast track doesn't take Irene to NYC. It takes it to the NE of Long Island, then to Rhode Island - Cape Cod.

If it were to deviate west, it would be travelling over land before hitting NYC.


Models are trending west by the New England area.
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2779. Grothar
Quoting Torgen:


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.)


OK, Bentson, knock it off. LOL
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Quoting Cat5Hurricane250:
Link

Long range GFS showing the potential for quite a bit of action after Irene and 90L.
Quite a contrast from last nights run, it was showing mostly fish storms.
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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..



LOl OMG I love the Global warming crowd.

Until Irene the Atlantic had set a record for consecutive storms not reaching Hurricane status.You were saying nothing about it and holding onto the Ice charts and the drought. Now that there is one storm it is I told you so.

Go scare young children with your stories

Poof
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2776. Gorty
Wow guys, once Jose forms, we will have 6 named storms in August!
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dania beach on the beach winds steady at 11 mph gusting to 29 mph
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The forecast track doesn't take Irene to NYC. It takes it to the NE of Long Island, then to Rhode Island - Cape Cod.

If it were to deviate west, it would be travelling over land before hitting NYC.
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00Z HWRF, finally, between 42 and 48 hours, irene starts showing NNE movement. This is with tropical force winds well into SC.

This goes to show that it's not always good to watch the thin line of a model...very broad storm.

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There are 363 high rise buildings in Houston, TX. In New York city, there are 5,954.
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2771. nigel20
Quoting Cat5Hurricane250:
Link

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

Is that pre-Jose in the NE Caribbean
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Quoting Orcasystems:






HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I LOVE IT!!!!!
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Quoting nigel20:
Would a fast moving storm amplify the storm surge in the right front quadrant?


Storm surge can generally be increased in a fast moving storm in areas of the coast that are unprotected. In bays and other areas that have some form of land protecting one or two sides a fast moving storm actually decreases the storm surge.
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2768. will40




even further west than GFS
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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.

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