Hurricane Irene Prepares to Leave the Bahamas and Head for the US

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:51 AM GMT on August 25, 2011

Share this Blog
17
+

As of 2AM EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 24.2N, 76.0W, 105 miles east-southeast of Nassau or 760 miles south of Cape Hatteras. It was moving northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 950 mb. Hurricane force winds can be found up to 70 miles from Irene's center, and tropical storm force winds can be found out to 255 miles from the storm's center.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for all of the Bahamas. Hurricane and tropical storm watches will likely be posted for the Carolina coastlines later this morning. At this time, Dare County Emergency Management has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all visitors in their county. Dare County Schools will also be closed Thursday and Friday.

Satellite Views
Figure 1 is the infrared satellite image of Irene at 135EDT. The convection is a bit unbalanced around the storm center, which is going to cause Irene to wobble like an unbalanced clothes washer (Analogy courtesy of Angela Fritz) over the next few hours. At the time this image was taken, the convection around Irene's center appears to be getting more vigorous, as cold cloudtops are starting to increase around the storm center. This is important to note because microwave satellite imagery from Wednesday evening suggested Irene was starting an eyewall replacement cycle. Figure 2 shows passive microwave imagery from a Air Force DMSP polar-orbiting satellite. The two concentric green/yellow bands in the image suggest that two eyewall features are present in Irene, and Hurricane Hunter observations confirm this. This has important consequences for Irene's intensity, because in an eyewall replacement cycle, as the inner eyewall weakens, the storm's intensity drops. However, once the inner eyewall is gone, and the outer eyewall contracts to replace it, the storm intensity will increase again.


Figure 1 IR satellite view of Irene taken at 113AM EDT, August 23, 2011


Figure 2 DMSP F18 microwave overpass of Irene at 824PM EDT, August 24, 2011. Image courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory

Track Forecast

Irene is forecast to move to the northwest, passing over the northwest Bahamas by Thursday evening, then curving to the northeast. Irene then makes landfall in the US near or at the Outer Banks Saturday afternoon, then traveling along the mid-Atlantic coastline of the US. Sunday, Irene may make secondary landfall anywhere from New Jersey to Long Island and the southern New England coastline. In my opinion, New York City may be significantly impacted by Irene. It is also important to note that the windfield of Irene is expected to be large, affecting areas distant from the immediate track of Irene's center. Tropical storm forces winds are expected to be found out to at least 150 miles away from Irene's center on Friday afternoon.

NHC is forecasting for Irene to become a Category 4 storm (winds faster than 130 mph) by Thursday morning. As Irene moves northward into cooler water, the intensity is expected to drop slowly to a Category 2 storm before making landfall in the Outer Banks.


Figure 3 Official track forecast of Irene at 2AM EDT.

Forecast models and today's planned flights
The different forecast models are still in fairly good agreement about Irene's track through the Bahamas and along the east coast of the US. The 00Z GFS run is in close agreement with the 12Z ECMWF run, but the 00Z ECMWF run (shown in figure 4) is continuing the ECMWF's trend of shifting the track westward with each run. NHC forecasters have been placing emphasis on the ECMWF's forecast track when making their forecasts for IRene, so it is possible that the NHC track will shift westwards at the 5AM update.

Looking at the plan of the day valid for today, it will be a busy day for airborne reconnaissance. Three flights for the Air Force hurricane hunters, two flights for the Gulfstream IV (Gonzo), and two flights for NOAA 42, a WP-3D (Kermit). They may have to give NOAA a littering permit for all of the dropsondes used to monitor Irene and her environment, but the forecast improvements they generate are worth the effort.


Figure 4 Plot of the maximum sustained winds in mph over the next week from the 00Z ECMWF forecast.

Impacts

Hurricane force winds will arrive in the northwestern Bahamas today. Storm surge near the center of Irene will be 7-11 feet above tide level. The Bahamas can expect 6-12 inches of rain over the next day or so, and it looks like the Turks and Caicos islands will receive a total of 6-12 inches from Irene. Large, swells from Irene will start landing on the southeastern US coastline later today. Please don't go in the water, as these swells can cause dangerous rip currents. Dr. Masters has catalogued the worst-case storm surge surge scenarios as a function of storm intensity here.

In my opinion, people living from the Carolinas to Cape Cod should pay close attention to Irene and prepare for a wide range of impacts. I think that there is a 75% chance of Irene's secondary landfall will be somewhere between JFK airport and Cape Cod. That said, Irene's size will cause significant impacts for people living far from it's center.

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

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Rob Carver

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: 596 - 546

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22Blog Index

Quoting chevycanes:

you must not have looked at the long range models then. plenty of weaknesses coming along and TD 10 will turn NW in the next day or 2.

and if you havent looked at the long range models too my frined you see jose going out a potential katia going out and lee heading towards the islands as a hurricane. there is going to be a gap for a week but after that it will be closing
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The 00Z research verions of the HWRF are closer to the operational GFDL than the operational HWRF on track. Intensity is pretty much the same.





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OT but cool From Slooh "Possible #supernova in Galaxy M101 - http://on.fb.me/ng1Vkw #sloohsuper #astronomy #sloohcomet"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting butterflymcb:


Looks to me (I am trying to answer my own question of "What is that?!?!")...

Looks to me that there are 4 things that are interacting with the storm...two of them are lower polarization and two of the "sticks" or legs or whatever they are are of higher polarization.

And frankly, they seem to be causing interaction with the storm - creating higher temperature cloud tops where the low polarization rods are hitting the storm. The high polarization rods, if you will, seem to not be doing anything to the storm?

But it really looks to me like something is going on there.

I don't know anything about what could be causing that, but it seems quite interesting to me.


HAARP is causing that :-P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
unenhanched IR

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128866
Anyone know what time the GFS, Euro and GFDL models are going to have their next runs? I feel like those are 3 of the most trusted (They showed GFS and Euro on TWC yesterday)and am very interested to see if they all will continue to trend west
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 631
she aint no floyd his eye was perfect when he was near the northern bahamas
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kshipre1:
good point. that high out in the atlantic is about to get even more stubborn and stronger as we head into September

that is what scares me.....any wave coming from the eastern atlantic is bound for land because the troughs do not seem to be there for a while

you must not have looked at the long range models then. plenty of weaknesses coming along and TD 10 will turn NW in the next day or 2.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Joshfsu123:
Models continue to shift west - TVCN at 12z now has it at landfall in NC and landfall again near Maryland/Delaware. This would be some good news only that it would weaken a lot as it moved northward into New England but of course, it would be bad news for the NC/Maryland/DC/Delaware/New Jersey area... and New England could still get Category 1 Hurricane conditions.

Path of course is still subject to change and keep shifting.


Models have been pretty constant with some minor fluctuations from run to run. As far as changing the track I don't know, but as you say a few miles can make a big difference. I guess all we can do now is to sit and wait. This one can be one for the books and I hope people grasp the severity of this situation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
wow hey guys I was still back on blog #1893 I did not know that we moved on but wow I can't belive I did that form blog #1893 to blog #1898 I feel bad
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128866
Quoting marknmelb:


Just give me her address. My cousin Guido and his boys will help take care of all her valuables :)


Actually Paco is already on it.. LOL


Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 34
Quoting Skyepony:
What is that on the SSE side there at the end of MIMIC?


Looks to me (I am trying to answer my own question of "What is that?!?!")...

Looks to me that there are 4 things that are interacting with the storm...two of them are lower polarization and two of the "sticks" or legs or whatever they are are of higher polarization.

And frankly, they seem to be causing interaction with the storm - creating higher temperature cloud tops where the low polarization rods are hitting the storm. The high polarization rods, if you will, seem to not be doing anything to the storm?

But it really looks to me like something is going on there.

I don't know anything about what could be causing that, but it seems quite interesting to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bassis:


Cute! "I"rene to "Rene"


"Eye" got it too.
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 158
581. Vero1
Quoting WatchingThisOne:


"What about us?"

- the Whales

you will have to wait for and the follow the instructions from your "Dropsonde Message".
Member Since: July 21, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2233
580. DFWjc
Quoting Plibster:
Link

Hope this works...nice webcam out of Palm Beach,FL.


Now that's some weather there, WOW!! Nice heavy wave action right there...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nash28:


Please forgive me for the cheese I am about to deliver, but I figure some brevity is a good thing this morning... *Ahem*

If she doesn't, then the NHC is screwed. She'd go from Irene to Rene.


Cute! "I"rene to "Rene"
Member Since: September 8, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 423
Based on the lastest coordinates Irene sits about 192 miles East of Miami. I'd say based on forecast errors listed at 200-250 miles the NHC did a pretty good job on the forecast of Irene days ago when they had it headed to a Miami landfall. Overall the NHC has done an excellent job with this storm which is scary because now it looks like NC is next to be in Irene's crosshairs. Make your preparations NC, Irene's on her way whether you like it or not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLdewey:
Strongest gust so far at West Palm just occurred in last 10 minutes. Gust of 31mph.


Just had a rain event here, very heavy.
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 158
576. dolig
someone asked for an african satellite link=

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link

Hope this works...nice webcam out of Palm Beach,FL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hang10z:
I have a serious question....

Currently my mother is in FL visiting. She lives on Long Beach Island in NJ, second house from the ocean. She is considering staying down here since her flight leaves friday night from Fort Lauderdale to Atlantic City Airport. Landing a little before midnight SAT. My brother lives outside of Philly but on the Jersey side of the river (Cherry Hill Area)

Should I have my brother head over to LBI, grab her car, get anything of value and bring it to his house 70 miles of so west of the coast? I figure if this thing hits NJ straight on LBI will be underwater.


He doesn't think its going to be that bad.. then again he doesn't really read this blog and watch model runs.. just listens to whatever the radio or TWC is saying.

He went to bed thinking a little rain and wind.. now it looks otherwise...


Thanks for your help..




Just give me her address. My cousin Guido and his boys will help take care of all her valuables :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The "off-the-usual-00-and-12-UTC-only" number of WFOs launching weather balloons for detailed information about the upper atmosphere has grown (first mentioned by nrtiwlnvragn).

For example, the 06 UTC sounding data (not usually available) for NAM, GFS, etc. from these WFOs:


Plots available here: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/exper/soundings/11082506_ OBS/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning blog. I see Irene is not behaving very well. Anything new from last nite? Any word from our friends in the bahamas?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting mistified:
Please excuse my ignorance about these weather maps, directions, wobbles, ect... But, living near Charleston SC just how concerned should I be. I have been following along "lurking" for days and watching local TV about this storm. And although it does appear to be moving out & away from me, I'm not seeing this "big" turn yet. So, when should I start to really get concerned? Or should I just remain watchful but not go buy out the store yet.


Already turning - has gone from 285 heading to 325 in the last 24 hours.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
570. DFWjc
Quoting nash28:


Please forgive me for the cheese I am about to deliver, but I figure some brevity is a good thing this morning... *Ahem*

If she doesn't, then the NHC is screwed. She'd go from Irene to Rene.


LOL!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PaulinJax:



No Scandal, murder or sex... the bigger story will by Irenes impact on the Yankess or Giants schedule.. until its knocking on the door...

My sisters going to New York next week and all she can talk about was that they had an "earthquake," near there, after attempting to enlighten here about "Hurricanes," and their associated problems and damage, she continued after thinking about it, to talk about earthquakes.
I suppose if you have never seen what they can do you operate the system of what you have not seen don't be afraid off. This might be a problem for a lot of people in the next few days.
I put up the New York weather forecast and it said heavy rain, nothing more.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NJcat3cane:
does anyone think that irene will regain her eye


Please forgive me for the cheese I am about to deliver, but I figure some brevity is a good thing this morning... *Ahem*

If she doesn't, then the NHC is screwed. She'd go from Irene to Rene.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
Today I feel great here in Miami that we avoid this monster and our prayers with the people up North,also I feel vindicated when I post early yesterday that the Hurricane Center very rarely make mistakes with the the tracking points 24-36 hours out,if they don't issued any warnings you can be assure that they are very confident the track of the Hurricane will follow their forecast,there is to much technology these days to go wrong in the short forecast of Hurricanes heading.Many people almost kill me when I post my honest comments yesterday and I said I will be vindicated by tomorrow,Irene will follow the forecast points to the teeth.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
good point. that high out in the atlantic is about to get even more stubborn and stronger as we head into September

that is what scares me.....any wave coming from the eastern atlantic is bound for land because the troughs do not seem to be there for a while
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:


yep...and somebody'll die in the next two days out here at Folly screwin' around in the water...


You're right... sadly, that seems to happen every time :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It looks like the MMIC alien torque weapon have caused a shift East in the track of Irene.

Member Since: August 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 525
Irene is currently 211 miles to the E of Miami, FL and 579 miles SSE of the NC/SC Border..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128866
559. 7544
as of 8am no west wobbles reported
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Next stop Abaco.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NWS for Seaside Heights, NJ:
Sunday: Hurricane conditions possible. Periods of rain and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 76. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Atlantic City:
Sunday: Hurricane conditions possible. Periods of rain and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 77. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

New Bedford, MA:
Sunday: Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 75. Chance of precipitation is 100%.


And this, Ocean City, MD. I think their rain chances might be off:
Sunday: Hurricane conditions possible. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13579
Quoting oakland:


There will be more. Be patient. IMO, we're going to need a break for a while so 1 yellow circle and TD-10 is a good thing.

BTW- if the track holds true TD-10 will be a danger only to shipping and thus would meet the criteria for the term "fish storm".



"What about us?"

- the Whales

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning from Broward County (Ft Lauderdale area) Florida..

this morning at 6am walking my dog I could "smell" the hurricane off shore..
the air and breeze is different..
and the clouds have that "arc" look..

now it is raining here as the outter bands have come ashore...
Our forcast is for a lot of windy rain today...

At least we are not getting the direct hit.

Now you all in points north.. I would be making some preps...

it has still not past my Latitude of 27N...don't get comfortable until it goes north of that marker...


Busy day at work but will check in as much as i can.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Please excuse my ignorance about these weather maps, directions, wobbles, ect... But, living near Charleston SC just how concerned should I be. I have been following along "lurking" for days and watching local TV about this storm. And although it does appear to be moving out & away from me, I'm not seeing this "big" turn yet. So, when should I start to really get concerned? Or should I just remain watchful but not go buy out the store yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
should be kicking into high gear soon given it's almost September.

as long as there are no deep strong troughs in the central and eastern atlantic, chances are the systems could go further westward

only time will tell
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting charlottefl:


It's the eye wall closing off, just a little bit smaller than was anticipated. Still rather large tho..


Not near the eye wall...

Between 22 and 24 toward the end of the loop cycle - they are straight lines - almost look like spider legs or something? But looks man made or like something is wrong with the microwave technology that is picking up something else?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
551. jeffs713
1:05 PM GMT on August 25, 2011
Quoting hang10z:
I have a serious question....

Currently my mother is in FL visiting. She lives on Long Beach Island in NJ, second house from the ocean. She is considering staying down here since her flight leaves friday night from Fort Lauderdale to Atlantic City Airport. Landing a little before midnight SAT. My brother lives outside of Philly but on the Jersey side of the river (Cherry Hill Area)

Should I have my brother head over to LBI, grab her car, get anything of value and bring it to his house 70 miles of so west of the coast? I figure if this thing hits NJ straight on LBI will be underwater.


He doesn't think its going to be that bad.. then again he doesn't really read this blog and watch model runs.. just listens to whatever the radio or TWC is saying.

He went to bed thinking a little rain and wind.. now it looks otherwise...


Thanks for your help..

That would be a good idea, IMO. The sooner, the better.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5886
550. NJcat3cane
1:05 PM GMT on August 25, 2011
does anyone think that irene will regain her eye
Member Since: August 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 50
548. SunnyDaysFla
1:04 PM GMT on August 25, 2011
Quoting nash28:


You can count on it unfortunately....

Some yahoo who has never been in water higher than his bathtub is gonna go out there and drown. Sad but true.

people just do not "get" the power of waves.
Member Since: September 19, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 611
547. Joshfsu123
1:04 PM GMT on August 25, 2011
Models continue to shift west - TVCN at 12z now has it at landfall in NC and landfall again near Maryland/Delaware. This would be some good news only that it would weaken a lot as it moved northward into New England but of course, it would be bad news for the NC/Maryland/DC/Delaware/New Jersey area... and New England could still get Category 1 Hurricane conditions.

Path of course is still subject to change and keep shifting.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 580
546. trHUrrIXC5MMX
1:04 PM GMT on August 25, 2011
What a well organized hurricane

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873

Viewing: 596 - 546

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22Blog 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.

Local Weather

Overcast
59 °F
Overcast