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

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

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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

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696. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #15
TROPICAL STORM TALAS (T1112)
21:00 PM JST August 25 2011
============================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon In Sea Near Ogasawara Shoto

At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Talas (994 hPa) located near 20.1N 140.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 9 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Gale Force Winds
=================
180 NM from the center in southeast quadrant
120 NM from the center in northwest quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=======================

24 HRS: 22.1N 139.7E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
48 HRS: 23.1N 139.7E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 25.0N 139.7E - 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting southbeachdude:
The first outer band of Irene is reaching SE Florida. The problem with not issuing any type of tropical storm watch is that trash cans are already flying around the neighborhood. Many did no preparation since we are not in the cone.
The sad part about that statement is the fact that people need to be told by their govt. what to do.

What happened to personal responsibility??


Hey George there's a storm headed this way.
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Quoting cruzinstephie:
Good morning! We are getting some wind and rain off a rain band here in Port Saint Lucie, FL. The NWS has issued a special statement for our area through 9:45AM until this band moves through.


Yeah, Stuart got a really nice gust and now I have 60-80 palm fronds in my yard (not exaggerating!) Have not clue why I went out to start cleaning them up! 10 avacadoes down--tree rats beat me to 5 of them! But the Cardinals are happy around the bird feeder b/c the yard cats won't come out in this weather.

Moral of this story--the birds are here, so Irene is NOT coming!
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691. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #21
TYPHOON NANMADOL (T1111)
21:00 PM JST August 25 2011
============================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon In Sea East Of Philippines

At 12:00 PM UTC, Typhoon Nanmadol (955 hPa) located near 16.5N 124.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 7 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T5.0

Storm Force Winds
=================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
=================
180 NM from the center in south quadrant
150 NM from the center in north quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=======================

24 HRS: 18.0N 124.2E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
48 HRS: 19.9N 124.2E - 90 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 21.5N 124.2E - 90 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
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Quoting OSHNBLU:
Good thing I trust the NHC and my Local Emergency Offices, otherwise that radar would scare the heck out of me.



+1 hard to explain to kids when they're watching the storm and saying 'but mom, it's coming right towards us'
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Did the storm stalled?
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688. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #10
TYPHOON MINA (NANMADOL)
5:00 PM PhST August 25 2011
=====================================

Typhoon "MINA" has further intensified as it continues to threaten Northern Luzon.

At 4:00 PM PhST, Typhoon Mina (Nanmadol) located at 16.4°N 124.9°E or 260 km east of Casiguran, Aurora has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts of 90 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 4 knots

Signal Warnings
=============

Signal Warning #2
-------------------

Luzon Region
=============
1. Northern Aurora
2. Isabela
3. Cagayan

Signal Warning #1
----------------

Luzon Region
==============
1. Rest of Aurora
2. Nueva Ecija
3. Nueva Viscaya
4. Quirino
5. Ifugao
6. Mt. Province
7. Kalinga
8. Apayao
9. Calayan
10. Babuyan
11. Batanes Group of Islands

Additional Information
======================

Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under signals # 2 and # 1 and Southern Luzon and Visayas due to the enhanced southwest monsoon are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this tropical cyclone.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 15-25 mm per hour within the 500 km diameter of the typhoon.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 P.M. today.
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Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
A co-worker in Palm Beach just said that the winds are kicking there and she may be without power soon. I feel they should have been atleast under some type of watch etc.
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Quoting carolinabelle:
I don't know a whole lot about meteorology other than what I've observed over the years, so this is an honest question... looking at the satellite in the link below, which shows projected path as well...

SFWMD Satellite Image

... it would seem that the path has shifted west twice in about 14 hours. I pretty much assumed that here in Charleston we were out of the woods, but does this mean that points south of the Outer Banks still have something to be concerned about or not? Or is it still too early to tell?


no takers? just looking for some honest opinions, thanks :)
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Good thing I trust the NHC and my Local Emergency Offices, otherwise that radar would scare the heck out of me.

Quoting Patrap:
Irene's center now viz on Miami Long range

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Quoting southbeachdude:
The first outer band of Irene is reaching SE Florida. The problem with not issuing any type of tropical storm watch is that trash cans are already flying around the neighborhood. Many did no preparation since we are not in the cone.

we get stronger t-storms in the summer compared to what we are getting in S. FL right now.

i live in Coral Springs and we've had passing showers, that's it. very little wind.

people would do nothing for a tropical storm watch in S. FL.
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Quoting marknmelb:


Nobody expects the westcaster inquisition !!!!


Irene's coming...Bring out the Holy Handgrenade!
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681. CJ5
The high still continues to push west, although weakly. Steering currents seem to want to nudge Irene in that direction. I would not anticipate much update to the path but slightly west would not suprise me.
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Quoting P451:


Yup. Clearly on an Andrew path through the Bahamas right now. Going to cross Miami and head right for NOLA.\



I have no idea what the models are doing and the NHC as usual is absolutely clueless. This is going to be serious.

/sarcasm.



While I feel your sarcasm I still think she's going to come closer to the central Florida coast than originally thought. No direct hit but close enough to catch folks off guard this afternoon. If it doesn't turn more north until after it get west of Freeport or Andros it's going to be really nasty along the coast. A few more hours should tell.
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Quoting MyrtleCanes:


Agree, never, ever discount the Hurricane magnet that is Cape Fear, NC, since last week I have been saying landfall in Bald Head Island, I still think thats a strong possiblity. Im in NMB and I have seen these things time and time again look like they are going to blast us and at the last second,head toward Cape Fear. Long Bay really saves our Butts here in Myrtle



Agreed. Thats like a standing joke around here because they all seem to come in "at the mouth of the Cape Fear River". Seldom is that not the case
Member Since: April 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 3098
Quoting ecupirate:


TRASH CANS! The Horror!



Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!
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Good Morning...The last position on Irene's sure seems a bit too north.. I hope I'm wrong -link-
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Select area from TROPICAL CYCLONE IMPACTS - DECISION SUPPORT


thank you!
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Well NYC is screwed
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We shall see some of yas Friday night here,

Friday Night Party Aug. 26: Tracey's, 2604 Magazine Street


New Orleans Blogger's Conference risingtide6



Check RisingTideNola.com, the Rising Tide Blog & this page for details, y'all.

Friday Night Party Aug. 26: Tracey's, 2604 Magazine Street

Amazing Speakers and Panels all day Saturday, Aug. 27.

Registration includes morning pastries & beverages and lunch by J'Anita's

Everyone is welcome (not just for geeks)!


The Rising Tide Conference is an annual gathering for all who wish to learn more and do more to assist New Orleans' recovery. It's for everyone who loves New Orleans and is working to bring a better future to all its residents.

Leveraging the power of bloggers and new media, the conference is a launch pad for organization and action. Our day-long program of speakers and presentations is tailored to inform, entertain, enrage and inspire.

We come together to dispel myths, promote facts, highlight progress and regress, discuss recovery ideas, and promote sound policies at all levels. We aim to be a "real life" demonstration of internet activism as we continue to recover from a massive failure of government on all levels.

This year's featured guests include the creator of HBO series The Wire and Treme, David Simon, and author of six critically acclaimed books on the physical and human geography of New Orleans, Richard Campanella. Past featured speakers have included Mac McClellan (blogger and writer for Mother Jones) Harry Shearer (writer, actor, host of the weekly radio show Le Show),
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
Quoting Patrap:


Yer most welcome.

Sharing is what we do best here I'd like to believe.


It is!
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Quoting P451:


Yup. Clearly on an Andrew path through the Bahamas right now. Going to cross Miami and head right for NOLA.\



I have no idea what the models are doing and the NHC as usual is absolutely clueless. This is going to be serious.

/sarcasm.

Better get the shutters out...LOL!!!!
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Quoting P451:


Yup. Clearly on an Andrew path through the Bahamas right now. Going to cross Miami and head right for NOLA.\



I have no idea what the models are doing and the NHC as usual is absolutely clueless. This is going to be serious.

/sarcasm.



HA....HA....HA What's sad is you had to add the "sarcasm" at the end.
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Quoting southbeachdude:
The first outer band of Irene is reaching SE Florida. The problem with not issuing any type of tropical storm watch is that trash cans are already flying around the neighborhood. Many did no preparation since we are not in the cone.


TRASH CANS! The Horror!

Member Since: July 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 204
p451... what ARE the models doing? Can they really keep shifting left without putting Wilmington in a hurricane watch?

It is getting too close for comfort but as soon as I go spend $200 at the store it'll make "the turn" and i'll be easily on the west side of the storm and out of harms way.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 631
Quoting weld:
This storm has the potential to be disastrous for Florida if it does not turn. It could also be disastrous for the NHC.


And you could hit the lottery or be struck by falling space debris.

Have a nice day!
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Quoting Skyepony:
What is that on the SSE side there at the end of MIMIC?


HAARP???!!! WTF??? Ya know between the earthquake at where the cane is supposed to go and radars like this can only feed the conspiracy people. A supposed side effect of Heating and charging the ionisphere can be an earthquake (supposedly) coincidental I'm sure. I mean..is it earthquake lights or a supercharged atmosphere? hmmmmm Thanks Skye for that find, I have seen it before back in 2004 and 5 but not since. (so confused)

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The first outer band of Irene is reaching SE Florida. The problem with not issuing any type of tropical storm watch is that trash cans are already flying around the neighborhood. Many did no preparation since we are not in the cone.
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Omg for all the rain amounts which gets dumped on the island ...
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The models are swaying back and forth...
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Folks need to relize as a Hurricane approches land due to the friction between the air mass and land they can get very turbalent produce tornados and very heavy rains so its not just the storm surge and high winds you got to whatch for as this skirts the east coast. the closer to land the more vilent this thing will be.
Please take heed of your local emergangy managers and the NHC advise as to when to make a move from the imediate coast lines as this storm passes your area.

(Run from the water, Hide from the wind)
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Quoting cruzinstephie:


Thank you sir!


Yer most welcome.

Sharing is what we do best here I'd like to believe.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
Morning guys... woke up to a pressure of 984 mb and sustained winds of 45 mph. Should peak around 11 am today. Will keep you updated! Stay safe!
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Quoting ncstorm:
Does anyone know where I could find a weather map to show what type of conditions people should expect from Irene?


Select area from TROPICAL CYCLONE IMPACTS - DECISION SUPPORT
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Hang10z, yes, your mom needs to stay where she is at in FL and your bro needs to go to get any high value items from your mom's house. By the sounds of it, her house sounds like it is in a evac/flood area. He needs to do that today as not to get caught in any evac traffic.


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..

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Irene's center now viz on Miami Long range

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
Geh. All the new models put me on the east side. Might be time to visit the sister in Charlotte.
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Quoting weathers4me:
It's been unusually breezy here in Terra Ceia by the water this morning. I'm guessing its from Irene due to the winds out of the North. Thoughts


In Ellenton, light winds out of the NW. My best guess is yes it is from Irene.
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Quoting Patrap:
Earth Scan Lab by LSU


Thank you sir!
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Quoting presslord:
OK....I live in a favored vacation spot for New Jersey and New York folks....who come down here and 'try to cram lost years into 5 or 6 days'....they check in on Saturday afternoon....are drunk beyond functionality by about 10 Saturday night...and spend all day Sunday bar b queing themselves on the beach....on Sunday evening , we see them in the grocery store...looking about the color of a solar flare...with eyes that look like lunar craters....they're gonna have 'fun' if it kills 'em...throughout the next week they stumble frequently into the street in front of oncoming cars, drive like fools...and, not uncommonly, pee in my shubbery...

so my question is this:

Are these people smart enough to handle this?!


They might handle it better than the locals! Drunks generally don't fear anything!
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Quoting Chucktown:


We want..........a shrubberrrrrrrry !!!


Nobody expects the westcaster inquisition !!!!
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Maybe cut the shrubbery down a tad paul,,or let it grow say, 6-7 inches?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
Good morning, everyone. I have been lurking on WU for years and finally signed up.

Thanks for the great resource, Dr. Masters!

While I still get nervous until a storm moves well north of my latitude (because of Charley and Wilma), I am thankful that Florida appears to be out of major danger.

I pray that this storm moves east and that the east coast is spared, but I don't see that happening.

Just a word of advice for those that are staying because "they've been lucky before"....don't. If your local Emergency Management tells you to evacuate, do it.

/rant off
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Quoting Chucktown:


We want..........a shrubberrrrrrrry !!!
Neep
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Quoting presslord:
OK....I live in a favored vacation spot for New Jersey and New York folks....who come down here and 'try to cram lost years into 5 or 6 days'....they check in on Saturday afternoon....are drunk beyond functionality by about 10 Saturday night...and spend all day Sunday bar b queing themselves on the beach....on Sunday evening , we see them in the grocery store...looking about the color of a solar flare...with eyes that look like lunar craters....they're gonna have 'fun' if it kills 'em...throughout the next week they stumble frequently into the street in front of oncoming cars, drive like fools...and, not uncommonly, pee in my shubbery...

so my question is this:

Are these people smart enough to handle this?!


ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Whew... Damn that was funny!!!
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
Getting a good band here in WPB now..local mets last night called for only about 1-2" of rain though. School buses arent allowed to run in anything over 40mph gusts so I am wondering if i wont get a call from the school today to pick up the kids early..happened during Charley.
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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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