Irene roars into life; may become the season's first hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:03 AM GMT on August 21, 2011

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Tropical Storm Irene roared into life this evening, transitioning from a tropical wave to a 50 mph tropical storm in just a few short hours. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm was finishing up its mission when it suddenly came across a region with intense thunderstorms and surface winds of 50 mph. The aircraft found that a center of circulation had barely closed off on the southwest edge of this region, though the plane found almost no winds from the west around the circulation center. The 6:10pm EDT center fix found a central pressure of 1007mb, which is quite high for the observed 50 mph winds. Dry air to the north and west is slowing development, as well as moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, as analyzed by the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group. Infrared satellite loops and radar out of Martinique show the storm is poorly organized, with no evidence of spiral bands. The center of Irene is expected to cross over the Caribbean island of Dominica early Sunday morning, but the heaviest thunderstorms lie to the north of the center, and will affect Guadeloupe, Antigua, and St. Kitts and Nevis.


Figure 1. Evening satellite image of Irene.

The computer models have shifted southwards since yesterday, and now take Irene south of Puerto Rico on Monday, and along the south shore of the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Irene should pass near or over southern Haiti, Eastern Cuba, and Jamaica. On Wednesday and Thursday, the models agree that a trough of low pressure will dip down over the Eastern U.S., which is likely to turn Irene to the north. The exact timing and strength of this trough varies considerably from model to model, and will be critical in determining where and when Irene will turn to the north. We can expect that Irene will impact Central Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Florida Keys on Thursday, but it is uncertain whether Irene's turn to the north will take the storm into the Gulf of Mexico or not. Irene most reminds me of Tropical Storm Fay of 2008. Fay formed just off the coast of Puerto Rico, and was never quite able to get organized enough to become a hurricane, due to passage over Hispaniola and Cuba. Fay topped out as a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds, and did over $500 million in damage in the U.S., mostly due to flooding rains in Florida that accumulated to over 25 inches in a few areas. Fay also dumped heavy rains on Hispaniola, triggering flooding that claimed eight lives.


Figure 2. Track of Tropical Storm Fay of 2008.

Irene will be battling dry air and moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots through Sunday, and it will take the storm 1 - 3 days to build up an eyewall and intensify into a hurricane. Irene is more of a threat than Tropical Storm Emily of early August was, since Irene has closed off a center farther east than Emily did and has more time to organize before encountering Hispaniola. I don't think passage over Hispaniola will destroy Irene, since it is a fairly large storm, and is likely to be a hurricane by then. However, if Irene follows the NHC forecast, it will have an extended encounter with Hispaniola and Cuba on Tuesday through Wednesday that will probably weaken the storm below hurricane force. Keep in mind that the average error for an official 5-day forecast from NHC for a developed storm is 200 - 250 miles. Irene could easily miss Florida and move up the East Coast and hit North or South Carolina, or pass through the Florida Keys and into Gulf of Mexico, ending up who knows where. Given the uncertainties, this weekend would be a good time to go over your hurricane preparedness if you live anywhere in the Caribbean, Bahamas, or U.S. coast, since Irene could well be paying you a visit as a tropical storm or hurricane sometime in the next week.

Harvey hits Belize
Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall at 2pm EDT on Saturday near Dangriga Town, Belize, as a tropical storm with 60 mph winds. Harvey continues to dump very heavy rains on northern Guatemala, Belize, and portions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as the storm tracks westwards at 12 mph. Dissipation is expected Sunday as the storm pushes inland. Harvey was a small storm, and the strongest winds were confined to a short stretch of coast near where the center came ashore. Winds at Belize City, Belize on Saturday topped out at 15 mph.


Figure 3. Radar image of Harvey taken at 11:30am EDT on Saturday, August 20, 2011, a few hours before landfall in Belize. A small closed eye is visible just south of the offshore islands of Belize. Image credit: Belize National Meteorological Service.

An exceptionally active early part of hurricane season
It's been a strangely hyperactive season for weak storms in the Atlantic so far this year. Tropical Storm Irene is the 9th named storm this year, and its formation date of August 20 ties 2011 with 1936 as the 2nd earliest date for formation of the season's 9th storm. Only 2005 had an earlier date. The first eight storms this year have stayed below hurricane strength, making 2011 the first hurricane season since record keeping began in 1851 to have more than six consecutive tropical storms that did not reach hurricane strength. As I discussed in Friday's post, a major reason for this is the lack of vertical instability over the tropical Atlantic so far this year. We've had a large amount of dry, sinking air over the tropical Atlantic, and the usual amount of dry, dusty air from the Sahara, both helping to keep the atmosphere stable and stop this year's storms from intensifying into hurricanes. Hurricane activity typically ramps up big-time by August 20, with more than 80% of all the hurricanes and 65% of all the tropical storms occurring after that date. At our current pace, 2011 will become the second busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, with 24 - 27 named storms. There are only 21 names in the list of names for a hurricane season, so we may have to break out the Greek alphabet again in late October this year, as occurred in 2005. Ironically, this was the last time the current set of names was used in the Atlantic, so 16 of this year's 21 names are repeats of 2005. I'm not too happy about seeing another hurricane season challenge the Hurricane Season of 2005 in any way, and let's hope we don't retire another five names this year, like occurred in 2005! With vertical instability much lower this year than in 2005, and that year having already seen one storm (Dennis) retired by this point in the season, I doubt that will happen, though.


Figure 2. The annual cycle of average hurricane frequency in the Atlantic. Historically, about 35% of all the tropical storms and 15% of all the hurricanes will have occurred by August 20.

Invest 98L near the Cape Verde Islands
A tropical wave near Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, Invest 98L, is spreading heavy rains and strong gusty winds to those islands today. So far this morning, top sustained winds measured in the Cape Verde Islands were 23 mph at Mindelo. 98L has a long stretch of ocean to cross before it could affect any land areas. Approximately 70 - 80% of all tropical cyclones that pass this close to the Cape Verde Islands end up curving out to sea and not affecting any other land areas, according to Dr. Bob Hart's excellent historical probability of landfall charts. The latest set of long-range model runs go along with this idea, and I'd be surprised if 98L threatens any land areas.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting CarolinaHurricanes87:
Levi and p451:

I've noticed both of u mention u think the LLC will jump / merge slightly northwards/NE into the convection and MLC at some point.... Does that mean u think the models will shift slightly to the N/E as well?


They would probably have to shift at least slightly if a reformation occurs. There is no guarantee that it will, but it may if the convection continues to fire strongly north of the surface center.
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Quoting PcolaDan:

?


Answer. Political satire that fell flat.
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Accidentally posted my (intermediate) mapping for 9pmGMT NHC in blog1888page3comment105.
The map there has been corrected back to 6pmGMT for the appropriate coordinates and map scale.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Wow, quite the northward shift.

AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 24, 165N, 650W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 36, 173N, 666W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 48, 180N, 696W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 60, 190N, 716W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 72, 199N, 735W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 84, 208N, 752W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 96, 222N, 767W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 108, 238N, 780W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 120, 256N, 792W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 132, 283N, 800W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2011082100, 03, TVCN, 144, 298N, 806W, 0, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
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216. ackee
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
First time the GFDL develops this and we get a Das Boom

Typical

can I get a link to this
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ill be back around 10-11 pm to post the 00z gfs,gdfl,hwrf, and maybe the ecmwf models
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Quoting barotropic:


Levi, what do you make of the GFDL essentially ignoring the idea of a trough having any effect on Irene. Irene's west movement on the GFDl's run is as if a trough doesn't exist??


It has a grudge on the gulf coast? I'm not sure, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. However, we have seen stranger things, which is why the gulf option remains open for now. Tomorrow will give us a better idea of what relation to Hispaniola this storm will have, as we should have a more defined and trackable center then with a clear long-term motion.
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Quoting JasonCoolMan2008:
WOW!!! I don't like this at all!!!! maybe come usa soon.


I'm seriously about to scream!!!!
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Levi and p451:

I've noticed both of u mention u think the LLC will jump / merge slightly northwards/NE into the convection and MLC at some point.... Does that mean u think the models will shift slightly to the N/E as well?
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Quoting mynameispaul:


It's bone dry over here in SW Louisiana too.


We are on I think Day 20 of over 100 degrees here in Houston.. We have not had rain in MONTHS.... I feel your pain :o(
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ATCF 000z update for Harvey:

AL, 08, 2011082100, , BEST, 0, 173N, 896W, 35, 1003, TS, 34, NEQ, 30, 0, 0, 30, 1009, 100, 30, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, HARVEY, M,
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Quoting P451:


Amazed how quickly it turned around today and decided to get it's act together. It did in four hours what I expected it to take 12 to do.



Remember how good the storm kept looking with each successive 15 minute sat image?

I'm glad I was a desk jockey today at home. You do not experience things like that very often in real time.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
No change. 0.4 further north though.

AL, 09, 2011082100, , BEST, 0, 150N, 590W, 45, 1006, TS

.1N .5W as of NHC advisory! roughly 280degrees
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7682
Quoting JasonCoolMan2008:
Guys I think Irene is going to go Usa this time.I don't see out to sea this time!!!!!!!!!!!!


I agree, I don't think we have a way out of this one, unfortunately.
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Levi, do you see Irene ever getting into the GOM?
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202306Z AUG 11
FM FWC-N
BT
UNCLAS
MSGID/FWC-N/OVLY2/0087/AUG
OVLY/ATL STORM 09L/201800Z1/AUG/1OF1/TROP STORM IRENE(09L)/METOC
TEXT/12//G/143600N4/0571200W5/S
TEXT/12//G/160600N3/0642400W6/S
TEXT/12//G/173000N1/0693600W4/H
TEXT/12//G/190000N0/0740000W1/S
TEXT/12//G/213000N6/0770000W4/S
TEXT/12//G/240000N6/0793000W9/S
LINE/6//G/143600N4/0571200W5/160600N3/0642400W6/1 73000N1/0693600W4
/190000N0/0740000W1/213000N6/0770000W4/240000N6/0 793000W9
ARC/0/G///143600N4/0571200W5/105NM/105NM
ARC/0/G///160600N3/0642400W6/105NM/105NM
ARC/0/G///173000N1/0693600W4/090NM/090NM
ARC/0/G///190000N0/0740000W1/120NM/120NM
TEXT/12//G/123600N2/0544200W5/TROP STORM IRENE
TEXT/12//G/113600N1/0544200W5/20 AUG 1800Z
TEXT/12//G/103600N0/0544200W5/MAX 45 KT
TEXT/12//G/093600N8/0544200W5/280 AT 19 KT
TEXT/12//G/083600N7/0544200W5/34 KT RADII SHOWN
TEXT/12//G/160600N3/0602400W2/2118Z MAX 50
TEXT/12//G/173000N1/0653600W0/2218Z MAX 65
TEXT/12//G/190000N0/0700000W7/2318Z MAX 45
TEXT/12//G/213000N6/0730000W0/2418Z MAX 45
TEXT/12//G/240000N6/0753000W5/2518Z MAX 55
ENDAT
BT
#0001
NNNN

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Quoting Neapolitan:
ATCF 000Z update for Irene:

AL, 09, 2011082100, , BEST, 0, 150N, 590W, 45, 1006, TS, 34, NEQ, 105, 0, 0, 45, 1010, 175, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, IRENE, M,


Just a tad west of where I had it, but not much of a dispute considering we have no visible imagery.
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Quoting Bretts9112:

oil prices wouldnt go up to much half of our oil isnt even from the US


Not to mention that 10 deepwater drilling rigs have left the GOM for foreign countries in the past year and #11 is scheduled to leave for Vietnam in a few weeks.
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Quoting bocahurricane:
Hey everyone, I have been on this site for years mostly as a lurker. I have a question for some of experts on here. Normally I wouldnt be at that worried but I live in Palm Beach County and my husband is heading out of town on business tomorrow and won't be back till Friday. I have 2 kids (ages 1 and 3). I have a 6 bedroom 2 story house that will take me at least 2 days to shutter if I can't find someone to hire and do it for me. How concerned should I be and when do you think we are going to have a better idea exactly where, when and strength?

Seriously, bocahurricane. One option is that you have available to you (if all you need is muscle) is to advertise at the FAU - Boca campus (but well beforehand. Student employment services used to run a program that put people like you in touch with college students in need of $$$$. That's one way I helped pay the bills . . .
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Quoting KennyNebraska:


Why? The rigs and refineries in that part of the world have been closed by the EPA haven't they?

?
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First time the GFDL develops this and we get a Das Boom

Typical

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Quoting victoriahurricane:


Agreed, do any of our WUbloggers like Levi or Drakoen or any of them agree with this statement?


Levi stated earlier today that he thinks there will be less that what the Doctor is predicting.
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:
What on earth do we have to do here in TX to get some rain? We need a Tropical Storm here bad to drop a few days worth of the wet stuff on us.


It's bone dry over here in SW Louisiana too.
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WTNT02 KNGU 202301Z
WARNING ATCN MIL 09L NAT 110820230851

2011082018 09L IRENE 001 02 280 22 SATL 060
T000 146N 0572W 045 R034 105 NE QD 000 SE QD 000 SW QD 045 NW QD
T012 154N 0611W 045 R034 105 NE QD 000 SE QD 000 SW QD 060 NW QD
T024 161N 0644W 050 R050 020 NE QD 000 SE QD 000 SW QD 020 NW QD R034 105 NE QD 030 SE QD 030 SW QD 060 NW QD
T036 167N 0670W 055 R050 020 NE QD 000 SE QD 000 SW QD 020 NW QD R034 090 NE QD 030 SE QD 030 SW QD 050 NW QD
T048 175N 0696W 065 R050 030 NE QD 020 SE QD 020 SW QD 030 NW QD R034 090 NE QD 045 SE QD 045 SW QD 060 NW QD
T072 190N 0740W 045 R034 120 NE QD 030 SE QD 000 SW QD 060 NW QD
T096 215N 0770W 045
T120 240N 0795W 055
AMP
NNNN
REF/A/NAVLANTMETOCCEN NORFOLK VA/200600Z AUG 11//
AMPN/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
SUBJ: TROPICAL STORM IRENE (09L) WARNING NR 001
1. TROPICAL STORM IRENE (09L) WARNING NR 001
02 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONES IN ATLANTIC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
201800Z --- NEAR 14.6N 57.2W
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 280 DEGREES AT 19 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 060 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 105 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
045 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
REPEAT POSIT: 14.6N 57.2W
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
210600Z --- 15.4N 61.1W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 105 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 285 DEG/ 16 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
211800Z --- 16.1N 64.4W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 050 KT, GUSTS 060 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 020 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
020 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 105 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 285 DEG/ 13 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
220600Z --- 16.7N 67.0W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 020 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
020 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
050 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 290 DEG/ 13 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
221800Z --- 17.5N 69.6W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 065 KT, GUSTS 080 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 015 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
010 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
010 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
015 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 030 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
020 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
020 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
030 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
045 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
045 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 72 HR POSIT: 290 DEG/ 11 KTS
---
72 HRS, VALID AT:
231800Z --- 19.0N 74.0W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 120 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 96 HR POSIT: 310 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
LONG RANGE OUTLOOK:
---
96 HRS, VALID AT:
241800Z --- 21.5N 77.0W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
VECTOR TO 120 HR POSIT: 320 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
120 HRS, VALID AT:
251800Z --- 24.0N 79.5W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
REMARKS:
202300Z POSITION NEAR 14.9N 58.5W OR APPROX 164 NM E OF BARBADOS.
THIS WARNING SUPERSEDES AND CANCELS REF A, FLEWEACEN NORFOLK VA
200600). NEXT WARNINGS AT 210301Z, 210901Z, 211501Z AND 212101Z.
FOR SIX-HOURLY UPDATES.//
BT
#0001
NNNN
0911081712 127N 335W 25
0911081718 129N 344W 25
0911081800 130N 356W 25
0911081806 131N 370W 25
0911081812 132N 392W 25
0911081818 132N 413W 25
0911081900 133N 435W 25
0911081906 134N 455W 25
0911081912 135N 474W 25
0911081918 137N 493W 25
0911082000 140N 512W 25
0911082006 141N 528W 35
0911082012 143N 549W 40
0911082018 146N 572W 45

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Irene bearing a resemblance to Fay is not comforting to those of us who remember the 18 inches of rain she left in the middle of the street.
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Quoting weatherman566:
Dr. Masters-

"At our current pace, 2011 will become the second busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, with 24 - 27 named storms. There are only 21 names in the list of names for a hurricane season, so we may have to break out the Greek alphabet again in late October this year, as occurred in 2005."


wow......that's a bold statement. Interesting.


Agreed, do any of our WUbloggers like Levi or Drakoen or any of them agree with this statement?
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Quoting barotropic:


Levi, what do you make of the GFDL essentially ignoring the idea of a trough having any effect on Irene. Irene's west movement on the GFDl's run is as if a trough doesn't exist??


THAT is the question of the hour!
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Tanks in the Yucatan channel, if this were to pan out, this would be the storm of the year, and expect oil prices to go off the chart



Why? The rigs and refineries in that part of the world have been closed by the EPA haven't they?
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Quoting Levi32:


That's the mid-level center.


Levi, what do you make of the GFDL essentially ignoring the idea of a trough having any effect on Irene. Irene's west movement on the GFDl's run is as if a trough doesn't exist??
Member Since: August 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 652
No change. 0.4 further north though.

AL, 09, 2011082100, , BEST, 0, 150N, 590W, 45, 1006, TS
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ATCF 000Z update for Irene:

AL, 09, 2011082100, , BEST, 0, 150N, 590W, 45, 1006, TS, 34, NEQ, 105, 0, 0, 45, 1010, 175, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, IRENE, M,
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Quoting KennyNebraska:


Many thanks. How some of you folks here see stuff like that is amazing.


Some of us have been practicing for a very long time. Even then we're not always correct lol.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Tanks in the Yucatan channel, if this were to pan out, this would be the storm of the year, and expect oil prices to go off the chart



Heaven forbid, oil prices have us pinching the pennies here now, we can't take much more ! :(
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7682
It looks like Irene is moving on a more wnw path to me,but its hard to tell without the visible satellite pics. Heading straight for P.R.
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12z JMA has Irene over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
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Quoting JasonCoolMan2008:
I see 5 tropical wave now!!!

ah crap he's back ignore him before the virus spreads!
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Quoting Levi32:


It's somewhere in here:



Many thanks. How some of you folks here see stuff like that is amazing.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
poll when will we get too 2,000 commet


A 6pm


B 10pm


C 11pm

D 12AM

Taz , my friend you working the late shift tonight?
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7682
Quoting RitaEvac:
Tanks in the Yucatan channel, if this were to pan out, this would be the storm of the year, and expect oil prices to go off the chart


oil prices wouldnt go up to much half of our oil isnt even from the US
Member Since: June 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 140

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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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