Dangerous Tropical Storm Irene headed for the Dominican Republic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on August 21, 2011

Share this Blog
48
+

Tropical Storm Irene roared into life last night, transitioning from a tropical wave to a 50 mph tropical storm in just a few short hours. Irene is getting organized quickly, and has the potential to become a hurricane by Monday morning. All interests in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida should prepare for the arrival of this dangerous storm. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm found the strongest winds near 18°N latitude to the north of Irene's center at 8am this morning. After passing through the center, the plane returned to the area of strongest winds two hours later, and found that flight level winds at 5,000 feet had increased by about 5 - 8 mph. However, the pressure in the latest center fix taken at 10am EDT remained the same as two hours previously, 1007 mb, and the plane noted that Irene's center was not circular, signs that the storm still has some work to do before serious intensification can begin. Visible satellite loops and radar out of Martinique show the storm has rapidly organized this morning, with well-developed spiral bands forming and a large area of intense thunderstorms to the north of the center. Irene has shrugged off the dry air that was bothering it yesterday, and wind shear has fallen to the low range, 5 - 10 knots, as analyzed by the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group. Torrential rains and strong gusty winds are affecting the northern Lesser Antilles this morning. A wind gust of 41 mph was recorded at St. Eustatius at 8am local time.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Irene.

Track forecast for Irene
The computer models are in agreement that Irene will pass just south of Puerto Rico tonight, then hit the south coast of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic or Haiti on Monday afternoon. Irene should then emerge into the channel between Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday afternoon, when the storm will have 12 or so hours over water before having to contend with Cuba. A trough of low pressure is expected to move across the Eastern U.S. on Wednesday and Thursday, turning Irene to the northwest and north by Thursday. The 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. Irene's strength will also matter--a stronger Irene is more likely to turn northward earlier. The most likely path for Irene is a track just east of the Florida Peninsula and into Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina by next weekend, but a landfall near Miami then directly up the Florida Peninsula is also a reasonable solution--like Tropical Storm Fay of 2008 did. 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.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Irene is embedded in a large envelope of moisture now, and wind shear will remain low, 5 - 10 knots, for the next five days. With water temperatures very warm, 28 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification except when land is interfering. Irene's current appearance on satellite loops gives me the impression of a storm that is not fooling around, and I expect Irene will be a hurricane before hitting Hispaniola on Monday. Passage over Hispaniola will not destroy Irene, since it is a fairly large storm. Once the storm finishes with Hispaniola, it will have to deal with Cuba, which will keep Irene from intensifying significantly. Once Irene pops off the coast of Cuba Wednesday or Thursday into the Florida Straits, Irene will likely be a tropical storm. If the storm then has at least a day over water before hitting land, it will likely become a hurricane again, and could become a major hurricane if it ends up missing South Florida and moving over the warm waters on either side of the Florida Peninsula.

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 southern Mexico, but dissipation is expected tonight 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.

Invest 98L northwest of the Cape Verde Islands
A tropical wave few hundred miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, Invest 98L, has become disorganized and lost most of its heavy thunderstorms. The disturbance is moving over colder waters and encountering drier air, and NHC is giving 98L only a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Tuesday. The latest set of model runs keep 98L well out to sea away from any land areas over the next five days.

Links
Long-range radar out of Puerto Rico

Jeff Masters

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: 1823 - 1773

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 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 134 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160Blog Index

1823. Dennis8
EYE LIKE FEATURE STILL VERY APPARENT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If you think irene is going due west, you've been on this blog to long, or you sniffed the Troll spray too much, cuase Due west is not her direction, she is still heading north of west to WNW
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Do you think the storm track has been due west since St. Kitts?...because if it has been west instead of WNW...maybe the models will drive it through Hispaniola instead of its north coast...keep it weaker...and models will shift their tracks back to the west....
Yes, that's what I was thinking and posted a few minutes back. I think it is moving due west, but I'm only using pr radar and visible. The NHC knows best.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherjr:
If TS Irene crosses the island of PR (or very near it) then the island will AVOID the strong convective ball to the NE quadrant. Hence, the effects in PR will be very minimal, both in terms of rain and in terms of winds. The worst part of the storm is that NE quadrant. That quadrant never will reach PR, because of the rotation of the storm.


The Crow
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
Link


If you look at the IR shortwave loop Irene looks to be moving west but looks like convection is wrapping around the coc now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting violet312s:
I thought that HHers were to do 6 hour fixes if a storm formed. Why didn't they adjust today's flight plans?



they did


000
NOUS42 KNHC 211500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT SUN 21 AUGUST 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 22/1100Z TO 23/1100Z AUGUST 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-082

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM IRENE
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 71 FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 75
A. 22/12Z,18Z A. 23/00Z
B. AFXXX 0409A IRENE B. AFXXX 0509A IRENE
C. 21/1045Z C. 22/1730Z
D. 18.2N 68.2W F. 24,000 TO 33,000 FT
E. 21/1130Z TO 21/18Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT FLIGHT FOUR -- TEAL 72
A. 23/00Z,06Z
FLIGHT THREE -- NOAA 49 B. AFXXX 0709A IRENE
A. 23/00Z C. 22/2315Z
B. NOAA9 0609A IRENE D. 18.2N 70.9W
C. 22/1730Z E. 22/2330Z TO 23/06Z
F. 41,000 45,000 FT F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT FIVE -- NOAA 49
A. 23/12Z
B. NOAA9 0809A IRENE
C. 23/0530Z
D. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES, 2 MORE
G-IV MISSIONS, P-3 MISSIONS EVERY 12 HRS BEGINNING AT 23/20Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS......NEGATIVE/ JWP
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115243
1817. MZT
duplicate removed
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1816. Dennis8
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


The UKMET is usually pretty good at their predictions.. I wonder why they are so much more west with their path? their modle puts it into the GOM.


YES it does....Dr. Masters says to watch that model for long range
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1815. srada
Quoting Bluestorm5:
For people in Carolinas, get ready your traffic plans. Not many interstates leaving the coast... we don't want another Floyd interstate mess. I only knows 5 major freeways leaving the coast: US 70, US 17, US 501, I-26, and I-40.





74W-76W to I-74W as well
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
For people in Carolinas, get ready your traffic plans. Not many interstates leaving the coast... we don't want another Floyd interstate mess. I only knows 5 major freeways leaving the coast: US 70, US 17, US 501, I-26, and I-40.





And don't bother coming to Georgia. When Floyd was threatening, it took me 12 hours to drive from Savannah to Athens, GA. That's normally a 3.5 hour drive...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Being here in north florida,the jacksonville area...Do i have anything to worry about?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting clwstmchasr:


For 24 hours people keep saying due west and all Irene keeps doing is gaining latitude. I would not call that due west.


Many also do not understand that Irene has been constantly having her center relocated. They finally got a "Good" fix on it this afternoon... now that the MLC and the LLC have stacked up. All one has to do is look at the loops of radar and satellite and see that due west is a valid argument
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Its a ragged eye trying to form.
You're not going to see a well defined eye wall completely surrounding a center with tropical storm.

Don't expect to see a classis Andrew type eye wall on radar from a tropical storm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
You do remember that I set up a script to set off his house and car alarms, as well as send him a text message, every time that word appears here.

In testing, it was a 3 second delay between "Post Comment" and all of the above.
;-)


LOL...I have always enjoyed your company...one has to enjoy a truly brilliant smarta$$
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Please excuse the European: A cyclonic low, fuelled by warmer-than-normal SSTs in the northeastern Atlantic, approaches the Iberian Peninsula. It will likely track across NW Spain, Bay of Biscay, France, Benelux region, southern Scandinavia and into the Baltics.



Meanwhile, the WU Satellite showed what looked like a transient eye at 6:19 UTC, 2:19 EDT. However, other bloggers are calling into question the existence of that eye.



Irene does, however, look stronger than Fay when she was at this position in 2008. A veritable rainfall threat is present for Hispanola.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NASA101:
Wondering why the UKMET 12Z and its previous models have such a westerly solution.... it's not a bad model!


That's what I've been saying....in fact the UKMET is the best performing model for long-range forecasts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1805. MZT
Quoting tea3781:
I think you will continue to see the models sway back and forth. This is one or two model runs that have shifted. The reliable GFDL is still to the west too..
Yeah, this system has not even been named for a whole day yet. The projections get better as the models have some time to digest the path.

I wouldn't be a WU blog post without some people disagreeing on how many degrees north of west a storm is moving. :-} Especially after the eye forms and it wobbles around.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I still see it :P


Lol...Well, I don't know what else to show you then. Radar clearly shows that there is no eye as well. Convection doesn't even support an eye wall and you have to have an eye wall to have a true eye. It's not happening yet.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting USAFwxguy:
12 UKMET





The UKMET is usually pretty good at their predictions.. I wonder why they are so much more west with their path? their modle puts it into the GOM.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WCSCTVCharleston:
Dont be surprised if the models shift more towards NC


Do you think the storm track has been due west since St. Kitts?...because if it has been west instead of WNW...maybe the models will drive it through Hispaniola instead of its north coast...keep it weaker...and models will shift their tracks back to the west....
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 495 Comments: 3688
1801. dearmas
At this point in time, which way is she moving??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1800. srada
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
If it comes here, I have a feeling we won't be leaving. Being through Fran, Floyd, Isabel, etc. they seem to think that are house will be fine and there is no need to evacuate, even in a storm stronger than all of them.


I will only leave for a category 4, anything under that, I'm staying.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1799. Dennis8
Quoting washingtonian115:
The wave about to exsit Africa could become the next named storm on the list.We'll see though.


YES we will see
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1797. Dennis8
Quoting USAFwxguy:
12 UKMET





Houston needs to stay alert!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


How about an image 30 minutes newer than that one?



I still see it :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If it comes here, I have a feeling we won't be leaving. Being through Fran, Floyd, Isabel, etc. they seem to think that are house will be fine and there is no need to evacuate, even in a storm stronger than all of them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1794. Dennis8
Quoting TerraNova:
Apparently, winds are really picking in on St. Maarten.


wu SHOWS S 31 MPH
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It hasn't left yet...



How about an image 30 minutes newer than that one?

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting P451:
Irene's EXPANDED Floater Page

If you look at a long image loop and discount the little dry air pockets wobbling around in Irene which are not a true indicator of storm heading... you may just see this:







That's what I see as well. About a 285 heading.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The wave about to exsit Africa could become the next named storm on the list.We'll see though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I thought that HHers were to do 6 hour fixes if a storm formed. Why didn't they adjust today's flight plans?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Speaking of Carolinas, surprised that we haven't seen Chucktown in here much lately.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1787. Skyepony (Mod)
Definitely pulling a CDO together.. Impressive. PR is coming up. She's covered alot of ground int he last 24hrs..MIMIC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1786. Patrap

Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1785. HCW
Mode update for Irene from the NHC


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1783. NASA101
Wondering why the UKMET 12Z and its previous models have such a westerly solution.... it's not a bad model!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What I consider to look like an eye on visible satellite, does appear to correlate to pr radar. COC, heading west towards St. Crx
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For people in Carolinas, get ready your traffic plans. Not many interstates leaving the coast... we don't want another Floyd interstate mess. I only knows 5 major freeways leaving the coast: US 70, US 17, US 501, I-26, and I-40.



Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8030
1780. srada
As a resident of Wilmington, NC, I haven't seen much in the local media about Irene, however I think things are about to change real quick! I am watching and waiting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
Irene's EXPANDED Floater Page

If you look at a long image loop and discount the little dry air pockets wobbling around in Irene which are not a true indicator of storm heading... you may just see this:







dunno P, but that hole in the storm aligns with the rotation on radar..
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
It hasn't left yet...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1777. tea3781
I think you will continue to see the models sway back and forth. This is one or two model runs that have shifted. The reliable GFDL is still to the west too..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting USAFwxguy:
Is it even worth mentioning that Tropical Storms don't form eyes or eyewalls.

Do they?




strong TS do
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115243
Yeah, no way was this convection supporting eyewalls...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MZT:
Agree with P451. Don't worry about spotting the center right now, look at how the mass of circulation moves. It's been WNW all day.


I am starting to think NW and WNW motion from last night all the way till it got to St. Kitts this morning...then a turn to due west since St. Kitts into this afternoon...it may be leaning more left right now....
Member Since: September 15, 2009 Posts: 495 Comments: 3688

Viewing: 1823 - 1773

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 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 134 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160Blog 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

Light Rain
60 °F
Light Rain