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: 4573 - 4523

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

Quoting weatherguy03:


Occasionally is the key word. You can see how that is working out tonite!..LOL If you have a Facebook account hit me up there EJ. I update all the time on the tropics.


I do not post here anymore either. Same blog, different season...I am on facebook and linked in. I'll follow you there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4572. Drakoen
I'm not that impressed with Irene. Even though there is partial eyewall on the north eastern part of the LLC from the hot tower observered earlier the entire southwest side is open. Irene is still struggling with dry air.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4540. MississippiWx 9:15 PM EDT on August 21, 2011

Thanks.......PR about to get quite a bumpy ride from a very high-end TS.....I hope it does not intensify for their sake.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
Pumping the ridge? Any papers on that?
Search it up on Google. All you'll find are comments on old entries posted by Dr. Masters, lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


Maybe that would keep CaneAddict from being so grumpy.


I am trying to appease him!;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bocahurricane:
well i am heading off for the night. big day here tomorrow, my daughter starts school (Yay). Here is the hoping I wake up and am no longer in the cone of DOOM!


Have a good one boca...my boys first day tomorrow as well. Hopefully, our DOOM level will be lower. Nice way for them to start school though! ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4567. Hhunter
Irene is nearing hurricane intensity now as pressures in the storm are falling and this may have hurricane conditions on Puerto Rico tonight



The headline is in Caps because I believe that this storm is going to be a major hurricane for the US coast.



At the risk of being wrong, I want to again explain why this will deepen in a major way between Hispaniola and the US

1) Its going to move slow

2) Its in a development, not mature mode

3) It is coming into the are that one looks for development in the shorter term patterns,,, 10-15 degrees in front of a trough position and on the southwest side of the Bermuda high, excellent ventilation

4) I believe THIS STAYS EAST OF FLORIDA. While Cleo and David came up the coast I dont recall a hurricane that moves north of Miami cutting at an angle like TPC has. They either hit south of the bend of Florida or they stay off shore if they are hurricanes. Perhaps this will be a first.

5) The pattern is loaded MJO wise for this as the MJO is coming east toward the storm as it gains longitude

The latest euro and GFS are more than 75 miles offshore.. making this even more Floydian than Cleo. Given the threat here, hurricane force winds may occur in all states from Fla to Va. The 18z GFS continues to mimic the ideas from this forecaster from this morning... 120 hour



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5000 commets or less too go be for 5,0000 post
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114758
I miss those probability numbers the NHC used to issue, with the percentage that the center of a tropical cyclone would pass withing 65 nm of a particular location.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4564. JLPR2
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Carolina, Puerto Rico is reporting winds of 32mph and gusts up to tropical storm-force. JLPR2 you still with us?



Yeah, although I'm amazed I am. xD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
wx nerd yo powers but to go bubye
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
4562. emguy
From an Irene standpoint...I'm really not all that impressed with the current shortwave trough moving through the eastern US. It kinda looks flat and looks like it may be starting to pull to the NE already.

Later down the road as Irene moves into the next weakness (break in ridge), the Bermuda high will be building back in, so I am a little speculative of the models showing an almost due north coast to the Carolinas. NW seems to be a better fit. It just seems too sharp for the pattern, especially if the "ridge bridge", better known as a "wrap around high" does develop later on. Special note on the "ridge bridge" otherwise...this could potentially slow a storms forward speed, which could increase flood threats in impacted areas of the US.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4561. palmpt
Quoting CaneAddict:


Dude chill out, maybe you can learn something from her. You don't have to be a jerk about it.


Totally agree. Folks here can be flat rude.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4560. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well it looks like the trend of forecast for Irene might end up favoring my forecast that Florida will make it through this season with below normal hurricane impacts again this year despite the active season.


It will be interesting to see if Irene ends up missing Florida to the east all together.

Of course its possible the model group will shift back into the gulf again.

Either way, the shift in the models is why I stress that people shouldn't panic. Before the Eastward shift in the mode;s, people were already starting to freak about Irene as if its "destined" to be a Florida storm.

However, this storm should be a good reminder for us to really start getting planned for this season, and have plan to survive and/or evacuate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
Pumping the ridge? Any papers on that?


Lol...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting barotropic:
COC on the move again and appears to be heading for the south PR coast.


Thinking this thing could go the length of the island on its current track. That would be a Georges-esque move. And because it is weaker, it might be disrupted slightly more with PR than Georges ever was. Though PR is not a known "storm killer" like Hispanola is.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
well i am heading off for the night. big day here tomorrow, my daughter starts school (Yay). Here is the hoping I wake up and am no longer in the cone of DOOM!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4555. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127630
Quoting weatherguy03:
And just because Irene doesn't go into the Eastern GOM doesn't mean Florida is in the clear. Irene could move right up the spine of the Peninsula.


Maybe that would keep CaneAddict from being so grumpy.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
Quoting starbuck02:


Omg this graphic is playing tricks on my eyes!


Lol. Sorry.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting serialteg:


how can u tell

The purple triangles you see every once in a while on radar. It's a Tornadic Vortex Signature.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5630
Station LTBV3, south coast of st. croix max sustained winds:

5:12pm, 31.1 kts (during storm approach, sw quadrant)
8:06 pm 36.9 kts (as storm departed, se quadrant)

This confirms a couple of things:

1) The stronger winds in the SE "eyewall" that is reportedly forming
2) The field of strong 30+kt winds will have a diameter of about 45 miles (because in 3 hours at 15mph the storm moved 45 miles)

Puerto rico has a width, top to bottom, of 40 miles according to Wikipedia. So the center of the storm will likely be disrupted and will need a half day or so to reorganize after PR.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Relix:


I've just had 3 Medallas and a Yellow Vodka shot. I am fine! XD!
I have my six pack of Medalla ready,but i will begin "Irene's Party" at 10:00pm since we (couple of friends) are going to stay up to weather the storm ... and record her pass...!! Im in very high terrain so im sure things will get ugly at 2,000" above the sea level...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Irene's track thus far.

al092011_track.png (1280×1024)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:
Pumping the ridge? Any papers on that?


Who needs papers? It's obvious that it happens...
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
And just because Irene doesn't go into the Eastern GOM doesn't mean Florida is in the clear. Irene could move right up the spine of the Peninsula.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Yikes Miami!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting farhaonhebrew:
Ocea Park very gusty..this will be worst than Jeanne...


winds picking up in Ponce, nothing bad yet

calling my friends in the southeast, no response

my dad was reporting strong gusts an hour ago in the north northeast (metro)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ok...i know this is a 5-6 day out event for my area, but am extremely creeped out right now...have been married for over 17 years and this is the FIRST time in that many years my husband said lets go to the store...while there...he began purchasing a 12-15 day supply of hurricane food supplies...i mean...every time they say a storm is heading our way he dismisses it...but not this time...super creepy.... :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Omg this graphic is playing tricks on my eyes!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Carolina, Puerto Rico is reporting winds of 32mph and gusts up to tropical storm-force. JLPR2 you still with us?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Gotcha and also respect your opinion.....You think Irene can make Cane status in spite of her pending brush with PR (rather than post-PR)? She really appears to firing on all cylinders at the moment....


It depends on if we still have recon investigating up until landfall. I've said all day that I thought Irene didn't have enough time to become a hurricane before making landfall in PR. If she can manage to scoot south of the island, then it's certainly possible. However, I think it'll stop just shy of hurricane status before making landfall. Luckily, we should have recon to confirm what's happening up until landfall.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
4539. msphar
Fajardo 29 Kts NE, gust 37 Kt.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmosweather:


Trough isn't lifting out yet.




well well well look oh we have here



hi atmosweather long time no see
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114758
4537. Drakoen
Pumping the ridge? Any papers on that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4536. Mucinex
Quoting PcolaDan:

And if you see them parachuting out of the sky, you are in a bad "B" movie.

ROFL! Yes, if they are over 20 stories tall and "flying" space ships, you are in a B movie.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Everyone's so madly caught up in Irene (granted, there is a good reason for that, she's organizing rather well for such a massive storm, and has a very dangerous track to boot) that they seem to have not realized that our homeboy Harvey has managed to survive his trip through Latin America and floated into the Bay of Campeche... still floating north, and already reorganizing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ejstrick:


Moved about a year ago. Still own my house in Jax.
Can't sell it in this market. Have it rented however. I do have an interest in Jax effects from Irene! Glad to see you blogging here on occasion.


Occasionally is the key word. You can see how that is working out tonite!..LOL If you have a Facebook account hit me up there EJ. I update all the time on the tropics.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


I'm chilled...You're the one who needs to chill. It was also a joke, smart one.


Well in that case, we are just fine.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4531. Patrap

2km Storm Relative IR Imagery with BD Enhancement Curve


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127630
Quoting MississippiWx:


Lol..I'm using presslord's terminology and I'm also being highly facetious. :-D
"Pumping the ridge" just sounds dirty - what exactly is that?? I have a visual in mind, but I am guessing that is wrong.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting farhaonhebrew:
Ocea Park very gusty..this will be worst than Jeanne...


San Juan is getting some pretty strong gusts but no new bands of rain.But it will not be long before the real deal arrives.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting serialteg:


how can u tell



by looking at the rader
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114758
Quoting Levi32:
This is the kind of convection that Irene has been lacking in her core all day, but it is now blooming.



Yep..PR is about to get smacked!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4526. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:


I'm just not buying this...I think the eastern Gomex is still very much in play here. The first trough is already lifting out and the ridge will strongly build back in. Also, Irene's center could be severely disrupted by Hispaniola...leading to reformation. I think it all depends on timing of 2nd trough and how much Irene traverses Hispaniola...but until then I wouldn't rule out Gomex threat...


Trough isn't lifting out yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
irene s such a sexy *(&^%&$ to look at :). She gonna keep me up all night and make me struggle through work 2morrow and keep me glued to my android
Member Since: August 17, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 22
Quoting P451:
Going back for more...




how long in is recon is end there be for noaa fight takes overe?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114758

Viewing: 4573 - 4523

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.