Hurricane Irene slides toward Bahamas; Strong earthquake rattles eastern U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 21:57 GMT le 23 août 2011

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Hurricane Irene is a category 1 on the Saffir Simpson scale as of 5pm EDT, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and a minimum central pressure of 976 mb. Irene is moving to the west-northwest at 9 mph, and continues to impact Hispaniola. Satellite imagery shows a strong rain band continuing to linger over the eastern Dominican Republic on the southeast side of Irene, but wind speeds appear to have decreased substantially in the country since this morning. Winds are gusting to around 50 mph in the Turks and Caicos Islands this afternoon. Wind shear is currently around 10-20 knots in the vicinity, which could delay intensification over the next 48 hours. The strongest winds and thunderstorm activity remain on the northwest side, and the eye that was visible on satellite earlier today has become obscured by new thunderstorm activity near the center of the hurricane. The most recent Hurricane Hunter mission found a minimum central pressure of 978 mb and a large wind field. In their 2pm EDT fix, the National Hurricane Center estimated that tropical storm-force winds extended 180 nautical miles from the center in the northeast quadrant of the hurricane. A NOAA Gulfstream plane (Gonzo) is currently flying Irene and providing dropsonde data, something that was critical in gaining model consensus yesterday. A NOAA P-3 (Kermit) is also on its way to the hurricane to provide dropsonde data, as well.


Figure 1. Satellite imagery of Hurricane Irene at 4:45pm EDT. Image credit: NOAA.

Track forecast for Hurricane Irene
Models are in better agreement on the track forecast for Irene today, although the GFDL and HWRF continue to be the western outliers. Both of these models are forecasting Irene to make landfall near the Outer Banks of North Carolina on an almost due north track. The rest of the global models continue to slide every so slightly east in their forecast track, with some not making landfall until the hurricane is as far north as Long Island. This afternoon, the ECMWF, which has been performing well this season, forecasts Irene to brush the Outer Banks before sliding up the east coast toward New York. The official track forecast from the National Hurricane Center is similar this afternoon. They're expecting Irene to take a more central track through the Bahamas over the next 48 hours and make contact with the Outer Banks on Saturday afternoon, with a second landfall in New Jersey on Sunday afternoon. Again, it's critical to note that the errors in the track forecast 4 and 5 days out are quite large, and also that the consensus in the models over the past couple of days has been to nudge the track eastward, which can be seen in this track graphic archive.

Intensity forecast for Hurricane Irene
Despite the slight weakening that happened today, Irene is still expected to reach major hurricane status (category 3+) in the next 36 hours as it moves away from the Greater Antilles and into warm "open" water. The models tend to agree on a maximum intensity of category 3, however, the GFDL is the upper outlier, and is suggesting a category 4 on Friday. The intensity forecast from the National Hurricane Center is a wind speed increase to 125 mph (category 3) by Thursday. Irene will surely be a very intense hurricane by the time it nears the Mid-Atlantic.

Magnitude 5.8 earthquake rattles eastern U.S.

A relatively large and shallow earthquake struck the Mid-Atlantic just before 2pm EDT this afternoon, and shaking was felt up and down the east coast and as far west as Ohio. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter was located 5 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia, and was 3.7 miles deep—a very shallow earthquake. Buildings were evacuated all over the Mid-Atlantic, including the Pentagon, the White House, and NCEP, but have since been reopened. The National Cathedral in Washington D.C. was apparently significantly damaged in the earthquake. National Mall monuments and memorials have closed for the afternoon. Light aftershocks have been reported by people in the region, and the USGS has reported at least one aftershock (a 2.8 in magnitude).


Figure 2. "Did you feel it?" map from the USGS. Shaking reports from today's earthquake can be submitted to the USGS here.

This earthquake appears to be the strongest to occur in Virginia since May 31, 1897, when a magnitude 6 (approximately) struck Giles County. Reportedly, shaking was felt from Georgia to Pennsylvania and west to Indiana and Kentucky, which is an area that covers approximately 725,000 square miles. It's likely that this quake will have a similar extent when all the reports come in.

Angela

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Someone answer this: Did the STORM went through the HEBERT BOX?
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Upper level winds are not ideal for intensification for Irene. However with very warm water and further distance from Hispaniola I expect Irene will drop 20 mb or so from her present pressure into the high 940s.
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0z GFS is east...Cape Hatteras miss coming this run, may even miss Long Island in the future
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Quoting will40:



Link
thanks!!
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Quoting Levi32:
According to recon fixes this evening, Irene's average forward motion for the past 5 hours has been 279 degrees at 9mph. That's just north of due west.


Levi, just curious, what do you think the chances are of this making it to the Eastern end of Andros as opposed to the current official track. I know that's a tricky question. Just looking at the current position and see maybe a little budging room to the W?
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2194. Ryuujin
Quoting Levi32:
According to recon fixes this evening, Irene's average forward motion has been 279 degrees at 9mph. That's just north of due west.


280 is due west, so wouldn't 279 be just south of due west, Levi?
Member Since: 20 août 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 405
2193. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting scCane:
The key to watch is if it moves to the west of Great Inagua. None of the models have it moving west of that point they are all to the NNW of it.
yes that is its point of no rtn beyond inagua is not even shown could be a whole different show lets hope she keeps her heading turns back hold your breathe
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2192. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #4
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 15
12:00 PM JST August 24 2011
============================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In Sea Near Mariana Island

At 3:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1002 hPa) located near 15.8N 142.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as almost stationary

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

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

24 HRS: 18.0N 141.5E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
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2191. LBAR
Quoting hulazigzag:
What is this spin off of SC? How will it effect Irene.


From the Charleston, SC NWS...

NEAR TERM /UNTIL 6 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING/...
-- Changed Discussion --A MID LATITUDE TROUGH WILL CONTINUE OVER OR NEAR THE FORECAST AREA
OVERNIGHT...CREATING A NOTICEABLE WEAKNESS BETWEEN THE SUB-TROPICAL
ATLANTIC RIDGE AND THE CONTINENTAL RIDGE. MEANWHILE AT THE
SURFACE...HIGH PRESSURE WILL RIDGE INLAND WHILE A TROUGH REMAINS
OVER THE NEARBY COASTAL WATERS. A LOW LEVEL EASTERLY FLOW WILL
ENHANCE COASTAL CONVERGENCE TONIGHT...WHICH COINCIDES WITH THE
LOCATION OF THE DEEPEST MOISTURE. THIS WILL RESULT IN THE
FORMATION OF SHOWERS AND A FEW THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE ATLANTIC
TONIGHT...WHICH WILL ADVECT ONSHORE THROUGH THE NIGHT
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I don't get it, is it a forecast?


No, it is a Dvorak intensity estimate, based on the current satellite presentation of the storm.
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Just a reminder to anyone who may be in the storm's path. Please remember to check on elderly people. Some elderly people refuse to evacuate their homes. Check on them before and after the storm if possible.
Member Since: 20 septembre 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 369
Quoting HurricaneTracker01:
----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 24 AUG 2011 Time : 024500 UTC
Lat : 21:07:59 N Lon : 72:05:58 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.2 / 958.0mb/ 94.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.2 5.8 6.2


I don't get it, is it a forecast?
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2187. Levi32
According to recon fixes this evening, Irene's average forward motion for the past 5 hours has been 279 degrees at 9mph. That's just north of due west.
Member Since: 24 novembre 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Eye is closing off now. Could see some steady intensification.


As soon as that little dry spot north of the eye fills, it's very possible that RI will begin. Irene is in a very favorable environment right now.
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2185. redux
Quoting amd:
When it comes to New York City, it all comes down to the approach to the city that Irene takes. If it heads east of NYC, they will have heavy rains, but surge will be minimal at best as northern winds drives the water away from the city.

But, if this upper level energy is legit on models like the GFS and GFDL, and the upper level energy does hang around the great lakes, Irene may end up making landfall in a very unusual place for landfall (say NJ), and all of that water will have no choice but to go into NYC due to the shape of the coastline. That is how you get much higher storm surges in NYC compared to other cities on the east coast.

Will that happen? Chances are very low, but it cannot be ruled out. IMHO.


well yeah. I agree that in the event of a landfall near there, brooklyn and staten island would take it on the chin.

but its such a low low low possibility event.
Member Since: 28 juin 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
About 1000 people live on Great Inagua, I believe. May be getting a surprise soon. Morton Salt has a plant there.
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irene has two eyes
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2182. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #6
TROPICAL STORM MINA (NANMADOL)
11:00 AM PhST August 24 2011
=====================================

Tropical Storm "MINA" has maintained its strength and remained almost stationary.

At 10:00 AM PhST, Tropical Storm Mina (Nanmadol) located at 16.2°N 127.3°E or 390 km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The cyclone is reported as almost stationary

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

TS "Mina" is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and will bring scattered to widespread rains over Southern Luzon and Visayas particularly over the western section.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 15-25 mm per hour within the 400 km diameter of the tropical storm.

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 pm today.
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2180. will40
Quoting sarahjola:

i agree! very interesting, and i love those maps. can you post a link to them so i don't have to bother people by asking them to post it? thanks!



Link
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2179. Ryuujin
Wobbles can make a difference, and they certainly can when you are talking this close to the CONUS. Well, we will see.
Member Since: 20 août 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 405
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Why not have a global model with high-res...wouldn't that even be more accurate? Maybe they can't because computer power not up to par on this yet?


You make it sound like it is something simple to do.

Meteorological models are very complex and for them to perform their job they require detailed observations be fed into them. There's plenty of computational power. What is lacking is the high res observations.

Why do you think the hurricane hunters risk their lives to fly into the hurricanes? It's to help get better observations to feed into the models. Without them the model errors would be noticeably larger.
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Eye is closing off now. Could see some steady intensification.

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2176. TXEER
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Thanks for serving for our country, my man.


+1
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Quoting DVG:


I've been looking at this for over an hour now. For me the shortwave shows a lot of air mass moving west. Not sure, but I think I also see the top of the cane flattenning a bit. So yeah I think the steering currents are as depicted.

As noted, we'll see if it stays like that. I'm starting to wonder. We'll know more by 8am edt.

Also see a low south of SC east of Ga.

98l also seems to be catching up as well.



I will say the approaching shortwave looks like it will be of a pretty decent amplitude, we'll just have to see if that pans out..
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
I may start the gen again to get the 2am position, or sooner if we have a major change In conditions, whenever generator is on, I will post.
Hey, CRS.... any changes in wind so far?
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Interesting to note... first the steering pattern! WOW, what happened, ridge just blew in there.

Secondly, the latest vortex message at 11:46 ET, has the center located some 12 NMI SSE of the NHC 11 ET advisory position. I think theirs was based on extrapolation moreso anything else, as satellite imagery has indicated the center fix is around 21.1N 72.3W.
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2172. scCane
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



Thought I was seeing things, which is common in building storms. Heading straight towards Great Inagua ATM.
The key to watch is if it moves to the west of Great Inagua. None of the models have it moving west of that point they are all to the NNW of it.
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2171. Grothar
Quoting redux:


proposal is giving that way too much credit. thats a conceptual.

they need another rail line into manhattan much more badly than they do some storm surge shield.


and what is most comical about that proposal is it does NOTHING for Staten Island and Brooklyn, but has elaborate sluice gates for the riverways.

I mean, bad proposals are bad. Ive seen plenty of them in my day.


I didn't write the proposal, I just posted it. If you have a suggestion, I am sure the NYC mayor would be glad to have your input.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
000
URNT12 KNHC 240346
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL092011
A. 24/03:27:30Z
B. 21 deg 07 min N
072 deg 20 min W
C. 700 mb 2821 m
D. 64 kt
E. 217 deg 15 nm
F. 298 deg 78 kt
G. 217 deg 18 nm
H. 969 mb
I. 13 C / 3046 m
J. 17 C / 3045 m
K. 10 C / NA
L. CLOSED
M. C30
N. 12345 / 7
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF302 1109A IRENE OB 13
MAX FL WIND 92 KT NW QUAD 01:25:30Z
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 91 KT NE QUAD 03:34:00Z
;


21 07 min N and 72 20 min W is southeast of the 11 p.m. position!
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Eyewall dropsonde
980mb (Surface) 110° (from the ESE) 76 knots (87 mph)
979mb 110° (from the ESE) 77 knots (89 mph)
978mb 110° (from the ESE) 86 knots (99 mph)
976mb 115° (from the ESE) 90 knots (104 mph)
967mb 115° (from the ESE) 90 knots (104 mph)
959mb 120° (from the ESE) 97 knots (112 mph)
953mb 125° (from the SE) 110 knots (127 mph)
943mb 125° (from the SE) 101 knots (116 mph)
872mb 140° (from the SE) 97 knots (112 mph)
865mb 140° (from the SE) 88 knots (101 mph)
850mb 145° (from the SE) 88 knots (101 mph)
698mb 155° (from the SSE) 88 knots (101 mph)

Cat 2 winds 2 mb above the surface.
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2168. DVG
Quoting charlottefl:


Don't think so WV imagery over the Eastern US seems to roughly support what's depicted there..


I've been looking at this for over an hour now. For me the shortwave shows a lot of air mass moving west. Not sure, but I think I also see the top of the cane flattenning a bit. So yeah I think the steering currents are as depicted.

As noted, we'll see if it stays like that. I'm starting to wonder. We'll know more by 8am edt.

Also see a low south of SC east of Ga.

98l also seems to be catching up as well.

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Quoting charlottefl:
To clarify I see the 2nd shortwave on it's way, just seems to me this may bend a little more to the west of the model consensus. Don't know if that has any implications in the long range, it may have none, just interesting is all.

i agree! very interesting, and i love those maps. can you post a link to them so i don't have to bother people by asking them to post it? thanks!
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
Could be wrong however, Irene seems to be heading towards Great Inagua at the moment.


Correct
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0z GFS virtually unchanged with 18z through 48.
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If Irene does indeed affect the NEUS, I will have to travel back to my hometown in NE NJ to weather the storm and make sure my Mom does all right. Last time we had something even close to what it looks like what Irene may do, was Floyd back in '99. Floyd did an incredible amount of flooding and damage up there and it was only a dying Tropical Storm. This could be much more serious if things play out...

I'm watching this closely.
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I hope they're ready for round #2 on the TCI's cause it's right on top of them..
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Quoting redux:


yeah, it would be a bad day to walk around town and look cool and eat bagels, I would have to agree.


It was awful. All our umbrellas were destroyed. I corrected my post to say the steel doors of the main UN building were tossed across the plaza, not the street.
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2161. Squid28
Quoting presslord:


Wouldn't gravity help with that?


Most sewage systems have to have lift stations to overcome the changes in elevation across a city. No power=no lift stations, once they are full it starts backing up.

I forgot to throw in the whole sump pumps and basements issues
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000
URNT12 KNHC 240346
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL092011
A. 24/03:27:30Z
B. 21 deg 07 min N
072 deg 20 min W
C. 700 mb 2821 m
D. 64 kt
E. 217 deg 15 nm
F. 298 deg 78 kt
G. 217 deg 18 nm
H. 969 mb
I. 13 C / 3046 m
J. 17 C / 3045 m
K. 10 C / NA
L. CLOSED
M. C30
N. 12345 / 7
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF302 1109A IRENE OB 13
MAX FL WIND 92 KT NW QUAD 01:25:30Z
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 91 KT NE QUAD 03:34:00Z
;
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Oh Boy :(
Port of track... and Tracking more Westerly then the models predicted... let the fun begin.



not good news for Carolinas.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Oh Boy :(
Port of track... and Tracking more Westerly then the models predicted... let the fun begin.




It's likely a wobble due to the eye forming, by tomorrow morning I would expect a motion around 300 degrees.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Oh Boy :(
Port of track... and Tracking more Westerly then the models predicted... let the fun begin.






Thought I was seeing things, which is common in building storms. Heading straight towards Great Inagua ATM.
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To clarify I see the 2nd shortwave on it's way, just seems to me this may bend a little more to the west of the model consensus. Don't know if that has any implications in the long range, it may have none, just interesting is all.
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Quoting Bayside:
Great pic! I was in Iraq at the time... Woulda rather been in OBX to be honest.
Thanks for serving for our country, my man.
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2154. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


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Oh Boy :(
Port of track... and Tracking more Westerly then the models predicted... let the fun begin.



Member Since: 1 octobre 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



DRY AIR is MY FRIEND!


Perfect timing...
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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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