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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701. MZT
I'm beginning to sense some relief in Charlotte with the forecast track. It's common for these storms rolling up the coast, to curve farther east as the forecast progresses. Even if the models shift west a little it looks like it would be a glancing blow by the west side, not a direct hit like Hugo.

Those of you in the northeast are probably getting more unnerved, though...
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when is this trough due to turn? or has it passed?
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Hey everyone :-) When the tropical waves get an "invest" number assigned, how are those numbers assigned? Like 90L or 97L? I know they aren't numerically arranged, as Irene was at one time 97 (I think) and now we have 90 off Africa.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
got my money on the frog


He said plane, there is no frog.
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I hope people are paying attention from NJ to Long Island!!! Start taking precautions now!
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Quoting rkay1:
Forget NC those people have been through as many Hurricanes as FL.  The more interesting subject is NYC.  When's the last time NYC got a Hurricane?


Gloria was a close call--1983-84?
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Wow lol. Both planes in the eyewall 90+ kt winds.

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The storm is fighting that bermuda high that is nugging it to west alittle, they just said it is only moving 7 mph, alot could change with a storm moving that slow, might pick up speed if it makes the northern turn
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Here is an excellent tool for Dade County, Fl. featured on channel 10 ABC. It shows the storm surge for your given address given perfect conditions for each category. You can enter yor address and the storm category. Very cool. Peace all.

Link
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Quoting Levi32:


Who knows with all of the malfunctions lately...
yea exactly

Quoting Verdog:
And Kermit takes the lead!

called it
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96hr GFDL landfall Atlantic Beach NC 926mb 110knots
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Quoting Skyepony:
To see Irene go where the earthquake was wouldn't surprise me one bit. All over the world those two things seem to go hand in hand, in either order or the same time, volcanoes get in on it occasionally as well. Some say it's only coincidence. Just seems to happen more than it should.

Some recent discovery~ before big quakes IR satellite has false readings as it's picking up so many ions resulting from the earth's tension. Perhaps the ions make for a positive, attractive environment for cyclones as well. Charlie caused an earthquake as it came across FL. The research there was the atmospheric pressure from the storm & waves caused it.


I was just thinking the same thing. There have certainly been several occasions when an Earthquake and a Hurricane have come hand in hand. Seems more than coincidence that we just had a quake near to where a hurricane is forecast to go.
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Quoting rkay1:
Forget NC those people have been through as many Hurricanes as FL.  The more interesting subject is NYC.  When's the last time NYC got a Hurricane?


That "It Could Happen Tomorrow" show has been predicting a Category 3 hurricane hitting NYC for years now. Maybe Irene is the storm that'll do that?
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94 knot/108.1 MPH 30 second wind
97 knot/111.5 MPH 10 second wind

at 750mb/7,500 ft
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Quoting washingaway:


How are getting both planes on at the same time? I can only chose one are the other.


Select the other plane from Temporary Places
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Other Recon Finding this...
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 90 knots (~ 103.5 mph)
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Quoting TomTaylor:
interesting theory. Makes sense.

Although, it could just be that there sensors were off ...


Who knows with all of the malfunctions lately...
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I remember the blizzard of 78 as well. Was in college, student teaching. There was only a handful of us there. A close friend, Lily, was from Puerto Rico and wanted to help shovel the cars out. She shoveled from behind one car to behind another. When it was pointed out that now we'd have to shovel all the snow out from behind that car she quit shoveling. LOL We were snowed in for days.
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Did the GDFL just show a strike on Myrtle Beach, SC?
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The recons are on top of each other! woah lol
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Quoting charlottefl:


There are almost 19 million people in the New York Metropolitan area, not to mention Philidelphia, and Boston, large cities themselves are within 2 hours of there.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
going too subway would some one like MississippiWx 09 . Levi32 or TropicalAnalystwx13 PM me if are boys out there find a lower mb why i am gone so i can see it i may or may not be here when they do the center pass out for a few and thanks
I got you Taz.
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Quoting Levi32:
Both planes are headed for the eye neck and neck. Who will win? Lol.



How are getting both planes on at the same time? I can only chose one are the other.
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Yep just saw 97 knot flight level(750 MB) could be 100 to 105 Cat 2 now
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Quoting zparkie:
its pushing 20 foot wall of water, imagine that hitting at high tide


This is a VERY BIG storm!!!
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And Kermit takes the lead!

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Quoting washingtonian115:
Cantore is winning.


I'm sure you mean whining.
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Quoting MrstormX:
Hey y'all any new data?


969 mb. earlier, 111 mph recorded now.
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Quoting Levi32:
Both planes are headed for the eye neck and neck. Who will win? Lol.

got my money on the frog
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Recon finding 111 MPH flight level winds!!
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Doubt Irene is a Category 1 right now.
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Let's just hope the planes don't go NASCAR on us...Pit maneuvers are dangerous.
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Hey y'all any new data?
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664. Skyepony (Mod)
To see Irene go where the earthquake was wouldn't surprise me one bit. All over the world those two things seem to go hand in hand, in either order or the same time, volcanoes get in on it occasionally as well. Some say it's only coincidence. Just seems to happen more than it should.

Some recent discovery~ before big quakes IR satellite has false readings as it's picking up so many ions resulting from the earth's tension. Perhaps the ions make for a positive, attractive environment for cyclones as well. Charlie caused an earthquake as it came across FL. The research there was the atmospheric pressure from the storm & waves caused it.
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Flight level winds
97 knots
(~ 111.5 mph)

Could support a Category 2.
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StormPro-I used the "annular" term to describe what the models were showing; near perfectly-round low pressure hurricane with Cat4 or Cat5 intensity. I stated to get to those figures, Irene might have to have annular characteristics, where she could ward off dry air, shear, etc. Thus far she has not ramped up in this manner.

Which is a good thing!
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Quoting leftlink:


As I have lived in MA for over 40 years let me take a stab at the question of hurricane vs. nor'easter.

I think the main difference is that a nor'easter is most damaging when it tracks just east of cape cod, which can result in strengthening as it moves north -- the tide is higher the further north you go and in 1978 the big blizzard occurred at the monthly peak tidal time, and stalled for over 24 hours.

A hurricane is most damaging when it is to the west of cape cod and produces a surge on the south coast of RI or Long Island, and then goes inland and dumps all its rain in western MA, western VT, and northern NH.

Also, in summer you get uprooted leafy trees (ground is wet in a hurricane), as compared to the winter snow storm, where evergreen trees might be snapped in half, and only if they are weighted by wet snow/ice.


i remember that blizzard...lived on Lake Erie at the time...also remember that by the time they were done scraping the roads, we could sit on top of the snow piles and rest our elbows on the tops of telephone poles...that was NASTY
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I think we may be seeing the beginnings of that NW turn now. Look at the center position just within that last few frames much closer to the TCI's
Member Since: 18 décembre 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2687
97kt flight-level wind at 750mb from NOAA plane:

000100 2114N 07138W 7528 02333 9859 +126 //// 141094 097 /// /// 05
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its pushing 20 foot wall of water, imagine that hitting at high tide
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Quoting Levi32:
Both planes are headed for the eye neck and neck. Who will win? Lol.


Probably the one in the lead.
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Quoting CrozetDutch:
Feeling another shock here in Crozet VA, at 8:05, lasted very short but shook the house.


Hope you don't get anymore. Stay safe with them.
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Quoting Landfall2004:


Look at that pic! Who was it that said to "beware of the comma"?

(Actually, I think they said "coma" but we knew what he meant.)


Lol...Hey, watch it now...
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Quoting Levi32:


The extrapolated surface pressures are (I assume) based upon a standard tropical cyclone atmosphere which usually serves as a good approximation for what the pressure will be at the surface based on what it is at a given altitude. If the extrapolation from 5000-10000 feet is significantly lower than what it is in reality, it means that the vertical pressure gradient is steeper than normal (air pressure falls faster with altitude). This means that the air must be denser, and therefore colder in the low-mid atmosphere than they would normally find. This could indicate a weak core and less latent heat release, as well as less compressional warming in the eye. If the pressure is now back to normal, then the vertical pressure gradient should be back to normal based on their extrapolation standard, and thus the mid-atmosphere should be less dense than it was before (relative to the actual air pressure), implying that it is warmer.

This is just a theory, and this may not be the case if I am wrong about how they perform extrapolations, but it would make sense given the strengthening we are seeing.
interesting theory. Makes sense.

Although, it could just be that there sensors were off ...
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alittle wobble to the west again, weather man on channel 7 says its going to track west of the center of the cone, skirt up the coast from miami to boston and affect 80 million people
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I think by tomorrow we will have a better grasp on this storm. It supposed to be starting to head more northward by tomorrow into early Thursday. If it still orients itself in a more west north west/Northwest orientation by than we could see a South Carolina landfall. If not than we are looking for a landfall for North Carolina. Right now this looks like a Carolina event and I think the models are putting too much emphasis on that trough. I think the trough will not amplify and deepen enough, settle in far enough south, or have a prolonged duration over the region to cause this storm to do anything but move this storm in a NNW to Northward movement like the GDFL is suggesting.
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Both planes are headed for the eye neck and neck. Who will win? Lol.

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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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