Category 3 Hurricane Irene tracks northwest through the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 20:55 GMT le 24 août 2011

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Hurricane Irene remains a powerful category 3 this afternoon, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. Irene is moving northwest through the Bahamas at 12 mph, and its center has cleared the northern edge of Crooked Island. The next islands in the path of Irene are Rum Cay (population 80) and Cat Island (population 1700), which it will encounter later tonight. Irene will track northeast of Long Island (in the Bahamas) over the next 24 hours. George Town has been reporting wind gusts up to around 40 mph this afternoon, and wind speed will likely increase during the next 12 hours as Irene's center passes about 30-40 miles to their northeast. Long Island in the Bahamas will likely see category 1 winds, which begin at 74 mph. Shelters on New Providence and Grand Bahama are open and ready for business, and Grand Bahama International Airport will remain closed until Irene passes.

Irene continues to look well-organized on satellite, especially compared to yesterday afternoon. Since then, intense upward motion, and therefore strong thunderstorm activity, has encompassed the center on all sides, which has led to a well-defined eye. Throughout the morning, Irene's eye wall has shrunk, and a new eye wall could be developing, although it remains unclear at this point. If this is the case, it could lead to some temporary weakening of the hurricane, which would be good for the Bahamas. This afternoon, Irene's hurricane-force winds extend 50 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 205 miles from the center. Earlier this morning, an Air Force Hurricane Hunter mission investigated Irene and a NOAA Gulfstream (Gonzo) is currently collecting data around the hurricane.


Figure 1. Microwave satellite imagery of Irene captured at 8am this morning. Image source: Naval Research Laboratory.

Track forecast for Irene
NOAA has continued dropsonde missions today, scouring the atmosphere for data as far north as the waters off of South Carolina. Every bit of upper-air data that the models can ingest will lead to better forecasts and decreased uncertainty. These missions are an investment that pay off. Irene will track through the central Bahamas today, the northwestern Bahamas on Thursday, and approach the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Friday. Beyond this there is a bit of divergence in the models. Both the GFDL and the HWRF are forecasting a landfall on Long Island, New York, and the ECMWF continues to suggest a landfall even further west than that. NOGAPS is still the eastern outlier, which misses the U.S. all together and makes landfall in Canada. Today the official track forecast from the National Hurricane Center agrees with the GFS forecast through Saturday morning, and then diverges ever so slightly to the west of that through Monday. It has become clear over the past 3 days that everyone on the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine should be prepared to feel impacts from Hurricane Irene.


Figure 2. Official track forecast provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Irene continues to be embedded in a large envelope of moisture, and wind shear is expected to remain low to moderate, 5 - 20 knots, for the next three days. With water temperatures very warm, 28 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification to a category 4 hurricane (winds of 131 to 155 mph). The only reliable model that's not forecasting this intensification is the GFS, and this is likely due to its relatively course spatial resolution. The National Hurricane Center expects Irene to intensify to a category 4 tomorrow, with a decrease in intensity back to a category 3 on Friday.

Links
For those of you wanting to know your odds of receiving hurricane force or tropical storm force winds, check out the NHC wind probability product.

Wunderground has detailed storm surge maps for the U.S. coast.

Our Wundermap is also a great resource for tracking hurricanes, with the ability to turn on multiple layers of data, including satellite, official track forecast, and current weather observations from not only the U.S. but the Caribbean and Bahamas, as well. Here's a link to get you started.

Angela

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There's a possible fatality in the Bahamas or PR today that hasn't been reported yet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
gfs has shifted west about 50 miles:

12z:


18Z:


not good
Member Since: 21 mai 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115125
Quoting Alockwr21:
I don't understand. How does an amplified trough make Irene go more west? I thought that a trough would pick her up and move her east?


Not if it's on the other side of her.
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If you know anyone in New England...contact them now to leave now...warn them that FEMA is deploying to their area...oh, yea...tell 'em about the hurricane, too....
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:


Texas In Worst Ever Drought, Hottest Ever Heat Wave

In coming years, the climate is expected to worsen for Texas, in large part because of the fossilized carbon extracted from underneath the now-dying land. “Triple-digit temperatures will be the norm in Texas

Geeeeeezzzz. Give us one very hot, dry summer, caused by a La Nina event, and people are extrapolating to the "new norm." Well, what we've had here for just over a half year is nothing compared to the 1930s and 1950s; and, the summer of 1980 still surpasses this summer. We had a cold, wet winter (schools were out for 5 days here in Dallas!), and people were extrapolating that that perhaps is the new normal. So much for that.
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Quoting presslord:


I'm takin' the boat offshore Saturday....Y'all wanna come?



ummm...lemme see....NO! talkin 5-7ft waves with extra high tide on top...been there done that when i did NOT have a choice in the navy...make sure you wear your life jacket...
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Quoting FLdewey:


Stop it. :-p

Ho you doin Taz man?




NO lol this kinding


am doing well
Member Since: 21 mai 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115125
Quoting MississippiWx:


Considering the steering is going to be basically the same with the upper level low, it's going to move out of the way or just dissipate. The NHC described the reason for the more due north movement by the European in their last discussion:

THE NEW ECMWF SHOWS MUCH MORE AMPLIFICATION OF THE TROUGH...
WHICH HAS RESULTED IN ITS TRACK SHIFTING OVER 100 MILES TO THE
WEST...AND THIS SKILLFUL LONG-RANGE MODEL NOW DEFINES THE WESTERN
EDGE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE.


If the EURO pans out.. I would be speechless. Category 3-4 storm surge, lets not forget the waters are warmer then they were 10 years ago up there.. This could be historic and devastating. I have alot of family on Long Island and am waiting to see the 00Z runs before I make calls to persuade them to evacuate. I knew all along it would be an East Coast system, but didn't think it would go that way..
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I don't understand. How does an amplified trough make Irene go more west? I thought that a trough would pick her up and move her east?
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Quoting presslord:
an entire FEMA convey has been running up and down I95 for days...with any luck they won't make it to New England in time to 'help'
with New Englands Dense Forests, high winds can be a seroius problem.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
357. Remek
Quoting Tazmanian:
are hurricane is comeing evere so closer too FL


gobble-gobble goo? I is haz hurricane plsjehggh?? :D :D
Member Since: 29 août 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
Quoting presslord:


I'm takin' the boat offshore Saturday....Y'all wanna come?


I am always game for a good fishing trip
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Quoting presslord:


I'm takin' the boat offshore Saturday....Y'all wanna come?

Just don't go out in the plane.;)
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Quoting MNhockeymama:
I don't want to bug you all, since I find the info you present helpful; but do you think the power outages will be as bad as some are predicting for NY et al? He looks to me for the info regarding this stuff and I don't want to be wrong. (His brother is a lineman too so now I have both of them asking me. darn it.)


The one hurricane I've been through was very large in size (Ike, '08, Houston). Even if this storm weakens by the time it gets to NY, the TS-force winds are likely to be very broad. The worst of the doomsday scenarios are probably overboard, but it takes a long time to repair all of those electrical lines if the area impacted is huge.
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Quoting Patrap:
Im all over that!
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350. redux
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well I admit that you interact with us more then some of the other Admin.Dr.M doesn't even do this!.


its hard to soar with the eagles when you surround yourself with turkeys.
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Interesting seeing all the different posts. I was listening to Joe Bastardi on the radio and he is forecasting a 1944 Atlantic hurricane scenario for up north. Really hate to see someone put all the chips on the table like that.

As for myself in Wilmington North Carolina our local chief meteorologist is putting Irene 123 miles off the coast at her closest pass and having winds up to 50 mph gusts. Again another very bold prediction, especially when you have a storm that appears to be growing in size and strength.

Should there be cause for concern? Of course but the media is really overdoing it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Max Mayfield made a very good point. Said that if this was 15 yrs ago, there would have been mass evacuations in FL. The confidence in the current track is very high at NHC he said.
He also said the turn will be GRADUAL
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Quoting presslord:


I have another one...but my wife says it ain't appropriate for mixed company


Best one I heard was after Hugo...Feeble Emergency Management Attempt
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
gfs has shifted west about 50 miles:

12z:


18Z:
Member Since: 6 septembre 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6505
Quoting tiggeriffic:


ha ha biily boy on ur fav channel said irene will be about 175 miles off the coast...those winds r how far out so far? blah


I'm takin' the boat offshore Saturday....Y'all wanna come?
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No warnings for Florida coast? So little talk about the impacts on Florida, just look how huge this thing has become...
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DOOMCon™
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency


I have another one...but my wife says it ain't appropriate for mixed company
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Quoting MrstormX:


Cha

Cha? lol
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Quoting angelafritz:


Darn you for listening! You know what I was doing, I was blogging with y'all! :)
Well I admit that you interact with us more then some of the other Admin.Dr.M doesn't even do this!.
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Quoting presslord:
an entire FEMA convey has been running up and down I95 for days...with any luck they won't make it to New England in time to 'help'


ha ha biily boy on ur fav channel said irene will be about 175 miles off the coast...those winds r how far out so far? blah
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are hurricane is comeing evere so closer too FL
Member Since: 21 mai 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115125
Is there any tracking models for the wave in the Atlantic, I think 90L?
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Quoting Vincent4989:

Almost no SAL!


Not much.

Member Since: 17 juillet 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26151
I don't want to bug you all, since I find the info you present helpful; but do you think the power outages will be as bad as some are predicting for NY et al? He looks to me for the info regarding this stuff and I don't want to be wrong. (His brother is a lineman too so now I have both of them asking me. darn it.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angelafritz:


Darn you for listening! You know what I was doing, I was blogging with y'all! :)


What impacts do you expect western Massachusetts, western New Hampshire, and Vermont to recieve right now? I've asked others, too, but am curious for your opinion - I know it is early. Thank you!
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Quoting newportrinative:
There's a nice steady breeze here in Ft Luaderdale that is constant and we haven't seen all summer.
Max Mayfield on our local news just now states that we will know there is a hurricane out there tomorrow with sustained winds of 20-25 mph and an occasional gust.


Nice, isn't it?
Member Since: 17 juillet 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26151
Quoting presslord:
an entire FEMA convey has been running up and down I95 for days...with any luck they won't make it to New England in time to 'help'


Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency
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Quoting angelafritz:


Darn you for listening! You know what I was doing, I was blogging with y'all! :)



yea...I know ;-)
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Quoting Grothar:

Almost no SAL!
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66hrs:
Member Since: 6 septembre 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6505
Quoting breald:


Sorry, New England...LOL


Couldn't help myself...lol!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
an entire FEMA convey has been running up and down I95 for days...with any luck they won't make it to New England in time to 'help'
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting reedzone:


Interesting.. I think the ULL is now starting to pull Irene north a bit more.. Though a storm cannot break through an ULL can it? Would have to go around.. Perhaps this is also why models show Irene going back north to NNW after a NNE movement. Can't wait for the reliable 00Z runs.


Considering the steering is going to be basically the same with the upper level low, it's going to move out of the way or just dissipate. The NHC described the reason for the more due north movement by the European in their last discussion:

THE NEW ECMWF SHOWS MUCH MORE AMPLIFICATION OF THE TROUGH...
WHICH HAS RESULTED IN ITS TRACK SHIFTING OVER 100 MILES TO THE
WEST...AND THIS SKILLFUL LONG-RANGE MODEL NOW DEFINES THE WESTERN
EDGE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
320. angelafritz (Admin)
Quoting presslord:
the best part of the radio show was when Angela said "I'm not really payin' attention..."


Darn you for listening! You know what I was doing, I was blogging with y'all! :)
5:00pm Advisory
*Image is clickable for enlarged version
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dan77539:
I'd also suggest that people living along the East Coast not get manic-depressive with every jog to the west or north today and tomorrow. You can drive yourself crazy doing that. You'll just have to look at 3- or 6-hr average direction.


Haha - good advice.
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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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