Category 3 Hurricane Irene tracks northwest through the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:55 PM GMT en Agosto 24, 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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looks like the nhc is going with this at 11pm so far


AL, 09, 2011082500, , BEST, 0, 235N, 750W, 105, 952, HU,
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Quoting Cotillion:


I think Diana was very close, but weakened just below major prior to landfall. Donna also went past after smacking Florida.

Assuming that's what you meant by SW.
Yes.
Thank you.
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in toronto but can empathize with those in bahamas(to some degree).major storm rolling thru..am being told to seek shelter in basement!!
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I don't see Irene making the turn right now. I don't know what people are seeing, her movement has been pretty straight forward with the exception of some wobbles north and west.
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Quoting Torgen:


NASA's afraid of losing the shuttle if Perry follows through with his threat to secede. Words have consequences. :)

If giving up a shuttle will result in Texas seceding from the Union, that's a price I'm willing to pay... ;-)
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Quoting weatherjr:
People, steering currents goes to caribbean (IMO). Watch the african waves carefully..............


Forecasted to turn north... what would make that change?
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nah the name is lee but I'm in Broward county
and I'm confident in the NHC and am anxiously waiting the turn that I fully expect to happen before Irene gets too close to 26N 80W. It's just freaky to watch this thing on satellite, it does remind me of Fran, Jeanne and others that passed us, but those were also just as surreal and nerve wracking.
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Quoting PaulinJax:
i will feel much better after it makes the turn ....


Me Too. I think Jeanne ruined the trust in 04.

.STORM INFORMATION...
AT 5 PM EDT...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IRENE WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 23.1N...LONGITUDE 74.7W. THIS WAS ABOUT 420 MILES
SOUTHEAST OF WEST PALM BEACH FL...OR ABOUT 390 MILES
EAST-SOUTHEAST OF MIAMI FL. STORM MOTION WAS NORTHWEST OR 310
DEGREES AT 12 MPH.
STORM INTENSITY WAS 120 MPH.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
If 90L is getting ready to make a move, ATCF isn;t really showing it; still1008mb, still 25 knots:

AL, 90, 2011082418, , BEST, 0, 129N, 272W, 25, 1008, LO, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 200, 75, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,



never mine they this did
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1309. Levi32
Working on the outer eyewall but still hasn't fused all of the inner bands together:

Member Since: Noviembre 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting chsstormgirl:


Charley, I think. Unless I'm getting my directions mixed up again... I do teach special ed, so that's possible.


Charley was a CAT 1 when it hit there
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Guys,

I'm no expert but I'm watching the weather channel and I see Irene getting closer and closer to SFL and I don't see a turn yet.

thanks,
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1306. Gorty
Quoting zparkie:
Its going to start picking up speed now, its becoming elongated and stretching to the east, watching it almost looks like it could take a north east heading and not hit any land, possibly dragged out to sea.


Solid due NW to me... it really has to make that turn to ots very soon.
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1305. jdjnola
Quoting washingaway:


Maybe making the turn now, or it could just be a wobble.


I see neither a turn nor a wobble. Maybe a weeble...
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Quoting Smikey:


Holy Sheeeeee it.


If I read that correct that is forecasting a 926mb low just south and a tad west of NYC. [head smack]

Thank goddess its from the GFDL, and not the Euro.


If you haven't noticed the last 3 days the Euro has consistently forecasted a storm with a pressure of 935 mb or below approaching the NE coastline. This is a dangerously bad situation.
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Quoting FLdewey:


Kind of depends on the exact track. Some of those buildings are rock solid, and others are a little frightening. If it does indeed impact NYC as a hurricane the debris in downtown streets will be a mess.




yup falling debris in new york i would not want too be out
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Quoting yoboi:
the NHC has been right on track never seen this many plans fly into a storm before.........


This could potentially become one of the worst disasters to hit the coast ever. They want to make sure they get the track right especially with a potential 75 million + people living on the East Coast.
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If 90L is getting ready to make a move, ATCF isn;t really showing it; still1008mb, still 25 knots:

AL, 90, 2011082418, , BEST, 0, 129N, 272W, 25, 1008, LO, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 200, 75, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Has there ever been a major hurricane that hit the Carolinas from the SW?


Charley, I think. Unless I'm getting my directions mixed up again... I do teach special ed, so that's possible.
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Quoting rchira1:
How about this: Imagine everyone in south florida goes to sleep tonight and gets woken up by sirens and loud speakers from police cars saying we need to wakes up and that irene is now going west straight to s floida.


Just when half of miami are going to sleep, the other half are on the way to the clubs. Thus the red lights and sirens
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1298. zparkie
Its going to start picking up speed now, its becoming elongated and stretching to the east, watching it almost looks like it could take a north east heading and not hit any land, possibly dragged out to sea.
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could we see a round of RI soon?
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no TWC Storm alert yet??? Mandatory evacuations for NC???
OMG this may be the worst weather experience of my life...
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1295. Torgen
Quoting TexasGulf:
Dear New York:

We have asked you nicely to give the space shuttle back to NASA in Houston, Texas. We have also repeatedly warned about the negative karma that keeping the shuttle will bring.

After Irene, we'll talk.

Sincerely,
Texas.

P.S. and your governor owes us an apology.


NASA's afraid of losing the shuttle if Perry follows through with his threat to secede. Words have consequences. :)
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Quoting Unfriendly:


moving on to our storm*

Your spelling is atrocious.


as are your manners
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Impressive convection going on with 90L during d-min.

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1291. Patrap
Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128287
Quoting BahaHurican:
So far so good. The storm isn't likely to bring more than strong TS winds to my area, which is good. I'm just hoping the Family Islands can take the beating they're getting... :o(
A co-worker of mine has a relative in T & C(Provo if I am remembering the name correctly)and he said although it was bad it could have been much worse. Lots of trees down, no power or water, damage to buildings but he had not heard of any deaths . Stay safe because you never know if a "wobble" will bring her closer.
Member Since: Octubre 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8373
Quoting Torgen:


Gonna cut back on non-essentials at the grocery store so we can send $25 to Bahamas relief.


This post just reminded me how easily it could have been ME in need of Portlight's help; they get my donation today too.
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Quoting Unfriendly:


moving on to our storm*

Your spelling is atrocious.


So is your attitude

Lay off Taz
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1287. IMA
Quoting wxobsvps:
Those folks up there probably do not go into the season with the same mental and physical preparedness as those in the southeast/GoM


Exactly what I've been thinking, wxob. It means pandemonium of epic proportions if it becomes imminent.
Member Since: Julio 8, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1261


Maybe making the turn now, or it could just be a wobble.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Has there ever been a major hurricane that hit the Carolinas from the SW?


I think Diana was very close, but weakened just below major prior to landfall. Donna also went past after smacking Florida.

Assuming that's what you meant by SW.
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1284. Torgen
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Wow...

Never seen this before for NE NJ



They had to use an image of a hurricane over Florida! :D
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Quoting Tazmanian:
if are storm comes in too new york like they say even no there will be 100mph on ground level but if you move up like on the 50th too 70th floor on the one of them high rise there is going too be a lote of damg on the higher floors the higher floors could be looking at winds of 120 too 150mph or even more
You are correct. When calculating the strength of impact window glass, zoning codes take into effect the height of the building, at least in FL. So, a 30 story high rise, built in the 60's, in NYC, man o man, lots of glass flying around. Also, a lot of building in and around the city have no window and we know what happens when even 70 mph winds twirl around inside a building.
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1282. robj144
Quoting Unfriendly:


moving on to our storm*

Your spelling is atrocious.


Your handle is very appropriate.
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1280. Patrap
Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128287
1279. Dakster
Quoting 19N81W:
my brother lives in nassau communications are already dropping off...anyone have any info or data or track info?


Which Nassau? New York or Bahamas?
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Quoting atmosweather:


Absolute worst case scenario anywhere in the U.S.

Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
18Z GFDL 102 hours
If this comes true, well, just the flooding alone in the subway systems will bring NYC to a screetching halt for quite a long time. I think there would be some coastal flooding in all the 5 suburbs. I'm sure the sky scrapers would hold up well- lots of broken windows though. Lots of trees down in Central Park.
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Quoting wolftribe2009:
90l/Jose is at 70% now

It also is moving further and further towards the southwest. I am still wondering if this could be our next big trouble maker? Most of the models show it moving northward out to sea but I am not so sure on that track.

Link
I am kind of thinking this will be a bad one for the Caribbean. Came off too strong and definitely reminds me of Ivan. And no, I am definitely not a wishcaster but someone who has been there and doesn't want to go there again.
Member Since: Octubre 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8373
1275. TBird78
Quoting TexasGulf:
Dear New York:

We have asked you nicely to give the space shuttle back to NASA in Houston, Texas. We have also repeatedly warned about the negative karma that keeping the shuttle will bring.

After Irene, we'll talk.

Sincerely,
Texas.

P.S. and your governor owes us an apology.


Yes, Thank you!! That space shuttle business this the biggest joke ever.
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1274. Speeky
Who thinks NYC may be a direct hit from Irene as a Cat 2?
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
How are you doing so far ?
So far so good. The storm isn't likely to bring more than strong TS winds to my area, which is good. I'm just hoping the Family Islands can take the beating they're getting... :o(
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Quoting Unfriendly:


moving on to our storm*

Your spelling is atrocious.


Your ignorance is spectacular.
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1271. jonelu
I have to say...its a little unnerving sitting here looking at maps and watching Irene heading in my general direction. Im confidant that the turn will happen...but its still nerve wracking.
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1270. Patrap
All Coastal interest need to heed the Local Instructions for Vessel relocating and mooring in Place.

Member Since: Julio 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128287
Quoting MyrtleCanes:


what? post the link


I was thinking about coming to Myrtle Beach to stay for the storm to help my folks move some things... but you would have worse weather in a afternoon t-storm with the latest track. Ed Piotrowski saying the most the beach gets is 30mph winds. The W side will be a lot weaker.
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what kind of damg could we see on some of them higher floors on some of them high rise?
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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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