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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Quoting MississippiWx:


SOAB.
Could you imagine if this were preparring to make landfall in South Florida , we would be going through hell
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Quoting kmanislander:
951.8 mbs, very light winds. Vortex message in a minute or so


Interesting...
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Quoting 900MB:


and why don't they have 65, 70, 75,.....100,105...kt barbs?


Good question. LOL.
Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
Quoting Methurricanes:
Better than a Charlestown snob, lol.


i was transplanted here lol
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951.8 mbs, very light winds. Vortex message in a minute or so
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eeek



they this found 951mb


951.8 mb
(~ 28.11 inHg)
Member Since: Mayo 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115246
Quoting kmanislander:
Very near the center now in the 60 knot plus barbs. Center fix and vortex message shortly


Winds in George Town Exuma already gusting to hurricane force.
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NCEP COUPLED HWRF HURRICANE MODEL FORECAST MADE FOR

HURRICANE IRENE 09L

INITIAL TIME 18Z AUG 24

FORECAST POSITIONS (FROM STATS.SHORT FILE...)

HOUR LATITUDE LONGITUDE MIN PRESS (hPa) MAX SFC WIND (KTS)

HOUR: 0.0 LONG: -74.20 LAT: 22.70 MIN PRESS (hPa): 933.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 106.00
HOUR: 6.0 LONG: -75.10 LAT: 23.40 MIN PRESS (hPa): 935.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 95.00
HOUR: 12.0 LONG: -75.90 LAT: 24.00 MIN PRESS (hPa): 930.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 98.00
HOUR: 18.0 LONG: -76.30 LAT: 25.10 MIN PRESS (hPa): 925.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 116.00
HOUR: 24.0 LONG: -76.70 LAT: 26.30 MIN PRESS (hPa): 922.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 114.00
HOUR: 30.0 LONG: -77.10 LAT: 27.50 MIN PRESS (hPa): 924.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 112.00
HOUR: 36.0 LONG: -77.40 LAT: 28.70 MIN PRESS (hPa): 923.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 109.00
HOUR: 42.0 LONG: -77.50 LAT: 29.90 MIN PRESS (hPa): 927.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 109.00
HOUR: 48.0 LONG: -77.50 LAT: 30.90 MIN PRESS (hPa): 924.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 104.00
HOUR: 54.0 LONG: -77.30 LAT: 31.90 MIN PRESS (hPa): 925.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 106.00
HOUR: 60.0 LONG: -77.10 LAT: 32.80 MIN PRESS (hPa): 924.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 103.00
HOUR: 66.0 LONG: -76.80 LAT: 33.70 MIN PRESS (hPa): 924.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 112.00
HOUR: 72.0 LONG: -76.40 LAT: 34.60 MIN PRESS (hPa): 924.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 102.00
HOUR: 78.0 LONG: -75.70 LAT: 35.50 MIN PRESS (hPa): 929.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 93.00
HOUR: 84.0 LONG: -75.10 LAT: 36.80 MIN PRESS (hPa): 927.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 91.00
HOUR: 90.0 LONG: -74.30 LAT: 38.40 MIN PRESS (hPa): 928.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 87.00
HOUR: 96.0 LONG: -73.40 LAT: 40.50 MIN PRESS (hPa): 930.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 80.00
HOUR: 102.0 LONG: -72.40 LAT: 43.00 MIN PRESS (hPa): 942.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 60.00
HOUR: 108.0 LONG: -71.40 LAT: 45.70 MIN PRESS (hPa): 957.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 46.00
HOUR: 114.0 LONG: -69.90 LAT: 48.20 MIN PRESS (hPa): 971.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 33.00
HOUR: 120.0 LONG: -68.90 LAT: 50.90 MIN PRESS (hPa): 975.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 44.00
HOUR: 126.0 LONG: -66.70 LAT: 52.80 MIN PRESS (hPa): 979.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 27.00
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909. 900MB
Quoting MississippiWx:


Yep.



and why don't they have 65, 70, 75,.....100,105...kt barbs?
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Sounds good. So I take it, it is inland since sailing days will be over. Will Portlight be going to T & C and the Bahamas ?


check out our blog for details

We may not be speaking of the same Cherry Point...I'm talking about the one at Rockville on Wadmalaw Island SC
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If this gets larger will it slow down or speed up?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
951.8mb.

234600 2323N 07500W 6967 02726 9518 +145 +128 282003 006 024 001 03


SOAB.
Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
Quoting CosmicEvents:
If I'm doing the math right the NHC has Irene moving at around 15MPH, then up to around 30MPH from Long Island to Maine. It's a good and important point. That forward speed needs to be added to the wind speed on the east side of the storm. Historically though, I think that's a relatively slow forward speed for storms that hit the Northeast. Maybe one of the better amateur mets will chip in with their thoughts.


Actually, I think it's the opposite. The storms are fast moving when they get up north.
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Quoting presslord:


because I'm a Charleston snob
Better than a Charlestown snob, lol.
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Quoting sflgatorgirl:
Longtime lurker and never had to know this before, but how do I ignore someone? Thanks


click "ignore user" right below the post... and then click "update" and it will update and that person will be ignored. :)

I have been using that a lot over the past couple of days.
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951.8mb.

234600 2323N 07500W 6967 02726 9518 +145 +128 282003 006 024 001 03
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
901. bwat
Quoting Unfriendly:


coming from someone who runs a disaster relief org, that statement is a bit out of line. I'm not a troll, been a longtime member of this blog - but when you are representing the face of your organization, that statement doesn't exactly give credence to your goals.
It was a joke. A long running joke for people who live in the "carolinas". I saw the humor in it, lighten up a bit.
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Quoting gulfbreeze:
What will the forward speed be when it gets north of 35.
If I'm doing the math right the NHC has Irene moving at around 15MPH, then up to around 30MPH from Long Island to Maine. It's a good and important point. That forward speed needs to be added to the wind speed on the east side of the storm. Historically though, I think that's a relatively slow forward speed for storms that hit the Northeast. Maybe one of the better amateur mets will chip in with their thoughts.
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Not hard to see where Irene is about to wobble...Additionally, look at her new developing eyewall.

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897. 900MB
Quoting Cotillion:


Never been a Cat 4 storm that far north as far as I know.


Yes, 1938 was strong Cat 2 on Long Island, but with 50mph forward speed (also allowing for a lack of deterioration). Any guesses on forward speed approaching Long Island this go around?
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south Florida is in for Hopefully some real good soaking rains and gusty winds 20-25 Mph with higher gusts tomorrow
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PR was hit by the first hurricane season 2011
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Quoting Methurricanes:
you say New England which is 6 states, so why cant we say Carolinas, when its only 2 states?


because I'm a Charleston snob
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


that was for the last 90L, which I believe became Don


Yep, but it looks like they are about to issue it.
Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
At least Providence, RI, has their hurricane barrier:




Should help a bit.
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Longtime lurker and never had to know this before, but how do I ignore someone? Thanks
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Someone needs to tell the Navy that 90L isn't in the Gulf...Lol. Apparently, they are about to issue TCFA.


Found it.



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Quoting presslord:


we're gonna build a very small house there...a getaway for when sailing days are over...
Sounds good. So I take it, it is inland since sailing days will be over. Will Portlight be going to T & C and the Bahamas ?
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Quoting kmanislander:
Very near the center now in the 60 knot plus barbs. Center fix and vortex message shortly
Kman are you going to go through Irene in the bahamas ????
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Quoting holycowitswrongagain:


Can the admins ban this guy's IP?
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Quoting holycowitswrongagain:
good evening so where is irene going?



irene is going too take a trip too new york has a cat 2 hurricane
Member Since: Mayo 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115246
Quoting kmanislander:
Very near the center now in the 60 knot plus barbs. Center fix and vortex message shortly


Yep.

Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
Quoting presslord:


rest assured...nobody in South Carolina gives a damn how they do it in New England


coming from someone who runs a disaster relief org, that statement is a bit out of line. I'm not a troll, been a longtime member of this blog - but when you are representing the face of your organization, that statement doesn't exactly give credence to your goals.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Someone needs to tell the Navy that 90L isn't in the Gulf...Lol. Apparently, they are about to issue TCFA.



that was for the last 90L, which I believe became Don
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880. 900MB
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Probably in that neck of the woods. All depending to on whether or not Irene is coming off of an EWRC, and the timing of those.


I expect the eye disrupted by the time it makes it to Long Island, at least somewhat, but doesn't mean that we won't be dealing with 100mph plus. I figure if it grazes the NC outer banks it will hold up pretty well and lose about 25mph....so if it grazes the banks we are at 110. If it digs into the banks, 90mph. Just guess work at this point. If we are at 100mph or higher, as I expect, we are in deep shizzle.
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Is it my eyes or Irene expanding in size, my what a huge storm!!!
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Someone needs to tell the Navy that 90L isn't in the Gulf...Lol. Apparently, they are about to issue TCFA.



Looks like Don.
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Quoting robj144:


How were water temps in the past for New England storms? They have been hit with several strong 2, 3, and even cat. 4 storms over the years.


Never been a Cat 4 storm that far north as far as I know.
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875. gecko
Quoting Dakster:


You mean the Canadian maritimes...


How VERY annoying. The "Maritimes" is three separate provinces, thank you very much, with a combined coastline* of 4177 miles. Not a measly 488 miles like the Carolinas.

*not counting islands
Member Since: Agosto 30, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
Very near the center now in the 60 knot plus barbs. Center fix and vortex message shortly
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Someone needs to tell the Navy that 90L isn't in the Gulf...Lol. Apparently, they are about to issue TCFA.

Member Since: Julio 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
ruh roh.

18z:


12z:

919!
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Quoting HiWay:


Wow you aren't joking. I just took a closer look and after the EWRC is done I think this windfield may gain another 75+ miles of tropical storm force in radius. She is a beast! That's going to mean even more rain and storm conditions farther out for those not even near the eye.


I see that as well. It's getting very healthy based on the improving outflow structure. Even if it loses some of its energy as it enters cooler waters up north, it should retain a very high moisture content.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Ok thanks. They just moved up there about 2 or 3 months ago. She is Army and her husband is Marines with 3 young children. I was getting pretty worried since they have no experience of hurricanes or what to expect.


we're gonna build a very small house there...a getaway for when sailing days are over...
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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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