Atlantic Basin Remains Quiet as we Approach the Start of the Season.
Number of days since last Hurricane Landfall in US: 324 (Arthur)
, in Florida:
3499 (9 y 7 m) (Wilma)
Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator
Loc: Melbourne, FL
The future track of Hurricane Irene is firming up with only minor changes since last night. The good news, if there is such a thing with a hurricane, is that the intensity remains at Category II with sustained winds near the center of 100mph. One item that the Hurricane Center may have overlooked is that in about 9 hours Irene will be crossing the Gulf Stream, and with higher sea surface temperatures some intensification could still occur. Landfall has shifted slightly east and should be near Ocracoke, North Carolina, around 10AM Saturday morning with sustained winds of 100-105mph gusting to 125mph.
The slight eastward track adjustment would be better news for North Carolina but not so good for everybody else along the track. Irene is now expected to remain just offshore Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Saturday evening with sustained winds of 90mph and just off the New Jersey coast Sunday morning. Irene should clip western Long Island and hit shore again near Norwalk, Connecticut, early Sunday afternoon with sustained winds of 80mph gusting to 95mph. Looks like Irene will pass near or over Westfield, Massachusetts, early Sunday evening (5-6PM) - still as a hurricane with winds of 75mph gusting to 90mph. In the past 24 hours, the Hurricane Center track has not deviated all that much from the Westfield scenario. Although Irene is a little weaker than yesterday's forecast, the offshore track means that the winds will not decrease as much as the hurricane moves northward. Cooler sea temperatures and southwesterly windshear aloft are the prime factors that will slowly diminish the winds.
Irene should continue north northeast and weaken to a strong tropical storm as it moves near Northampton, Amherst, Athol, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire, Sunday evening. Irene will eventually end up in extreme northern Maine by Monday morning with winds still in the 55-60mph range.
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