Loc: Orlando, FL
Hurricane Irene over the Turks and Caicos Islands
Tue Aug 23 2011 05:33 AM
9PM EDT 23 August 2011 Update
Irene's eye is becoming visible on IR Satellite, and reports from two planes inside Irene now have found a pressure of 965 mb, and stronger winds, it appears Irene is on another strengthening spurt tonight.
6PM EDT 23 August 2011 Update
Hurricane Irene disrupted a bit from land interaction with Hispaniola and some shear is now crossing between the Turks and Caicos islands, bringing very strong winds to the islands. Hurricane Hunter Aircraft recently found a lower pressure of 969 so it may be on its way back, Irene is still forecast to be a major hurricane tomorrow.
The official forecast clips the outer banks of North Carolina, and primary operational models trends have been holding at this point for the last few runs. Because of this, there is a Mandatory evacuation of tourists from Ocracoke Island, NC. This starts tomorrow, and then expands to locals on Thursday. This will also include Cape Lookout and Hatteras.
Marine Tropical Storm watches are up east of Florida, but no land tropical storm watches as Irene should pass well east of Florida, some winds below tropical storm force may occur along the coastline along with beach erosion and heavy surf.
Beyond the Carolinas, persons up the Eastern Seaboard in particular Long Island north into New England really need to start monitoring this system.
Also, Puerto Rico is still getting flooding rains from the tail of Irene's rain bands.
11AM EDT 23 August 2011 Update
Hurricane Warnings are now up for all of the Bahamas. The forecast track shifted very very slightly to the east, but it is mostly an extension of the 5AM official forecast.
Florida is also now out of the cone of uncertainty. Although the odds for a southeast impact are lower, they are still fairly high for North Carolina, and new England will have to watch this system as well.
Hurricane Irene has pulled in a bit of dry air from interaction with Hispaniola that disrupted the inflow a bit overnight, but appears to be on track toward the official forecast path. Outflow is starting to become well defined on the western side of the system, and it appears that it will likely regain and strengthen later today once it moves further away from the Island.
Computer model guidance from last night (with extra data collected from NOAA and Air force planes) has shifted right which implies Florida will see very little impact other than beach erosion and rough surf, which is good news for them (right along the coast may be a little breezy though), however based on the official forecast, a major hurricane is expected to pass 150 miles to the east of Florida, tearing through the central Bahamas. After which it is projected to make landfall in North Carolina near Wilmington late night Saturday into Sunday morning. Most models have come into agreement on it staying east of the US until North Carolina. The track may shift slightly west or east during the day, but should remain relatively in the cone. It is important to note, so far the trends have been to the east.
Beyond the forecast, After that it may rake along the east coast into New England, so folks as far up as Maine into Canada will want to watch Irene.
There are no new watches or warnings so far today.
Satellite shows a slightly disrupted hurricane (from land interaction with Hispaniola), but very little holding it back from regaining and strengthening later after it moves away. Outflow to the north and west of the storm is very conductive for development. There is a slight elongation north to south in the system which would imply a slight tug northward, which is in line with the forecast projections. If anything changes in the near term it would be because of any interesting interactions with Hispaniola. Generally though, Irene is a very large hurricane and field fields are very large so most of the Bahamas will be affected in some way.
Those in Florida will still want to watch it to see exactly how close it gets, but it would have to get within 60 miles of the coast to see any significant hurricane weather from Irene (it is forecast to be 150 miles east near it's closest approach point). And chances of that are low, around 5%, usually not enough to change plans. Chances for Tropical Storm force winds are a little higher right along the Florida east coast at 30% In short, on it's closest approach, you probably won't want to be on the beach. Surfers will get very long period swells as it approaches, but at closest approach it will be too rough to do much.
For those keeping track, the official forecast gets updated at 5AM, 11AM, 5PM and 11PM, with intermediate advisories at 2AM, 8AM, 2PM, and 8PM while watches/warnings are active. In majors, usually updates can come even more often than that. As a note, there is nothing suggesting a shift back to the west will occur right now, if a change would occur, odds are it would be the opposite (to the east).
Those in North Carolina need to use the next few days for preparations, and South Carolina will want to any westward shifts. Those further north into New England will want to watch the progress of Irene as well.
The Bahamas will get a very rough next few days with a major hurricane forecast to be across the heart of the islands.
See the Forecast Lounge for more speculation on Irene.
Flhurricane Disaster and preparatory information thread.
We are now recording the Rocky Bay webcam at Abaco Island in the Bahamas -- note these images are large.
Hope Town Fire rescue on Abaco Island, storm information
Updated Map of Mark Sudduth from HurricaneTrack.com, with video and radar for Irene approach See HurricaneTrack.com for more information.
Long term Central Atlantic wide area Water Vapor Satellite for Hurricane Season Peak flhurricane)
Long term West Atlantic wide area Water Vapor Satellite for Hurricane Season Peak flhurricane)