Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene and TD10: August 26, Update A

Hurricane Irene:
They downgraded her to a cat 2 storm last night (barely) with winds officially at 110mph (cat 2 range: 96-110mph) and a central pressure of 945mb. This is ok, I know they have to be conservative and cautious and there are a lot of people getting ready. I’ll give them this (obviously I’m a much nicer person before my first cuppa tea ;-)). At least she’s in the right category now. They have changed their forecast back to her being a cat 3 at landfall in the North Carolina region, but they do acknowledge that she’s expected to be a strong cat2/weak cat 3 at landfall. I think this is an overestimate too. At the moment they are basing this on her being a border-line cat 2/cat 3 now, but I think she’s weaker than that at the moment for a number of reasons:

1. She does not have a well-developed eye, which I expect in a mid-to-strong cat 2, let alone a cat 3.
2. She is not symmetrical.
3. There is wind shear and dry air to the west side of the storm.
4. The convection is not as strong as I would expect from a strong cat 2.
5. She is interacting with land on the west side of the storm.

Here are the Visible and IR satellite images so you can see for yourselves:

If she is going to intensify (and there is a chance of this because she is still interacting with the deep warm waters of the Gulf Stream), then she will intensify from a weaker intensity rather than the stronger intensity they have her at now. However, as I said, their job is to be cautious and given the population density ahead of this system, I am glad they are doing that.

If you are in the path of the storm, then remember two things:
1.Listen to your Emergency Managers – if they say evacuate, then please evacuate. Fascinating though my words may be, you can always read them later. ;-)
2.If for whatever reason you can’t evacuate (maybe too many people on the road or something), “Hide from the wind, run from the surge.” – those areas that might get storm surge should evacuate. Those who are on higher ground/inland – unless it’s a cat 4 or 5, you can hide (and even in those two cases you can hide, but personally, I would run away if that’s what was heading towards me). It’ll be rough, but it’s possible.

She is at 30N, 77.3W, currently heading N at 14mph, with a NNE turn expected later today. Today I will be watching to make sure she carries on this track and doesn’t slow down or move towards the NNW.

For those of you north of North Carolina, her intensity will depend on how much she interacts with land before getting to you. In your favour, you don’t have a Gulf Stream. If she is going to intensity, she will do that south of the North Carolina region because the Gulf Stream heads out into the Atlantic from Cape Hatteras. Of course, if she stays away from land (North Carolina region), then there’s a chance she won’t make landfall until she gets much farther north. Despite this, you should be getting ready for a cat 2 storm (although I expect it will be a cat 1 at the most), and of course the closer you are to NC, the greater the intensity.

Surf is good on the Atlantic Coast of Florida I hear!

Tropical Depression 10:
Ok, on this one I completely disagree with the NHC. Officially they have it moving WNW at 9mph, located at 14.5N, 33.7W. I have it at around 13-14N (not a very clear storm, hard to find the center), and stationary. It has not moved since last night. I wish I’d taken a snapshot of this little thing yesterday evening. I took one this morning, and will take one later for comparison. Winds are still officially 35mph, central pressure 1009mb. I understand they are distracted with Irene, but there are people in the Caribbean who are already watching this one.

Today is a super busy day, but I’ll try and pop back later.

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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