Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene: August 23, Update B

Strictly speaking, it’s August 24, but this was supposed to be written before midnight rolled around. Oopsie.

The NHC downgraded Hurricane Irene to a category 1 (range: 74-95mph) storm this evening, with winds of 90mph, and central pressure of 969mb. Since then I think she might have strengthened again a tad, because there’s a very clear eye in that mass of swirling clouds:

And that central pressure is rather low for a cat 1. I think she’s back at being a good cat 2 again. They had forecasted her to be a category 3 by this afternoon, but (in my humble opinion) because she lingered over/near Hispaniola for so long, it took its toll on her. She is now forecast to become a cat 3 (wind speed range: 111-130mph) overnight on wed/thurs as she reaches the northern edge of the Bahamas. This is a more reasonable forecast (again, in my humble opinion) because she will be closer to the Florida Current, which is part of the Loop Current-Gulf Stream system and runs along the east coast of <insert drumroll> Florida. The entire Loop Current (in the Gulf of Mexico) – Florida Current (in the Straits of Florida/east coast of Florida) – Gulf Stream (skirting the east coast of the US from Florida until Cape Hatteras in NC) is an area of deep warm waters, with the upper 75m (at least) being warmer than 26 deg C. Unless something happens in the atmosphere (like wind shear), there’s nowt to stop her from growing to a cat 3 as she approaches the northern end of the Bahamas.

She is currently at  around 21.3N, 72.4W and is still heading WNW at a slow(ish) 9mph (apparently no-one told her that slowing down was *so* yesterday! ;-)).

She is almost on top of the southern Bahamas/Turks and Caicos region and will, unfortunately, cause quite a bit of havoc there. There is some heavy convection over those southern islands at the moment.

Ok, tomorrow I am looking for her to move towards the NW and pick up speed. But just for something a bit different, here’s a cool photo of her taken from the International Space Station: (thanks to Trent in Florida for sending that).

Regarding the natural disaster-du-jour… to Rob in Georgia: why yes, I do forecast earthquakes but no-one has ever asked me… why do you ask? ;-) Ha, I wish! Hopefully the northeast US won’t be hit by an earthquake AND a hurricane in the same week! (although, hmm… do you think this tactic will work to increase funding for the environmental sciences?) Anyway, from a state that is used to such things, Ben in California reliably informs me that they should have no problems re-building from the damage this caused…J:

More from Hurricane Irene The First tomorrow and I might mention another Atlantic Blob (far out to the east still) if I have time.

Toodle pip!

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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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