Summary of 11:00 AM EDT
Location: 22.4N 73.9W
Distance: 100 miles SE of Long Island Bahamas
Maximum Sustained Winds: 115 mph
Movement: NW at 12 mph
Minimum Central Pressure: 956 mb
Hurricane Warning: The Southeastern, Central, and Northwestern Bahamas
Hurricane Watch: None
Tropical Storm Warning: The Turks and Caicos Islands
Tropical Storm Watch: None
The much anticipated turn has occurred according to the National Hurricane Center in this advisory. As 8:00 AM EDT, Irene was upgraded to category three status. She has continued to strengthen this morning with the eye becoming more distinct. There has been constant monitoring with Irene by not only NOAA, but the Air Force. Multiple planes are currently flying inside of her as we speak. Irene’s structure also has become well established.
Ahead of her are very warm waters which will help her reach category four status within the next 36 hours. After this, an eye wall replacement cycle might take during the next 48 hours. That means that her current eye wall will be replaced with a new one. This is a common occurrence with powerful hurricanes. The eye wall replacement, along with southwesterly shear and colder waters, will induce a slight weakening trend within the next 96 hours. Don’t let your guard down with that last statement. Hurricane Irene is still forecasted to be a large and powerful hurricane.
Where is she going? The answer is a bit clearer this morning then yesterday. The models are in good agreement within the first 2-3 days of the forecast. After day 3, they diverge a bit. Some models say that Irene will turn to the NNE after the initial northwest and then northerly turn; keeping the core of Irene off shore. Others say that she will turn to the north; affecting the mid-Atlantic states. The NHC says that both of these scenarios are viable at this moment.
What does all of this mean for the mid-Atlantic states? There are multiple scenarios if you follow the models. A consensus of all the models is the forecast the NHC has put together. If the NHC forecast holds up to be accurate, the outer banks of North Carolina will feel the full force of Irene by Saturday morning/early afternoon.
Any state north of North Carolina along the southeastern U.S. coast should pay very close attention to the path of Irene once she approaches North Carolina. Hurricane force conditions are expected in Cape Cod by Sunday evening and tropical storm conditions are expected in the U.S. cities of Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Providence, and Boston.
Any wobble to the west could easily put her eye through your state. If you live in the outer banks of North Carolina, please heed the warnings and evacuate. Anyone further north, pay close attention to the instructions your local government will give you.
Stay tuned for more information………………………..
Elsewhere in the Tropics:
The National Hurricane Center has tagged a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic as Invest 90L. This tropical wave has a 50% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours. No need to worry about this at the moment. It is almost 2 weeks away.
DISCLAIMER: I am neither a meteorologist nor a professional; just a weather enthusiast. For the experts please go to: www.nhc.noaa.gov.