Summary of 11:00 AM EDT
Location: 19.2N 67.5W
Distance: 70 miles NE of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Maximum Sustained Winds: 80 mph
Movement: WNW at 13 mph
Minimum Central Pressure: 988 mb
Hurricane Warning: North coast of the Dominican Republic from Haiti border eastward to Cabo Engano, Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
Hurricane Watch: North coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicolas eastward to the Dominican Republic border, Central Bahamas
Tropical Storm Warning: Puerto Rico: Vieques and Culebra, south coast of Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the Haiti border, All of Haiti
Tropical Storm Watch: None
Irene made landfall over Puerto Rico early this morning and is now in open waters. She continues to become better organized as seen on radar and satellite images.
The official track from the National Hurricane Center now has Irene traveling along the coast of Hispañola and not making landfall. This is important because the land mass of Hispañola would have really disrupted Irene. It is still possible that Irene could wobble onto land, but that is not expected. This is the reason why, along with very favorable atmospheric conditions, the NHC now forecasts Irene to reach Category 3 status later in the forecast period.
Where is Irene going? Yes, the cone shifted away from Florida, but Irene is a growing storm. The models are in good agreement that a trough of low pressure will dip south and create a weakness in the high to allow Irene to turn more to the NW and N, away from Florida, but unfortunately around the vicinity of North Carolina. This is the thinking NOW. It could change tomorrow. There are two very reliable models that continue to depict a direct hit to South Florida in 96 hours.
Everyone from Key West to North Carolina, should keep a very close on the track of Irene for the next 3 days. The current track is not set in stone and is dependent on trough and high pressure interaction. If the trough is NOT as strong as the models believed, the high stays in place and Irene moves closer to Florida. If the trough does what the models are currently showing, the current track will hold up. The first scenario is still possible.
Another possible scenario is if Irene becomes a major hurricane, she could influence the environment around her. What do I mean? Assume the trough does create a weakness in the high. If Irene is in the right spot, she could fill in the weakness in the high herself on her own; therefore, keeping the high in place and move towards Florida. This is not a solution the National Hurricane Center has mentioned nor entertained. I just like to mention everything to you guys since your local weather person might not.
Stay tuned for more updates………………..i will try to issue another advisory later today.
Elsewhere in the Tropics:
Tropical formation is not expected during the next 48 hours.
DISCLAIMER: I am neither a meteorologist nor a professional; just a weather enthusiast. For the experts please go to: www.nhc.noaa.gov.