Hurricane Irene Update (0600 UTC 8/24/2011)

Figure 1. IR satellite image of Hurricane Irene. Eye is visible.

Hurricane Irene has weakened slightly in the past 12-24 hours due to the mountains of Hispaniola.  Currently, Irene is already showing signs of strengthening, with a visible eye that can be seen on satellite (above).  Pressure is beginning to drop as it moves further away from Hispaniola, though the maximum winds have not shown the intensification yet.  Because of its weakening, Irene will most likely become a major hurricane (Category 3) in the next 24-36 hours, not tonight as previously thought.

Here is the very latest on Hurricane Irene as of 2:00 am EDT from the NHC:

LOCATION...21.3N 72.6W
ABOUT 400 MI...650 KM SE OF NASSAU
ABOUT 975 MI...1570 KM S OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...100 MPH...155 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...966 MB...28.53 INCHES

Computer forecast models are finally beginning to agree on a path that Irene will take in the next 3-5 days.  Florida will likely dodge this bullet, as well as the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.  There is a possibility that Irene could scrape the North Carolina coast, but forecast models have been shifting the storm’s center more and more east with later and later model runs. Here is the latest spaghetti plots that Irene might take:

Figure 2. Spaghetti models of the path of Irene.

Each line represents a different statistical model path that Irene might possibly take.  As you can see, most models have the center of the storm grazing the North Carolina coast and then striking somewhere in the northeastern United States.  All residents from the North Carolina to Nova Scotia, Canada need to monitor this storm very closely!

Though Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina may not get directly impacted from Irene, the storm will definitely cause some rough waves and strong rip currents at the coasts.

Figure 3. National Hurricane Center's 5-day path of Hurricane Irene. Irene will most likely become a major hurricane in the next 24-48 hours.

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About Brian

University of Oklahoma graduate with a degree in Meteorology. Follow me on Twitter: @WeatherInformer
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