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08/22/2011

IT'S ALL ABOUT IRENE

THE WEATHER DISCUSSIONS ALL WEEK LONG AND INTO THE UPCOMING WEEKEND WILL BE HEAVILY WEIGHTED TOWARD TALKING ABOUT "IRENE" AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS FROM THIS HURRICANE ON THE EAST COAST OF THE U.S. HURRICANE IRENE WILL BE AFFECTING THE ISLANDS OF THE NORTHEAST CARIBBEAN IN THE SHORT TERM, AND THEN THE BAHAMAS ON WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY.

OUR WINDOW OF MOVEMENT FOR IRENE TAKES THE STORM EAST OF FLORIDA, WITH AN EVENTUAL LANDFALL ON THE CAROLINA COAST SOMETIME LATE SATURDAY OR SATURDAY EVENING. OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS, IRENE WILL BE MOVING OVER AN AREA WITH A FAVORABLE, LOW SHEAR ENVIRONMENT. PLUS, WATER TEMPS ARE QUITE WARM IN THAT REGION. SO, IT IS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT THIS STORM WILL RAMP UP TO AT LEAST A MAJOR CAT 3 HURRICANE. THERE IS EVEN A CHANCE THAT IRENE WILL BECOME A CAT 4 STORM.

WHILE OUR WINDOW OF MOVEMENT STILL DOES INCLUDE PORTIONS OF FLORIDA, IT IS SKEWED MORE HEAVILY TO THE RIGHT OF OUR TRACK. THAT INDICATES A GREATER PROBABILITY THAT IF THERE IS SOME ADJUSTMENT OF THIS TRACK, IT WILL END UP BEING FARTHER EAST THANFARTHER WEST. THIS FAR OUT, WE DO HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO MAKE ANY MAJOR CHANGES AND JUST FLIP AND FLOP WITH EACH RUN OF THE MODELS. THAT BEING SAID, WE ARE NOW THINKING THAT A LANDFALL SOMEWHERE ALONG THE NC COAST IS SOMEWHAT MORE LIKELY THAN THE SC COAST. IN FACT, THIS STORM COULD END UP HEADING TOWARD THE OUTER BANKS OF NC. SOMETHING TO NOTE ON THE STRUCTURE OF IRENE...ON ITS PATH THROUGH THE BAHAMAS, EAST OF FLORIDA, AND TO THE SOUTHEAST COAST, IT WILL BE CROSSING A FAIRLY UNIFORM TROPICAL AIR MASS. SO, THE PRECIP ON ITS WESTERN FLANK WILL PROBABLY DROP OFF PRETTY QUICKLY. HOWEVER, AS IRENE TRACKS FARTHER NORTHWARD AND EVENTUALLY ENCOUNTERS THE STALLED OUT FRONTAL BOUNDARY SOMEWHERE ALONG OR JUST OFF THE EAST COAST, THEN THINGS WILL CHANGE. WE ARE LIKELY TO SEE OVERRUNNING RAIN BREAKING OUT IN THE COOLER AIR WEST OF THE FRONT WELL AHEAD OF THE STORM ITSELF. THAT WET WEATHER WILL BE ABLE TO EXTEND FARTHER WEST OF THE STORM THAT IT WILL BE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN STATES. OF COURSE, THE EXACT TRACK OF THIS HURRICANE WILL DETERMINE WHERE THE BAND OF HEAVIEST RAIN SETS UP LATER THIS WEEKEND. NEEDLESS TO SAY, THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY RAIN ONCE AGAIN. WITH ALL OF THE EXTREMELY WET WEATHER WE HAVE HAD RECENTLY WITH RECORDS FALLING BY THE WAYSIDE, THERE IS A REAL THREAT FOR SERIOUS FLOODING...IF THINGS PAN OUT IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. ALSO, KEEP IN MIND THAT WITH THE GROUND AS WET AS IT IS, IT WON'T TAKE TOO MUCH WIND TO BLOW DOWN TREES. FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE LOTS OF TIME TO FINE TUNE OUR FORECAST AS WE APPROACH THE WEEKEND. IN THE MEANTIME, A NICE, REFRESHING NIGHT IS COMING UP WITH TEMPS DROPPING TO THEIR LOWEST LEVEL IN OVER TWO MONTHS. THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS LOOK QUIET, THEN OUR NEXT SHOT AT A SHOWER OR T-STORM WILL COME THURSDAY AFTERNOON OR EVENING AS A COOL FRONT APPROACHES FROM THE NORTHWEST. THAT FRONTAL SYSTEM MAY BE SLOWED DOWN SOMEWHAT WITH IRENE IN THE PLAYING FIELD. THAT IS SOMETHING WE WILL LOOK AT MORE CAREFULLY IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

Posted by Lee Goldberg on August 22, 2011 | Permalink

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