Aug 21, 2011

DAY 81

Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall in Belize this afternoon as a weak tropical storm. So the Atlantic Basin is now officially 0 for 8 this season, breaking its own record that it set last week when the 7th storm fizzled before reaching hurricane strength.

(Tropical Storm Harvey)

Tropical Storm Irene was classified this afternoon as it moved into the Windward Islands. She is listed as a 50 mph storm with a pressure of just 1005 mb. It is taking shape as it sheds away the dry air that has been plaguing it over the last few days.

(Tropical Storm Irene Water Vapor)

Irene is forecast to become a hurricane tomorrow night or Monday morning before it makes landfall in the Dominican Republic. But for now, tropical storm warnings are in effect for the northern half of the Lesser Antilles from Dominica all the way to the Virgin Islands and also for Puerto Rico. The forecast track that NHC has laid out is the same course that the forecast models have been predicting over the past 3 days. If this course verifies, Irene will remain a weak system due to land interference. It will be a surprise if she even makes it to Cat 2 status. Oh and yes it is still possible that Irene fizzles out just like all the other storms have done this year.

With support from the computer models, NHC is finally forecasting our first hurricane of the season. The HWRF model has Irene cutting across Hispaniola and making landfall Thursday near Vero Beach as a Cat 1. Much like Hurricane Frances from 2004.

The GFDL keeps Irene with a more southern track, underneath Cuba, through Jamaica and into the Gulf of Mexico. This is the track that should be most concerning to those on the Gulf Coast, as this would give Irene the best chance at strengthening beyond a Cat 1.

The GFS, which has actually been out-performing the tropical cyclone models, has a track that is closer to the HWRF. It is taking Irene into south Florida near Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday.
Just looking at satellite imagery tonight leads me to believe a more northern track is likely because the thunderstorm activity has been moving quickly on a WNW track. If she doesn't level out soon on a more westward course, she could be headed to North Florida or even more north to Georgia or the Carolina's.

(TS Irene Rainbow Infrared)

Invest 98L is still out there just west of the Cape Verde Islands tonight. It is struggling quite a bit with the dry air out there and the Hurricane Center is only giving it a 10% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.

(Invest 98L)

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