Aug 25, 2011

DAY 85

Hurricane Irene has become a large and powerful category 3 storm. She cut right through the central Bahamas today making a direct hit on several islands there. She has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and a minimum central pressure of 952 mb. Her forward speed has picked back up today to 12 mph and she continues to track northwest.

(Hurricane Irene from NASA's Terra Satellite)
The Hurricane Center is forecasting Irene to start making a bit more of a northward movement sometime tomorrow. The official NHC forecast track has not changed since last night. Irene will continue to plow through the Bahamas, and then she is forecast to scrape the Outer Banks and then right into New England. The intensity forecast has change however, Irene is not forecast to be a Cat 2 hurricane when it encounters the North Carolina area. Before that happens, she does still have a very good chance of growing into a Cat 4 hurricane after clearing the Bahamas.

The computer models haven't changed either. A curious thing is happening over the continental US however. There is yet another trough being spun down from Canada, and it is moving very quickly towards the southern states. You can see it in the water vapor loop below crossing through the Ohio Valley. You can see that there is going to be a battle between that trough and Irene. So far this has not caused the forecast models to alter course.

The outer rain bands will begin to move across the Florida peninsula tomorrow. One band can be seen on radar as it moves through the northern part of the Bahamas.  Out in front of that there is a line of very light showers, those are actually bands from Irene as well, they just don't have a lot of moisture in them. Most of the bands will be able to stretch across the state delivering brief periods of rain and wind over the next couple of days.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Invest 90L is looking like it my soon become a tropical cyclone. It is located just southwest of the Cape Verde islands tonight, and the NHC is giving it a 70% chance of developing in the next 48 hours. For now, it is not forecast to effect any land areas. Invest 98L is still alive but just barely. NHC is now giving it a near 0% chance of developing in the next 48 hours.

(Invest 90L)

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