Irene heading north

>> Friday, August 26, 2011

Well by now everybody is aware of the situation across the east coast. Hurricane warnings are in effect for the entire coast of North Carolina. Irene has weakened a bit overnight back to a cat 2 but on the high end of that so there really isn't much difference in terms of the effect of the storm. Tropical storm force winds extend 290 miles out from the center of Irene. Here is the latest GFS model at 1 PM tomorrow.
We continue to see that tight gradient across the state. Winds will range from near 100 mph across the outer banks to a stiff breeze around 25 mph in the western areas. Rainfall will range from 6-10+ inches in the east to mainly dry conditions in the west. For the Triad and surrounding areas maybe a passing shower or storm but that will be about it. Things will be dry Sunday and stay that way for the next several days.

Hope everybody is prepared for the storm as we go through the next few days. Again unless you're in the eastern half of the state this will be a non issue for you. Nice weather for the weekend, hope you enjoy it!!!

Thanks for having me fill in this week. Matt should be back in camp over the next couple of days.


Irene Track Update

>> Thursday, August 25, 2011

The actual forecast track from the NHC has been shifted just slight to the west. It does look more likely now that we will see our first US landfall of a hurricane since 2008 in North Carolina. However overall the situation remains the same as mentioned early. Here is the latest track from the NHC.

You can see a hurricane watch in effect for most of the NC coastline. Again as I've been saying the western half of the state will be relatively unphased by this storm. However it will be destructive for the eastern half. The models have really come in line with the current track, and this will be a major issue for much of the east coast.


Thursday Irene: eastern NC will get hit

Time to get ready for a significant impact to the eastern part of the state as we go through the next few days. Irene continues to be a very large category 3 with hurricane winds extending up to 70 miles away from the center and tropical storm force winds 255 miles out from the center. This will probably be a category 4 storm at some point today before weakening a bit as it gets farther to the north. Here is the latest run of forecast models.

The eastward shift that we saw for several days earlier in the week has pretty much come to an end. The models have been fairly consistent over the past few runs which means I am fairly confident we can start to talk about the forecast path at this point. You can see they are still skirting the outer banks, but I do think we will see at least a brief landfall over the barrier islands before this storm continues north into New England.

A hurricane watch is now in effect for the coast north of Surf City, NC to the NC/Virginia border. A tropical storm watch is in effect for north of Edisto Beach, SC to Surf City, NC. Again whether or not we see an actual landfall in the state, the conditions will be basically the same.

Let me put the new GFS model run on from this morning. . .

This is for around 6 PM Saturday evening. It shows a tremendous amount of wind and rain in the eastern part of the state and along the coast. Storm surge will be an issue with this sytem and especially coastal erosion. We will start to see deteriorating conditions through the day on Saturday. The storm is forecasted to be weaker at this point but could still do a lot of damage. Anybody with interests in the eastern half of the state needs to make plans now to protect property.

As usual I'll come back later this morning with the new hurricane center forecast of Irene.


Wednesday Midday Update

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New track out from the NHC. Very little shift to the east as they continue to not overplay a model shift. I'm thinking more and more the actual center of the storm will stay off shore of eastern NC. However the out banks and eastern parts of the state will probably still see hurricane conditions.

A landfall in parts of New England is possible . . . and tomorrow's model runs should really start to tell the whole story. Stay tuned for updates!


Irene: Cat 3 Now

Sorry for being a little later today with the post everybody. As mentioned Irene is now a major hurricane with winds sustained at 115 mph making it a category 3 storm. This is going to be a major player in Carolina weather over the next few days. As I've been saying, we may not actually see a landfall with this system in NC. I feel the actual center of the storm may stay just off shore. However this sytem is going to be so close there probably wouldn't be much difference, except in the amount of area affected.
There is the latest GFS for Saturday afternoon. You can see it puts the center of the storm just off shore from the outer banks. This is going to be a major problem for the eastern part of the state. Potential wind damage, heavy rain, and of course coastal erosion will be a big issue. If there is one positive it would be that with the center offshore, the biggest tornado threat will stay east of land as well. However what's interesting is you can see the heaviest rain forecast on the west side of the center, which is opposite of what we normally see with tropical systems where the east side is the strongest.

Now in terms of weather in the Triad . . . you're probably not going to see a whole lot should this model pan out. Windy conditions will be the main issue. Perhaps some wind gusts strong enough to cause minor damage, but that's probably about it. It's possible rain could spread far enough west with some of the outer bands, but on the outskirts of tropical systems you get a lot of subsidence, or sinking air. This would mean hot and dry conditions just outside the rain bands.

As always I'll come back later this morning with an update on the latest hurricane center forecast.


Irene Update: Midday Tuesday

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Well as expected the National Hurricane center has shifted the forecast to the east. They are not going to move as quickly in respect to changes in model runs . . .but this is certainly a positive indication. Here is their latest forecast . . .

After checking the latest 12z morning model runs . . . I'm growing more optimistic that we could avoid a US landfall altogether with this storm. Again we still have several days to go, but this could end up being a storm that approaches the US but recurves into the Atlantic just in time. Of course more updates will follow over the next few days.

One item of note . . . the US has not seen a hurricane landfall since 2008 when Ike rolled into Texas. You have to figure that streak will end at some point soon . . . but hopefully not with Irene.


Irene: Tuesday Morning

Let's get right into the latest on Irene as we continue to see this storm intensify. Irene is now a category 2 hurricane and will likely become a major hurricane, cat 3 or higher, by tomorrow. Yesterday the issue was the forecast track shifting east and causing big time issues for parts of the Carolinas. That is still the case today but take a look at the latest tropical models from this morning . . .

Indeed while the majority of them continue this storm on an ominous track into central NC, the overall group has continued east. You now have a couple models missing the US completely, while a large number of the group bend the storm enough to be almost parallel with the coast. Again it's a little to early to say for certain, but I'm a lot more optimistic today than I was this time yesterday morning. Eventually you have to figure the eastward movement of the track would slow down . . . but if we can get another day or so with this kind of shift we may be able to keep this thing off the coast. That's the best case scenario that I see right now.

Here's another image for you to ponder. This is the morning run of the GFS . . .

If you remember yesterday it had the center of the storm pretty much right in the middle of NC. Now this has moved to where the actual center remains off shore. We'd still be looking at a bunch of wind, especially along the coast. There would also be major erosion issues for the Outer Banks, and some heavy rain for the eastern part of the state. But in terms of major damage from a direct hit . . . it doesn't appear that would be the case.

Now again . . . keep in mind this is the model trend at this point. Things could change. We're watching the timing of that east coast trough very carefully to see how it affects the path of Irene. This is one of those plan for the worst hope for the best scenarios at this moment. I'm going to hold off on posting the latest track from the NHC right now, but will be back around 11 or noon and we'll see if they are thinking like I am about maybe shifting it to the east.

Have a good one!


Irene Monday Update

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

Wanted to come on with a quick update here. As we talked about earlier the models have continued to shift to the east. This is the latest NHC forecast for Irene . . .

You can see that has shifted to the SC coast. I expect a gradual eastward shift to continue. The western part of NC may not see much from this except a lot of wind. However anyone with interests in the eastern half of the state and certainly along the coast need to prepare for a potential major hurricane by the weekend. We still have a few days to watch this and to see if it continues to move east . . . but make plans now in case the storm does come your way.


Irene: Monday 8/22

Hey everyone . . . back in for Matthew this morning while he takes a little vacation. Of course all eyes on Irene as we go through the next couple of days. It's still well to the south but we are going to continue to keep you updated on the latest forecast path of the storm. This could certainly be a big issue for part of if not all of North Carolina and the surrounding areas. Let's start out with a look at the NHC forecast from this morning.

You can see that the center of the forecast track brings the storm into the GA coast by Saturday morning. The important thing to remember here is the uncertainty this far in advance. You can see the large area outlined around the track, indicating the range of uncertainty around the storm. This area includes the eastern Gulf of Mexico on the west side, and up to the South Carolina coast on the east side. What it does mean is that a landfall somewhere in the southeast US is likely. Keep in mind we didn't have a US landfall of any storm last year so it has been a while since we've dealth with this type of weather here in the states.

Ok now I want to show you an image of the latest run of the tropical forecast models. . .

While you still have a couple of western outliers . . . the bulk of the models are in agreement with bringing the storm east of Florida and then heading pretty much due north after that. I will say that these have been continuing to shift east over the past few days . . . and that trend may continue. What does that mean? If the eastward trend continues then a North Carolina landfall is not completely out of the question. And as we know the longer this is over water the more time is has to gain strength so this could become a serious issue. Again it's not time to sound the alarm just yet, but definitely something you need to watch the next couple of days and have plans in place should this storm come your way.

I'm going to show you one more image here . . .the GFS model from this morning . . .

That is pretty nasty looking. What's interesting is the sharp gradient of activity in the western part of the state. If this panned out we may not see a lot of rain just a lot of wind. But this is bringing huge rain totals in central and eastern NC as well as SC . . . a lot of wind, and a large part of the state in the favorable area for tornado development. Again hopefully the track will continue to move east . . . but this is something to be concerned about at the moment.

Ok . . . so that's the way things stand with Irene right now. I'll continue to update you on the situation through the week. If you have any questions I'll try to answer those as well. Hope you have a great Monday!



>> Sunday, August 21, 2011

Below is a quick video about Irene and the system's future. As I am typing, the 11pm advisory has Irene with max sus. winds of 70mph, just shy of hurricane intensity. Irene is looking increasingly healthy, and I think there is a good chance it becomes the first hurricane of the season soon.

The biggest forecast problem regarding the future intensity of Irene depends on land interaction. The overall environmental and oceanic conditions will be favorable for strengthening most of this week.

Hispaniola is the biggest road block for Irene. If the system just skirts the coast, or misses Hispaniola altogether to the north, then the system could continue to strengthen. However, if is plows directly into Hispaniola and the high mountains there, it would very significantly weaken.

See the video for more...but the track of Irene all depends on how soon the system slowly bends to the north in response to a weakness between two ridges. Timing that out precisely is virtually impossible, and when you combine that with the fact that Irene will begin to run essentially parallel to the US coast, an exact landfall forecast at this point is fruitless.

I am out of the weather office this week. However, I have lined up some excellent folks to keep this site updated with great information while I am away. Keep checking back for more information this week. And of course, remember tropical updates around the clock on News 14 Carolina at :21 and :51 past the hour. And if Irene winds up threatening the Carolina coast, we will have extensive coverage for you like no other station can provide.


Irene Radar - Puerto Rico

Courtesy: Weather Underground


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