Monday, August 22, 2011

Latest team reports on Hurricane Irene:

TROPICAL  Visit the Tropical Zone for latest computer model guidance and team forecasts across 7 states. Tweets from the Tropics: @fftropicalzone and #fftz.
SOUTHEAST  Our on-site forecast teams are reporting in facebook from South Florida, Central Florida, Southern Georgia, Cape Fear & The Carolina Coast. 
LONG RANGE  (NEW!) Forecaster Nic Robeson of High Point, NC and our Long Range Team with a look ahead at temperature and storm trends into next month.  

"So you're saying there's a chance?"
- Jim Carrey to Lauren Holly in Dumb and Dumber

4:35 PM EDT 8/22/2011 | Hurricane Irene means business plain and simple, and is likely to become the first landfalling major hurricane in the U.S. since Hurricane Ike in 2008. Three landfall scenarios and impact statements are posted in the Tropical Forecast page. For those who will be in ocean waters prior to the storm this week, we have an important message about Rip Current Safety.  We would like to report that despite uncertainty about the path and intensity of Irene, there is a chance the situation could get worse... and we don't mean the storm. We mean YOU, your choices and your family this weekend.

There is a chance that... someone will not listen to their parents, and go into ocean waters where Rip Current Warnings are posted. There is a chance someone will try to go boating in the storm for fun, and be added to Irene's statistics. There is a chance a family will decide the beach vacation is more important than just waiting this one out. We are concerned about the chance that some may look into a blue sky and say, "Hurricane Watch? Whatever.."  What are the chances that someone thinks, "It'll go out to sea, they always do" and drive to the shore low on gas? Is there a chance someone you know believes storm warnings are just for TV  ratings, saying "they never hit hear anyway" ? We hope it is more than just chance YOU will make the right choices this weekend...not for your wallet, ego or reputation, but for your family, livelihood and future. Simply put, a hurricane is not a game of chance. We hope you won't be taking any with this one.
- The Tropical Team of Foot's Forecast

"More than a feeling..."
- Boston in the 1976 debut single of the same title (Youtube music video)

1:15 PM EDT 8/22/2011 | The 11:00 AM NHC advisory confirms earlier discussions that probability remains high Irene makes landfall as a Category 3 major hurricane this weekend along the U.S. southeast coast. Areas of highest concern are the Carolinas, specifically from Charleston, SC up to and including the Outer Banks. Weak steering currents, a lack of atmospheric interference, low shear and tropical waters at or above 26 C for hundreds of miles, suggests all the ingredients are in place for Irene to become a large and powerful hurricane in the next several days. Our impact statements and landfall scenarios will be issued in the Tropical Forecasts page by 5:00 PM EDT this afternoon.

9:00 AM EDT 8/22/2011 | Latest NHC information on Hurricane Irene shows the storm has gained strength since 5 AM and is now at 80 mph. Our Tropical Team team believes Irene could still miss Florida and make a direct hit in the Carolinas. The team acknowledges this hurricane has the potential to reach a major hurricane status, especially if it misses Cuba all together and allows the storm to strengthen upwards to a possible Category 3 hurricane. 

6:00 AM EDT 8/22/2011 | Our Tropical Team spent 2 hours collaborating last night on the complexities and possibilities behind Hurricane Irene's next move, but reached an important conclusion: Landfall along the Southeast U.S. coast as a hurricane is now more than a feeling. Our team provides round-the-clock monitoring of the latest statements and observations from National Hurricane Center reconnaissance, and post our collaborative reports on facebook in The Tropical Zone and on the Tropical Forecasts section. You can also get the latest Tweets about the Tropics by following @fftropicalzone and #fftz. 

SITUATION Model guidance and observed trends in atmospheric data related to the location and path of Tropical Storm Irene suggest a U.S. landfall as a Category 2/3 hurricane is increasingly likely. Were Irene to reach the Georgia coast as currently projected, it would be the first time since the early 1900's the Peach Tree state has had a direct hit. An article in the Augusta Chronicle spells out why. 

COMPARISON Previous storm tracks we see for comparison to Irene  now include Hugo (1989), Hazel (1954) were the storm to make a curve toward the Carolinas and some similarities to the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. At this time it appears less likely that scenarios such as the 1933 Chesapeake Bay Hurricane or Isabel (2003) scenario would occur given Irene’s location and direction.

INTENSITY If interaction with Hispaniola is reduced or eliminated, Irene is likely to retain hurricane strength, and could pass just east of Florida as a Category 2 on Thursday. Remaining in  tropical waters of 26 C or warmer throughout the projected path, with reduced upper level shear and a weakness in the Atlantic ridge could allow Irene to reach major hurricane strength by Friday.    

TRACK Forecasted changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation and other climate teleconnections will interact with a weakness in the western Atlantic ridge by Thursday. A negatively trending NAO will exert "downward" pressure on the atmospheric balance of air masses in the western Atlantic. This may have the effect of keeping Irene closer to the coast and preventing a curve out to sea. If the NAO begins to rise slightly late week as expected, we may see model guidance pick up on this and as such the official NHC tracks will begin showing a curve to the Carolinas. 

Under this scenario, the coastal Mid-Atlantic would experience direct effects of the storm. The time frame would be Saturday into Sunday. If Irene were to curve toward the Carolinas by late week, we cannot rule out the unfortunately possibility that school schedules will be adversely affected, particularly those systems set to begin class on Monday, August 29.  Our team has prepared three scenarios for possible outcome of this storm and we will post in the Tropical Forecasts section of this site later this morning.


Julie Ray Smith said...

snow or Hurricane I come here to check first. But no comments? Guess we are all snow lovers and quiet in the summer ;/

ravensbbr said...

funny, I was thinking the same thing as a powderhound. maybe we'll all actually event driven and this will bring everyone back out of the woodwork.

so most models have this one making landfall somewhere SE CONUS, but the NOGAPS is calling for a coastal brushing (scouring) of SC, NC and VA and then up and out. Whatever way minimizes loss of life has my vote.

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