Saturday, August 20, 2011

Irene Has Formed

Tropical Storm Irene formed Saturday evening east of the Windward and Leeward Islands. A hurricane hunter aircraft investigated the tropical system, and found a closed circulation with winds of 50 mph.

The forecast track includes Irene becoming a hurricane by Monday afternoon. However, Irene will pass over some land -- Haiti, the Dominican Republic & Cuba -- which will weaken her.

Irene should emerge north of Cuba late Wednesday, and could hit southern Florida by late Thursday. As of now, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Irene will be a tropical storm when it makes landfall.

Intensity forecasts, especially 3-7 days out, and including movement over land, are extremely difficult. Updated forecasts will modify and zero in on the track & intensity over the next few days.

Here is a link to the National Hurricane Center's current advisory & forecast track for Irene.

Below is a plot of the various computer models showing potential paths of Irene between now and the weekend. The National Hurricane Center bases much of its forecast on the consensus of these models.