Saturday, August 20, 2011

Here Comes Tropical Storm Irene

For several days, professional meteorologists and weather geeks have been watching an area of disturbed weather moving westward in the Atlantic Ocean.

The scary thing about this system is the way that most computer models have agreed on the future of the area of showers and storms -- which was given the designation a few days ago by the National Hurricane Center of "Invest 97L." That means it's an area of bad weather that the Hurricane Center has been watching.

The system is about to become designated a tropical depression, or even Tropical Storm Irene. But more about that later.

Why is this system important?

Most of the computer models have agreed that 97L (or Irene) will become a hurricane -- or major hurricane -- and make landfall next weekend somewhere in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or Southeast Coast. That means somewhere between New Orleans and the North Carolina coast. Florida has been the bulls eye for most computer model forecasts.

The National Hurricane Center sent a plane into the system late Saturday afternoon, and on its final pass, it appears as if meteorologists found a closed circulation.

The plane sent back, via radio, a Vortex Data Message (VDM), which means they found a closed storm system. And that means 97L will become designated a tropical depression or tropical storm this evening.

Once that happens, the National Hurricane Center will begin issuing forecasts on the storm's track.

It likely will have an impact on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands within the next 48 hours. After that, we shall see.

I'll update the blog later Saturday night, should the National Hurricane Center declare 97L a depression or tropical storm.


Snuffy said...

Anonymous said...

Looking over the maps, I see a mere possibility of Lee stalling and hurricane Katia gaining enough momentum to where if they both stay on the current tracks, they could collide or join over over NJ/NY.

What happens if a hurricane and tropical storm or depression collide or join together?