Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's Model-Watching Time for Irene

Anyone with an interest in meteorology is watching models today -- computer models.

The future track and strength of what is now Tropical Storm Irene is of intense interest across the Southeast, as forecasters and weather geeks try to determine if Irene eventually will threaten the U.S. mainland -- and how much of a threat it will be.

For the most part, the models agree on the track.

They carry the storm near Puerto Rico, across the Dominican Republic, and then brushing (or missing) eastern Cuba, before heading toward the Bahamas and Florida. Most of the models predict Irene will move into southeast Florida or along the east coast of the Sunshine State.

And after that? Will the storm curve back out to sea, or will it keep moving northward, on a collision course with coastal South Carolina?

The short answer is that nobody knows.

A trough will be setting up across the eastern United States by late in the week, when Irene approaches. How deep (how far south) will the trough extend? And will it get here before Irene does? It's too early to tell.

And it's definitely too early to tell about Irene's strength.

If the storm brushes the Dominican Republic and misses Cuba, it could be a major hurricane when it approaches the United States. But a direct assault on the Dominican Republic's 6,000-foot mountains could seriously weaken Irene, which is expected to be a hurricane when it reaches the island of Hispaniola.

We do know this is the first threat of the year for the Caribbean and the United States, but it will be early or mid week before we have a better idea on Irene's strength and course.


Anonymous said...

I guess it's asking too much for at least one freakin' hurricane to weaken and then make its way up here and wash away this disgusting air mass.

Anonymous said...

We all hope the storm will hit here with some much needed rain.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. A good area wide rain is what we need. This hit or miss stuff just isn't working for my lawn. Come on Irene, just don't get too strong!

freddy said...

It's been raining so much I have a lawn full of mushrooms that I can't eat. Come on Irene, miss!