“Major” Hurricane Irene to 135 mph? MN: Heat builds today

It looks like Hurricane Irene is ready to go into “beast mode”

All indications point ot rapid intensification of Irene over the next 24 to 48 hours. Irene will likely become an even more powerful Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds within 24 hours.

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WSI loop of Irene Tuesday.

Here are the stats on Irene as of Tuesday morning:

BULLETIN

HURRICANE IRENE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 12A

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011

800 AM EDT TUE AUG 23 2011

…CORE OF IRENE HEADED TOWARD THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS AND THE

SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS…

SUMMARY OF 800 AM EDT…1200 UTC…INFORMATION

———————————————-

LOCATION…20.6N 70.6W

ABOUT 70 MI…110 KM SSE OF GRAND TURK ISLAND

ABOUT 55 MI…90 KM N OF PUERTO PLATA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…100 MPH…160 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 10 MPH…17 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…978 MB…28.88 INCHES

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Irene builds near Grand Turk Island Tuesday. (Image courtesy Accuweather)

Next 24 to 48 hours:

Irene is expected be in a favorable environment for rapid intensification over the next 2 days.

1) Irene is headed over mostly open water.

2) Surface waters are very warm (85 degrees+) along Irene’s projected path.

3) Irene is expected to encounter very little or no wind shear in the next 48 hours.

All of these factors will allow Irene to strengthen rapidly. Satellite images show Irene is currently compact and concentric, and is likely to grow into a larger than average hurricane according to NHC.

“HURRICANE IRENE DISCUSSION NUMBER 12

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011

500 AM EDT TUE AUG 23 2011

IRENE IS FORECAST TO REMAIN IN A RELATIVELY LOW VERTICAL WIND SHEAR

ENVIRONMENT AND OVER SSTS NEAR 30C. THAT COMBINATION…ALONG WITH

EXPANDING OUTFLOW IN ALL QUADRANTS…SHOULD ALLOW FOR IRENE TO

BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS ONCE THE CYCLONE

CLEARS THE EFFECTS OF HISPANIOLA…AND PROBABLY MAINTAIN MAJOR

HURRICANE STATUS THROUGHOUT THE REMAINDER OF THE 5-DAY FORECAST

PERIOD. THE INTENSITY FORECAST IS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY

AND CLOSELY FOLLOWS A BLEND OF THE HWRF AND GFDL MODEL INTENSITY

FORECASTS…AND CONVERSION OF THE SURFACE PRESSURES DEPICTED IN THE

GFS AND ECMWF MODELS.

IRENE IS FORECAST TO BECOME A LARGER THAN AVERAGE HURRICANE. IT IS

IMPORTANT TO REMIND USERS NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST

TRACK…ESPECIALLY AT DAYS 4 AND 5…SINCE THE MOST RECENT 5-YEAR

AVERAGE ERRORS AT THOSE FORECAST TIMES ARE 200 AND 250 MILES…

RESPECTIVELY.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 23/0900Z 20.3N 70.1W 85 KT 100 MPH

12H 23/1800Z 20.9N 71.5W 95 KT 110 MPH

24H 24/0600Z 21.7N 73.3W 105 KT 120 MPH

36H 24/1800Z 22.9N 74.9W 110 KT 125 MPH

48H 25/0600Z 24.3N 76.2W 110 KT 125 MPH

72H 26/0600Z 28.0N 78.0W 115 KT 135 MPH

96H 27/0600Z 31.5N 78.3W 105 KT 120 MPH

120H 28/0600Z 35.0N 78.0W 100 KT 115 MPH…INLAND”

Track Forecast:

The most probable landfall scenario (and the official NHC track) crashes a powerful 120 mph Category 3 hurricane into the North Carolina coast near Wilmington and Cape Fear late Saturday or Sunday.

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Official NHC track forecast.

Overall the suite of computer forecast models are in much tighter agreement today.

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There is still some divergence as we head to the weekend. A few of the models suggest a track that could shift Irene to pass east of the Outer Banks.

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Orcasystems track & intensity graphics

USA Impacts:

The sheer size of Irene may mean that Florida’s east coast still gets brushed with strong tropical force or even hurricane force gusts, heavy surf and dangerous rip tides.

After the potential devastating landfall in the Carolinas, the northeast will have to be on alert for Irene.

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Bottom Line: Irene is about to become a major and extremely dangerous hurricane.

Stay tuned for updates on track & intensity.

Minnesota: Stormy, hot Tuesday, Fresh front Wednesday

It was a mostly sleepless night at the weather lab and for many Minnesotans. When you’re a weather guy, it’s hard to sleep through thunder & lightning. Yes, I find myself glued to the radar screen at 3am sometimes. Today was one of those mornings.

A strong MCS raced southeast along I-94 from North Dakota overnight. The complex was in decay mode by the time it hit the metro around 5am.

The overnight storms were well forecast, and did leave a few severe weather reports in their wake.

MPX: 5 S Monticello [Wright Co, MN] law enforcement reports TSTM WND DMG at 05:15 AM CDT — trees down on power lines.power out.

MPX: Minnetonka [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 04:25 AM CDT — stoplight knocked over hen cr 5 and hen cr 60.

MPX: Bloomington [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 05:45 AM CDT — 2 inch branch down and damaged gutter.

MPX: Buffalo [Wright Co, MN] mesonet reports TSTM WND GST of M63 MPH at 04:59 AM CDT — buffalo airport awos 0959z.

The sun is peeking out at the weather lab this morning, and PM sun should help boost temps to near 90 in much of southern Minnesota this afternoon.

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The heat won’t last this time, a fresh cool front will spill drier Canadian air south Wednesday and Thursday.

Thursday’s Fair opener still looks grand. Look for plenty of sun and a high in the low 80s.

Does it get any better for corn dogs & root beer?

PH

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