Slight severe threat today - watches and warnings are possible.
70-74 F. dew points possible by afternoon.
Half as much water in the air Wednesday as dew points drop into the 50s.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TUESDAY NIGHT: Evening T-storms, some strong, then clearing late. Low: 70
135 mph winds: NHC's latest forecast for sustained winds in the eye-wall of Hurricane Irene before it comes ashore late this week (most likely landfall somewhere along the Carolinas coast). Map above courtesy of Ham Weather.
* Irene is moving slightly slower - it may still be just off the Carolina coast (packing 135 mph winds) by Day 5 (Saturday).
Landfall: Saturday? The exact timing (and intensity) is still very much up in the air, but "Irene" may slam into the coastal Carolinas as a major category 3 or 4 storm, fueled by unusually warm Gulf Stream water. GFS map above valid 1 pm Saturday.
A (Weakened) Hurricane For New York City? The GFS model, valid Monday morning at 7 am, shows Irene very close to New York City, and it may still be a minimal hurricane. The reason? Much of the storm's circulation will remain over warm Gulf Stream waters, preventing the storm from weakening rapidly. This could be a worst-case scenario: a single hurricane capable of impacting 75-100 million Americans from the Carolinas, up the heavily populated eastern seaboard into New England. If this forecast pans out (not even close to a certainty at this point) Irene may be America's next billion dollar disaster.
51 days above 100 at Oklahoma City as of Monday afternoon. The old record for the most days/row above 100 was 50, set in 1980 (courtesy of Mark Vogan).
135 MPH Winds? Hurricane Watches are already posted for the Bahamas - I expect a Hurricane Watch to be issued for the east coast of Florida later today, possibly coastal Georgia and the Carolinas by tonight or first thing Wednesday. Here's Monday night's 11 pm discussion from NHC, which is now predicting Hurricane Irene to become a major category 3 storm with sustained winds close to 135 mph Thursday evening before weakening slight and coming ashore sometime Saturday - most likely between Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington, North Carolina.
HURRICANE IRENE DISCUSSION NUMBER 11 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011 1100 PM AST MON AUG 22 2011 AFTER DEEPENING QUICKLY EARLIER THIS EVENING...THE INTENSITY OF IRENE APPEARS TO HAVE LEVELED OFF A BIT OVER THE PAST HOUR OR TWO. THE CENTRAL PRESSURE HAS DECREASED TO 980 MB ...AND MAXIMUM WINDS HAVE NOT INCREASED SINCE THE EARLIER MAXIMUM OF 106 KT AT 850 MB. THEREFORE...THE INTENSITY WILL REMAIN 85 KT FOR THIS ADVISORY. OVERALL THE STRUCTURE OF THE CYCLONE HAS CONTINUED TO IMPROVE... WITH A LARGE CDO FORMING NEAR AND NORTH OF THE CENTER AND THE AIRCRAFT REPORTING A CLOSED EYEWALL. SOUTHERLY SHEAR OF ABOUT 10 KT IS PRESENT OVER IRENE ACCORDING TO SATELLITE ANALYSIS FROM UW-CIMSS AND THE SHIPS MODEL...BUT OTHERWISE THE ENVIRONMENT APPEARS CONDUCIVE FOR CONTINUED STRENGTHENING. THE NHC INTENSITY FORECAST IS UNCHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS SPECIAL ADVISORY AND SHOWS IRENE BECOMING A MAJOR HURRICANE WITHIN 24 HOURS AND REACHING A PEAK OF 115 KT IN 72 HOURS...FOLLOWED BY SLOW WEAKENING LATE IN THE PERIOD. THE NHC FORECAST IS HIGHER THAN MOST OF THE GUIDANCE THROUGH 48 HOURS AND IS CLOSE TO A BLEND OF THE GFDL AND HWRF MODELS AFTER THAT TIME. AIRCRAFT FIXES INDICATE THAT THE CENTER WAS LOCATED A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE PREVIOUS TRACK AND THAT THE FORWARD MOTION HAS SLOWED A BIT...WITH AN INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE OF 295/10. OVERALL THE TRACK FORECAST SCENARIO HAS NOT CHANGED...AS IRENE WILL CONTINUE MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD FOR THE NEXT DAY OR SO ON THE SOUTHWEST PERIPHERY OF A WEAKENING MID-LEVEL RIDGE. A MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH LOCATED EAST OF NORTH AMERICA WILL LIFT OUT WITHIN 24 HOURS...LEAVING A PRONOUNCED WEAKNESS IN THE RIDGE OVER THE BAHAMAS. THIS SHOULD ALLOW IRENE TO GRADUALLY TURN NORTHWESTWARD AND NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD BY DAYS 2 AND 3. AFTER THAT TIME...THE TRACK OF IRENE APPEARS TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE TIMING AND AMPLITUDE OF SEVERAL SHORTWAVE TROUGHS MOVING EASTWARD ACROSS THE UNITED STATES/CANADIAN BORDER. THE MODELS ARE SHOWING SOME RUN-TO-RUN VARIABILITY IN HOW MUCH THESE SHORTWAVES WILL AMPLIFY AND DEEPEN THE MEAN TROUGH OVER THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES...WHICH WILL BE CRITICAL TO HOW SOON IRENE TURNS NORTHWARD OR EVEN EAST OF DUE NORTH AT DAYS 4 AND 5. OVERALL...THE SPREAD OF THE GUIDANCE SUITE HAS DECREASED THIS CYCLE...AND THE COMBINATION OF THE SLIGHT RIGHTWARD ADJUSTMENT OF THE INITIAL POSITION AND A SLIGHT WESTWARD SHIFT IN THE MODEL CONSENSUS RESULTS IN ONLY MINOR ADJUSTMENTS TO THE NEW NHC TRACK FORECAST. THE BIGGEST CHANGE IS A SLOWER FORWARD SPEED AT THE END OF THE PERIOD FOLLOWING THE BULK OF THE GUIDANCE THAT KEEPS THE CYCLONE OFFSHORE AT DAY 5. 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. OF NOTE...SYNOPTIC SURVEILLANCE FLIGHTS FROM THE NOAA G-IV AND AN AIR FORCE RESERVE C-130 AIRCRAFT PROVIDED NUMEROUS DROPSONDES FOR ASSIMILATION INTO THE 0000 UTC MODEL CYCLE. THIS SHOULD IMPROVE THE ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND AND UPSTREAM OF IRENE. FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS INIT 23/0300Z 19.9N 69.2W 85 KT 100 MPH 12H 23/1200Z 20.4N 70.6W 95 KT 110 MPH 24H 24/0000Z 21.1N 72.4W 105 KT 120 MPH 36H 24/1200Z 22.2N 74.2W 110 KT 125 MPH 48H 25/0000Z 23.5N 75.6W 110 KT 125 MPH 72H 26/0000Z 26.5N 78.0W 115 KT 135 MPH 96H 27/0000Z 30.0N 79.0W 105 KT 120 MPH 120H 28/0000Z 33.5N 78.5W 100 KT 115 MPH
Hurricane Irene. As of late Tuesday night Irene had strengthened into a category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of 100 mph, the core of the storm staying over water, passing just north of Hispaniola. Enhanced IR satellite loop courtesy of WSI's intellicast.com.
Hurricane Irene: Projected Track. There is fairly good agreement among the dozens of weather models out thru 72 hours - a direct strike is most likely along the Carolina coast, but eastern Florida is hardly out of the woods just yet. Models do a better job with the track than with intensity. According to NHC the accuracy for predicting landfall 4 days away is plus or minus 200 miles.
Landfall: More Likely Scenario. Althought the projected path has shifted slightly left (west) landfall is most likely along the Carolina coast, possibly Charleston or Myrtle Beach, possibly Hilton Head, with landfall now pushed back until sometime Saturday. The model above shows sustained winds close to 109 mph before landfall Saturday afternoon at 2 pm. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.
Landfall: Less Likely Scenario. The GFDL track has been consistently farther west (and more intense). The model is predicting 150 mph winds near Miami by 2 am Friday morning. As unlikely as this scenario is - we can't rule it out altogether. Why?
1). Unusually warm Gulf Stream water: temperatures ranging from 85-88. The warmer the water, the greater the potential for rapid intensification.
2). Little or no wind shear: A ridge of high pressure above the Bahamas should ensure favorable conditions for rapid strengthening - any winds aloft can shred a hurricane's circulation and prevent it from becoming a major storm.
Hurricane Irene Puts Puerto Rick Into State Of Emergency. More details from CBC News in Canada: "Hurricane Irene cut power to more than a million people in Puerto Rico, downing trees and flooding streets, before heading out over warm ocean water Monday on a path that could take it to the U.S. mainland by the end of the week. There were no reports of deaths or major injuries, but Gov. Luis Fortuno declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay indoors to avoid downed power lines, flooded streets and other hazards. "This isn't the time to go out to find out what happened ... This is the time stay in your homes," Fortuno said at a news conference. Schools and many businesses in the U.S. island territory are closed as crews began assessing the damage. The governor said people should avoid going out because of the danger posed by fallen live power lines and other hazards. He says he doesn't yet know when power will be restored." (satellite image courtesy of NOAA).
Rainfall Amounts For Puerto Rico (courtesy of NOAA):
- (Sunday morning through Monday morning)
- 10.51” Naguabo
- 8.34” Luquillo
- 7.77” Las Piedras
- 7.41” Ceiba
- 5.78” Canovanas
More On Hurricane Irene. We use cutting-edge weather graphics from Baron Services in Huntsville (OMNI and Vipir). Here is a late Monday discussion about Irene from meteorologist Kevin Nugent at Baron Services - where he talks about the growing probability that Irene will grow into a major (category 3 plus) hurricane in the coming days.
Hurricane Irene To Slam Into The Carolinas. Here's an update from meteorologist Alex Sosnowski at AccuWeather: "It appears Irene will take a more typical path into the Carolinas, perhaps as a major hurricane, by the first part of the weekend rather than plow into Florida as a minimal system late this week. Given the setup in the atmosphere as well as where hurricanes have traveled from similar starting points, negotiating the Antilles, Irene may take a path similar to Hurricane Bertha in 1996. People in the eastern part of the Carolinas, especially the coastal areas and barrier islands should begin making preparations for a possible hurricane landfall that brings 100-mph winds or greater, storm surge flooding, torrential rainfall and possible tornadoes."
Hurricane Bob (1991) Hurricane Gloria (1985)
Comparing Irene With Similar Tracks. Wikipedia provides some perspective on what may happen with Hurricane Irene, on a potentially similar track with Bob (1991) and Gloria (1985):
*Hurricane Bob was one the costliest hurricanes in New England history (approximately $2.42 billion in 2011 USD).
*Coastal communities bore the brunt of the storm, with sustained winds between 83 to 107 mph.
*Peak wind gusts to 125 mph (201 km/h) were recorded on Cape Cod.
*Storm surge of 6 to 10 feet (Providence, RI was inundated).
*Rain totals: 3" - 7".
Quick notes for Gloria (Cat 4):
*East Coast damage: $1.84 billion in 2011 USD
*Long Island experienced sustained winds of 90 to 100 mph with gusts up to 115 mph.
*Gloria Left 683,000 people in New York without power.
Severe Hail Storm In The Poconos. Check out this (2 hour!) YouTube video of a wild hail storm that hit Tobyhana, in the Poconos of Pennsylvania: "The hail continued for almost 2 hours. Up to golf ball size at times. Hail covering the ground was up to 2 inches in spots. Occurred on August 19, 2011."
Sony To Release 3-D, HD, Digital Binoculars. Good news for gadget freaks everywhere, although the price tag is pretty steep on this Christmas stocking stuffer. More details from gizmag.com: "Over the years Sony has shown its ability as a genuine innovator in the digital imaging space - in the early days of Gizmag the (then) bleeding-edge, 5-megapixel Sony F707 digital camera was a treasured part of our kit - and its latest venture looks like it could be holding that line. That venture is the company's move into digital binoculars with two models - the DEV-5 and DEV-3 - which boast full HD video recording, 7.1 megapixel still capture, optical image stabilization, 3D recording, HDMI output and (on the more expensive DEV-5) geotagging via an in-built GPS receiver."
Do You Remember Print Stories Better Than Those You Read Online? The short answer seems to be yes. Now what was the question again? Mashable.com has more details: "If a new research report is correct, you’re better off printing this story out and reading it if you want to remember it. A study by three doctoral candidates at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication found that print news readers remember “significantly more” than those who read news stories online. Print readers also remember “significantly more” topics than online readers, the report found. Print readers and online readers recall headlines equally well. The three authors — Arthur Santana, Randall Livingstone and Yoon Cho — took a sample of 45 students. Of those, 25 read the paper edition of The New York Times and 20 read the newspaper exclusively online. The participants were asked to read each version of the paper for 20 minutes. Then they were quizzed on what they read."
Wondrous Monday. What a day - low humidity, brilliant sunshine, a pleasant breeze, with highs mostly in the 80s. Poor Grand Marais - a breeze off chilly Lake Superior kept the "high" to only 65. Elsewhere highs ranged from 79 at Duluth to 84 in St. Cloud, 85 in the Twin Cities and 87 at Redwood Falls.