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Hurricane Irene Video

I finally got around to going through all of my Hurricane Irene footage and I put six minutes of it together in a nice summary video:

The video’s description:

Chronological video clips of Hurricane Irene from 26-27 August 2011.

Locations filmed in order (all in NC): Rt. 70, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, Rt. 70 (again), Rt. 17, Rt. 64 and Columbia.

Video start time is approx. 5:30pm on the 26th and runs through about 1:30pm on the 27th. Tornado damage at the end of the video was along Rt. 64 just 1-2 miles east of the center of Columbia.

I chased with Jason Foster. This was my 1st hurricane chase, and it was Jason’s 8th.

TS Maria & Nate named today; seem to be minimal threat to US

While it is still too early to know where Tropical Storm Maria and Tropical Storm Nate will be heading for sure, initial forecasts keep both systems away from U.S. soil. Both became named storms today (Maria at 11am EDT, Nate at 5pm EDT), and both will be fairly interesting to track in the coming days.

TS Maria is expected to stay on the weaker side as it tracks from the central Atlantic up through the Bahamas. The latest model guidance indicates that Maria should recurve before it can make a U.S. landfall. The upper-level pattern does not favor a U.S. landfall at this time.

TS Nate, currently in the Bay of Campeche, is forecast to drift northward into the western Gulf of Mexico before it turns westward and makes a landfall in northern Mexico. Despite growing model consensus on this solution, Nate will be highly sensitive to subtle changes in the steering winds, which means a U.S. landfall is not out of the question (though it seems unlikely at this point).

Hurricane Irene – Tracking and Chase Potential

Now that we’re getting within a reasonable amount of forecast accuracy, I figured it’s time to make a post about Irene and my chasing prospects.

The models have been consistently trending east with Irene for the past couple of days, but the most recent runs have inched back west as the synoptic setup out west is getting worked out (which will be the kicker that causes Irene to recurve). Observational model biases indicate that the kicker trough will verify more slowly than what is currently modeled, which would allow Irene to work further west. Right now it’s progged to go through (or just east of) the Outer Banks of North Carolina before making landfall on Long Island and the Northeast. Any more of a westward push would send Irene into the Morehead City, NC area or the Delmarva Peninsula, which will be the two areas that Jason (The Weather Warrior) and I will be targeting. Obviously it will have to come down to a decision of choosing just one of these locations, as timing and road closures would make it very difficult, if not impossible to reposition from one area to the other in time.

The decision to go will have to be made tomorrow, as departure time will likely be early Friday. I have discussed the possibility of Irene coming back west, but there is still a good possibility that it could go further east and miss the Mid-Atlantic or even the Northeast, so the next 24 hours of development will be extremely important in zeroing-in on Irene’s track. Right now I’m slightly above 50% GO for chasing.

As it stands, Irene is a Category 3 Hurricane and is expected to intensify a bit more while in/near the Bahamas, with gradual weakening as it nears the East Coast.

Models showing tropical threat to the Southeast late next week

Now that even the Euro Op. is on board with developing a tropical system tracking towards the Southeast coastline, I decided that it’s time to do a write-up about it.

The American models have been fairly consistent with bringing a tropical system into the Southeast, having shown the tropical system for over a dozen consecutive runs. More and more of the European ensemble members, along with the operational, are starting to pick up on it as well. The spread for landfall has been anywhere from Alabama to the Carolinas, but the general timing and region has been fairly consistent. The European models have been more reluctant to develop this system, but the latest run does show better development just off the East Coast. Despite model agreement, this will have to be watched with great scrutiny as it is still a ways out and could change drastically at any time.

The key thing to take away from the models at this range is that the overall pattern is becoming more favorable for a U.S. landfall, regardless of if/when a tropical system develops. The NHC has just labeled this potential system as an invest, so we will have more eyes and models tracking it very soon.

Hurricane Otto: Past, present and future

Hurricane Otto continues to churn in the Atlantic despite his humble beginnings as a subtropical depression when he formed just north of Puerto Rico two days ago. Otto is currently moving northeast as it picks up steam and jets towards Europe. The Azores may be at risk for hurricane force winds from Otto, but the current forecast is north of the islands, so the Azores should be able to avoid the worst of it.

So Otto will just be another storm that’s rather unexciting for the U.S., taking name #15 as we look towards the Caribbean for a possible Paula in the near future. The season’s rapidly winding down for us, and it looks like we’ll have to wait for next year to try get an East Coast landfalling system.

T.D. Sixteen forms south of Cuba, takes aim at the East Coast

This post might have to be updated if the NHC decides to upgrade Tropical Depression Sixteen to Tropical Storm Nicole later today.

Massive rains are in store for the East Coast tomorrow through Friday as T.D. 16 organizes just south of Cuba and heads towards the U.S. This storm is likely to be sub-tropical when it impacts areas from the Carolinas northward as it interacts with a stationary front just off the East Coast, but it could still pack tropical storm force winds as it progresses up the East Coast. One thing to expect with this system is heavy rain, on the order or 2-5+ inches, to cut a path up the interior East Coast along the eastern slopes of the Appalachians. Impressive wind shear associated with the right-front quadrant of this system will bring the risk of strong to severe winds and isolated tornadoes to the East Coast, but limited thermal instability caused by cold air damming will limit the severe potential with this system.

The significant rain totals will be mostly the result of large-scale forcing along a preexisting boundary when the tropical/sub-tropical system interacts with the stationary front within an atmosphere primed with moisture as P-WAT values are forecast to be in the 2-2.5″ range. Widespread flooding will be a big concern with this event, as the short-term drought conditions will cause the soil to struggle to absorb the rainfall. The past few day’s rain will help alleviate this effect, but not to a great extent.

I will be missing most of this event, as I have travel plans which has me driving north Thursday morning. *UPDATE: It looks like it will progress a bit faster than I anticipated… I’ll be driving through it almost the entire way.* Hopefully Jason will be able to cover the event and keep you all informed. Stay safe, and be sure to go over your flood preparedness and stay tuned!

(click to enlarge)