Colleagues, Florida will NOT be hit by a land-falling HURRICANE IRENE and neither will Georgia, or South Carolina. Wednesday was to be the day when it all became clear, but the forecast has not really changed. All will receive Tropical Storm gusts and some rain. FORECAST: HURRICANE IRENE is a Category 2 (soon to be a MAJOR HURRICANE and a Category 3 hurricane located in the Southern Bahamas, with msw of 110 mph moving WNW at 9 mph. It is now clear that IRENE WILL be about 150 miles EAST of Florida and pretty much roll over the Bahamas as a strong Category 3 hurricane. It will pass by Florida during the early hours of Thursday through late Friday. A landfall in North Carolina is likely late Saturday as a Major Hurricane. Florida will still experience some Tropical Storm winds, rain and high surf and rip tides along the east coast. Most of the peninsula of Florida will experience some Squall type conditions for several hours but not worse than that. It now looks like IRENE might make landfall near the Outer Banks of North Carolina or (what I think is more likely) by a small margin, just brush by them is slightly more possible as it basically travels up the east coast. It will be ONLY a technical distinction, as the weather will be virtually the same if it make s technical landfall or stays just off shore. North Carolina and all states north into New England will receive hurricane force winds, high tides and surf and rip tides. The winds in the Central Atlantic will be of Major Hurricane strength. Strong wilds will reach 100 miles inland.
DISCUSSION: The ridge is showing early signs of significant weakening. The impact of the trough will be felt the next 24 hours which will allow IRENE to pretty much move up over the the Bahamas. This will also be confirming to this forecast. The continued turning (how much North and Northeast) will depend on the effect of several anticipated short-wave troughs that are on their way later in the week. I believe there is a good chance that a North Carolina landfall or near landfall as a weakening Category 3 hurricane and possibly Category 2 hurricane is likely Late Saturday. HURRICANE IRENE will certainly bring Major Hurricane force winds to eastern North Carolina and points north. Sea craft and harbors should take appropriate precautions.
NEXT FORECAST: Wednesday morning
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Peter S. Ray
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