Colleagues, Forecast remains unchanged now for several days. North Carolina and ALL the way up the east coast will experience 100 mph sustained winds, very significant Storm Surge and waves, dangerous rip tides. NC all day Saturday, and from NY north Sunday. FORECAST: HURRICANE IRENE is a Category 3 (a MAJOR HURRICANE) and at 25 deg N the latitude of South Florida. HURRICANE IRENE is still in the Bahamas with 115 mph msw moving NW at 10 mph. The turn (re-curvature) is right on schedule as predicted. IRENE will be leaving the Bahamas later today and spend the night night and early morning hours Friday traveling up the coast of Florida about 150 miles off shore. Winds will be of Tropical Storm (weak to moderate) strength along the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coast. However the surge may be significant and higher tides, significant rip tides and gusts and some rain. IRENE may strengthen some, but I do not believe it will honestly get up to Category 4 strength, but will get close to it.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina will get hit and IRENE will then work its way up the coast to MASS. North Carolina and all points north will receive hurricane force winds of about 100 mph, very significant storm surge, and all kinds of heavy rain and really bad weather! The worst will pass quickly as the storm is moving faster and faster and up to about 15 or 20 mph North and Northeast at this point. However, this is a big storm and the effects will extend singnifcantly 100 miles inland and somewhat improving bad weather will linger for at least 12 hours after the storm passes. All boating interests should take significant precautions. No time for stupid hero swims in the ocean unless you want to become crab food.
DISCUSSION: The ridge is weakening and IRENE is moving into the weakened portion. IRENE is in the gulf waters which will sustain and increase the intensity. Weak shear, and good upper level out-flow is ideal for maintenance and increasing intensity. Everything is going for this storm at this point. Shortwave trough (now over Great Lakes) and will push it to the NNE later this weekend. Eventually it will get caught up in a frontal system that is up-stream late weekend or early next week.
NEXT FORECAST: Friday morning
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Peter S. Ray
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