Saturday, August 20, 2011

Do We Have Irene Yet?

An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is just finishing up a recon mission through "Invest 97" out in the eastern Caribbean.

I have superimposed the flight path and data observations on the satellite image above.   I sort of "connected the dots", if you will, with respect to the observed wind directions by drawing the red line with the arrows over the data.  As you can see, a counter-clockwise, closed circulation does exist.

The winds are very weak on the Southwest side (only 10-15 mph) near the center, but are very strong further to the Northeast.  The red circled area with text notation indicates where a dropsonde measured a 46 mph wind at the surface in the Northeast quadrant of the system.  Remember, only 39 mph winds are needed for a Tropical Storm.  Since I began typing this post, the detailed report/summary was published, which indicates that a maximum surface wind of 62 mph was measured 82 miles Northeast of the center:

In my opinion, we have Irene at this time... but who knows what the NHC is going to do.  It's been harder to predict what they're going to do at times this season than it has been to predict what the storms will do...

Regardless of what the "official" call is, the good news is that we now have a detailed set of recon data which will be ingested by this evening's computer forecast models, among other things...

The system has been battling the dry Saharan air for the past 24-36 hours, but is starting to move into a region with greater available moisture, as you can see on the water vapor satellite image below:

This should lead to further organization and intensification over the coming days...

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