The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has upgraded "Invest 97" to Tropical Storm Irene. Based on recent Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft data, I am not surprised by this move, as pointed out in a recent post.
Below is a satellite image of Irene on a little wider view so that you can see her current position in relation to the U.S. (which is in the upper-left corner of the image):
The official NHC forecast track is shown below:
Not surprisingly, the NHC forecast track is basically right down the middle of the latest computer forecast model guidance, which is shown on the composite image below:
I think they're being a bit conservative with the intensity forecast (which is typical - especially on the first advisory), but I am in agreement with the overall forecast track based on what I've seen so far.
If you live in Florida or the Southeast U.S., it would be a good idea to begin reviewing your Tropical Storm & Hurricane Preparedness Plan, and be ready to take action as more definite track and intensity forecasts are developed over the coming days.
I am preparing a more detailed post concerning the computer model forecasts and my thoughts on the potential track of Irene and plan to have that up tomorrow. This afternoon's hurricane hunter aircraft data will be fed into the computer forecast model cycle this evening, which should provide some good additional information on this subject.
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