2300 EDT AUG 23Earlier on Tuesday afternoon I issued this detailed statement over at the facebook/ wxrisk page— which you can find on the Discussion Tab or you can read by licking on this LINK. The Discussion was my views as of Tuesday Morning on how I see the hurricane IRENE threat for Virginia North Carolina and Maryland based upon the Tuesday morning and midday weather models. https://www.facebook.com/#!/topic.php?uid=129478830432717&topic=233
Also in case you missed it hears the link to the radio interview I did this morning on WRVA 1140 AM with Jimmy Barrett.
This first image represents the early Tuesday morning European model and as you can see the European model was showing a historic hurricane hitting eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia. The European model showed a strong category 4 –almost a category 5 — hurricane making landfall between Morehead city and in Wilmington NC then tracking north very close to a I-95 through eastern North Carolina. Once Irene reached the VA NC state line the Model showed IRENE bending slightly to the NNE and tracking very close to Williamsburg Virginia and then up into the northern portions of the Chesapeake Bay and near Philadelphia. This sort track of for a major East coast hurricane would be very unusual given what we typically see with an East coast hurricane track but it it would not be unprecedented.
The early Tuesday Morning European model sceanrio would however bring major damage to many areas and would bring hurricane conditions across all of eastern Virginia as well as eastern North Carolina and much of eastern Maryland into southern New Jersey. The KEY point here is that the European model developed IRENE to such intensity that even as IRENE weekend ….as all eastern NC hurircanes so when the cross North Carolina Irene would still be a major event as it moved up into eastern Virginia and Maryland. And that is an important point because if hurricane Irene does NOT reach category 4 status but still takes this same sort track ….then conditions will not be nearly as severe as what the European model is showing.
I tried to make that point clear in the radio broadcast —that as a ominous ansd extreme as European model solution with hurricane Irene was showing… three important things MUST happen for that solution to work out. FIRST hurricane IRENE reach category 4 status . SECOND Irene has to make landfall between Morehead city and Wilmington NC . THIRD Irene has to track over eastern North Carolina and passed west of Norfolk VA .
The early morning GFS model did not agree and continues to show the hurricane IRENE bending to the right. This model continues to show this trend because of the strong cold front the model is showing moving through the Midwest this weekend. I am not a fan of the GFS model and I have made that clear for number different reasons. However that does not mean the GFS could NOT be correct. here have been times where the European model has gotten something wrong and the GFS model has been correct.
But what the GFS model appears to be phasing the cold front and the upper air feature (known as the trough ) with the IRENE into one big feature …..almost as if the model does not see IRENE as a hurricane but as some sort of coastal storm in the winter months. If the GFS model did not have this bias over doing this sort of phasing ….I would not be nearly as reluctant to accept the GFS solution in bending IRENE to the coast.
On the midday Tuesday afternoon runs… again the GFS has IRENE over to the right …taking here across the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds of eastern North Carolina and coming out over the northern Outer Banks (Corolla) and passing east of Norfold by 50 miles and then heading up towards eastern New England. If anything the 12z GFS run was further to the east then the early morning or 0z GFS run. Indeed many of the 12z hurricane models reflected that shift.
The afternoon European model was a little further to the east but not nearly to the same degree and continue to show an inland track with the European model taking it over eastern North Carolina then riding up over Norfolk then just off to the east of Salisbury / Ocean City Maryland and then over or just offshore of cape May New Jersey. This is a track very similar to the historic hurricane of 1821 which bought hurricane conditions to Norfolk Virginia Salisbury Maryland and NYC . In fact that was the ONLY hurricane in history to ever strike NYC directly. Again the European model this afternoon was an extreme solution but it’s not one that can be rueld out.
Interestingly the 18z hurricane models actually came back to the west a little bit. Later on Wednesday afternoon I probably will be issuing some forecast maps for the various areas over North Carolina Virginia Maryland and Delaware with respect to possible scenarios and the best and worst case conditions.
Throughout all this keep in mind …. the further east you are then the worst the conditions will be. In North Carolina if you’ are west of I95 conditions then things should not be that bad on Saturday — some rain and some wind but it will not be a major event. In Central Virginia as one moves WEST of I95 into the Piedmont conditions will rapidly and improve and not be nearly as severe as what you are going to see over eastern Virginia. And close the closer you are towards Hampton roads and the lower Chesapeake Bay the worst conditions will be there as well.
In my opinion …. I think the critical time in the forecast models will be Thursday. By that time the various weather models should have a very good idea of what the cold front is actually going to look like. Right now all these weather models are guessing that this cold front and trough in the jet stream that moves into the Midwest is going be a strong enough to bend hurricane Irene to the right. In particular the GFS model and the hurricane models which are run off the GFS are showing that. It’s possible that the cold front and the trough will not be that strong so that could be a shift back to the west and the hurricane models on Thursday.
Lastly if on Thursday we are not seeing a shift back to the west and the hurricane models continue to show Irene tracking to the east then I will make significant changes in the forecast.
2200 EDT AUG 22
There have been some major developments with the global or large scale weather models regarding the development of hurricane Irene and they are important of elements for ALL of North Carolina and much of central and Eastern Virginia as central Mayland Delaware as well l as the lower Maryland Eastern shore.
Irene is now moving at 285 or 290 degrees … WNW . This means that she is going to be pulling away from the north coast of the Dominican Republic on the big island of Hispaniola. At Midday he proximity of that large island was disrupting the circulation around the system which is why Irene was not rapidly intensify. Now this evening… of coiurse she has pulled away from the North coast of Hispanola and she has reached Category 2 status.
All the weather models at midday and this afternoon continue to show hurricane Irene becoming a major ( CAT 3) if not severe ( CAT 4) hurricane. The 0Z AUG 22 run of the European model for example strengthened IRENE to a strong category 4 hurricane (929mb) when she makes landfall late on August 27 near the Wilmington North Carolina coast.
But NOT the 0z AUG 22 run of the GFS … The 0z GFS Model from early Monday Morning showed IRENE hitting Jacksonville FL/ Savannah GA area .. something that has happened 1 time in 140 years.!! Then the GFS has Irene STALLING over GS SC for 48 hrs !!
Now if this solution wasn’t goofy enough for ya… 12 hours later the 12z Monday GFS run now had a TOTALLY different solution! Instead of showing IRENE stalled over GA and SC on a almost Imposisble track…. the 12Z GFS now took Irene NE along the coast ONLY hitting Cape Hattera and cape Cod mass!! One run well inland next run almost out to sea!! Like I have said folks many many times….. when it comes to Hurricane forecasting past 72 or 84 hours it is a piece of crap. Its sucks….BAD.
Even worse is that all of the Hurricane Models are run off the Crappy GFS grid which makes them even worse. Does anyone recall the last time the GFDL had a damn clue? or the HWRF did not have a run that made you bust out laughing ??
After seeing the 12z operational G FS and the 18z hurricane models weather weenie after weather weenie as well as inept TV forecaster after inept TV forecast preceded to declare that Irene was likely to bend to the right and skim the coast and it may not be a significant threat after all. While this sort of thing should be expected with weather weenies… with TV meteorologists should at least be able to do some basic synoptic meteorology which clearly many them did not. . The reason why the 12z GFS has a more pronounced bend to the northeast track with Irene ….is because the model is doing something which it should not be doing.
At day five or 120 hours there is another cold front and upper trough moving through the jet stream across the Great Lakes and Eastern Canada. The 12z GFS model is over developing the trough. This is a characteristic bias or flaw in the model as it loves to do this sort of thing in the medium range. Because the trough is deeper and stronger …. it acts as a Bending force to push Irene to the northeast and out to sea.
The problem is that NO other model solution supports the trough that deep moving thru the Great Lakes with the same intensity and size that the G FS does. If there was some other model support than I would accept the possible turn to the northeast as Irene approach to North Carolina coast ….but since there is no other support for the GFS solution I simply disregard it.
Then we had the 12 Z European model come out which shows a frighteningly powerful scenario. The European model keeps Irene as a category 4 hurricane making landfall at Wilmington (938mb) . This is the third run in a row that this model has Irene making landfall at Wilmington — as oppsoed to the GFS swinging widely from one solution to another.
anyway… from Wilmington the European model takes Irene due north and then begins to bend it as a reaches Richmond Virginia slightly to the northeast taking it over Baltimore and up to Philadelphia by August 29. This sort of inland track is a little unusual but the European model with its superior model resolution and physics is clearly seeing the western side of the Bermuda High much better than the GFS model.
Interesting the Canadian model now looks very much like the European which is another sign that the European solution is probably going to be correct.
In addition the 18z GFS showed a trend back to the west and now takes Irene over Eastern North Carolina and right through southeastern Virginia and Hampton roads — which is a track very similar to what the European model showing. One of the rules that medium range weather forecasters use is that when the GFS and the European model do NOT agre … and the very next run of the GFS comes out and it looks like the European ….that isa sign that the European model is usually going to be correct.
The new 0z suite of hurricane models has just come out and it is showing a band back to the west a little bit when you compare them to the 18 Z hurricane models
1800 EDT 21 AUG
During the day on Sunday all of the major global models except for the pathetically wretched the British or UKMET model showed a significant shift to the east both at the 0z and 12z model cycle runs. We knew this is going to occur when late last night the hurricane center readjusted the LLC – low level center of circulation underneath a massive thunderstorms. Often times when we see the tropical depression shift into tropical storm status there is is jump in the low level center… Usually to the north but not always.
However this little shift to the north of the LLC may not appear to be very significant to you but it does have major implications for the overall storm track of tropical storm IRENE . It now appears likely that IRENE is going to pass very close to were exactly on top of the island of Puerto Rico. But the North shift in the center increases the probability that IRENE will stay JUST north of the island of Hispaniola and probably stay north of Eastern Cuba.
This increases the chances of the system staying out over water and becoming stronger a but it also DECREASES the chances of southern FL being hit. As I stated yesterday the further north IRENE is as she reaches 75 west Longitude the SOONER she will turn NW then NNW then N.
All of the 12z Sunday Global Models – except for the useless British model — shifted further east AGAIN! The Canadian model which early Saturday morning was showing a hit for New Orleans has shifted and 36 hours and now takes a system over Eastern North Carolina and Cape Hatteras. As I discussed on Saturday this was likely to happen because IRENE was that the far edge of the model grid. The GFS and European Model also shift east and now show a landfall AUG 27 close to Charleston SC and then a track up through Central North Carolina passing over Charlotte and then into central VA …. over Richmond – then over DCA BWI and PHL on the 28th.
Rainfall amounts will be impressive and in many ways is quite possible that we may see rainfall amounts close to what we saw in FLOYD in 1999. The 0Z and 12z GFS show huge area of rainfall amounts up to 6 inches and that is based upon a minimal type of hurricane; IF IRENE were to reach category 3 status the rainfall amounts could be even higher.
6z GFS sunday aug 21 run RAINFALL FORECAST 12z AUG 21 RAINBFALL FORECAST
Ok DT… cut to the Chase… what do YOU think is going to happen?
First ….let me make a KEY point. One of the reasons I fo out of my way to do this Model analysis with these various weather models in this extended range is becuase I think I have a unusual perspective about weather Models which most weather hobbyists and meteorologist don’t have and I believe this difference in philosophy is what gives me the edge.
Weather models are suppose to reflect the actual atmosphere– they do not drive weather systems. The atmosphere drives the weather systems and the hurricane models or regular weather models are suppose to reflect the atmosphere.
This point may not seem like a really big philosophical or significant deal to uou …. but it actually is. This image represents the jet stream at 500 mb and it is from the 12z Sunday, August 21 run of the GFS I have highlighted the features so that you can understand what is going to happen
Because I see the upper air features first I have a differnt grasp understanding what hurricane or “regular” global models are going to show with a particular scenario. As a result when I see a weather model show a goofy scenario — for example the 0z Canadian model on Saturday morning that showed IRENE moving into New Orleans… I can reject it out of hand.
IRENE is going to turn to the NW…then NNW… then N into a “GAP” which will exists over the Southeast US. This gap will occur becuase of the huge ridge and heat dome over the Rockies and southwest only externds to the eastern Plains…. and the and the Bermuda High in the Western Atlantic Ocean. This gap is a weakness in the atmosphere which will allow IRENE to make that turn and make landfall in the Carolinas probably in SC.
This sort of track is very typical of what we see with Classic East coast hurricanes. In 2003 we had a unusual storm by the name of hurricane Isabel and that this storm in the middle of September but Isabel did NOT come up the coast. Instead Isabel came in from the western Atlantic Ocean in a SE to NW trajectory slamming into eastern North Carolina and driving up towards Richmond. That was a very unusual track and the last time we saw that was with the 1933 Chesapeake Bay hurricane . Most East coast hurricanes do NOT take that track. Instead they usually have a track something like what we saw with hurricane Gloria in 1985 Bob in 1991 or FLOYD 1999. In fact the Floyd analogy is a pretty good one with Irene and the excess of rainfall amounts that the models are already producing only supports the Floyd 1999 East coast hurricane as a analog to what might happen with IRENE.
The rainfal over SC NC all of VA and MD and DE as well as eastern PA and NJ will be heavy… and in many places excessive. Amounts of 6-10″ are likely and Philly has already set their record for their wettest AUG ever.
For folks in central and Eastern Virginia as long as IRENE does not build to category 3 or 4 status then does does not look like this will be a major wind event so it is SEEMS that Irene will be very different from what we saw with Isabel in 2003. Again keep in mind that this is assuming … and this is a big assumption… that IRENE does not reach category 3 or 4 status.
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