Visible satellite imagery showed a better defined eye and eyewall for Hurricane Irene this afternoon. Since then, the eye has become obscured. Irene is bearing down on the Turks and Caicos with 90 mile per hour winds. In the last 24-hours, Irene’s interaction with the island of Hispaniola has had an impact on the developing storm, maximum sustained winds were at 100 miles per hour for the last 18 hours. There was also a small amount of wind shear over the island. It’s possible that wind shear has played a part in the storm not undergoing a rapid intensification.
National Hurricane Center is reporting in its latest discussion that wind shear may limit rapid intensification for the next 24-hours. Wind shear is expected to relax near the Bahamas.
The track continues to shift east. Now, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and metro areas of New Jersey and New York need to prepare for a possible landfall.
However, if you look at the latest computer tracks from Hurricane Irene, I’m starting to wonder if this storm is going to be steered away from the East Coast of the United States by a deepening trough along the East Coast.
The official track from the National Hurricane Center continues to be the outlier or the track on the edge of the computer model forecasts. Usually the National Hurricane Center track line follows the consensus of the forecast guidance from the models. The model consensus now takes the storm toward Massachusetts and New England. The storm would weaken if it moves into the far northern Atlantic because of the cooler water and interaction with the strong winds of the mid-level trough.
Dawn Brown, FOX 8 New Orleans