August 20, 2011814Views

Current Location: 14.9N/58.5W

Geographic Reference: 468 miles south
east of the Virgin Islands

Movement: West at 22 mph

Max Winds: 50 mph gusting to 65 mph

Organizational Trend: Slowly increasing



A recon plane inside Tropical Disturbance 31
has found a close surface circulation along with winds of 50 mph. Therefore,
the disturbance has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Irene. Irene is forecast to
continue moving a little north of due west for the next several days. This
would take the center of Irene across the Leeward Islands and into the eastern
Caribbean before sunrise tomorrow and about 100 miles south of St. Croix by mid
afternoon tomorrow. Irene should pass very near or over the southern Dominican
Republic early on Tuesday then begin a gradual turn to the west-northwest and
northwest toward eastern Cuba on Wednesday night.

The forecast confidence drops to below
average after Irene nears southeastern Cuba Wednesday night. Though the model
consensus continues to point toward the southern Florida Peninsula with a
landfall on Thursday night or early Friday morning, it is quite possible that
the northwest

turn is delayed and Irene could pass just
west of the southern Florida Peninsula with a final landfall along the Florida
Panhandle next weekend. Forecasters won’t be more sure of when the turn will
occur for another day or so.

The intensity forecast is another challenge.
Though Irene has winds to 50 mph presently, its center is very poorly
organized. Forecasters think that Irene may become a hurricane prior to passing
near or over the southern Dominican Republic on Monday night. But its intensity
beyond that point will depend greatly upon how much land the center crosses
over the following 36 hours. Once in the Florida Straits or southeast Gulf on
Thursday afternoon, the storm may gain strength quickly over the warm water.
But its intensity thereafter will depend on whether it strikes the lower
Florida Peninsula or has an extra 24 or more hours offshore before striking the
Florida Panhandle. Confidence in the intensity forecast is low.

Expected Impacts on Land

Lesser Antilles: Squalls will produce
periods of heavy rain and wind gusts up to 65 mph through Sunday morning. 4-6
inches of rain are likely.

U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto
Rico: Squalls are expected to move over the area by Sunday morning and
last through early Monday. 2-5 inches of rain are likely, with higher totals
possible across the elevated areas of Puerto Rico.

Dominican Republic: Squalls are expected
to start affecting the area on Monday afternoon. Up to 6-9 inches of rain are
expected in the Santo Domingo area through Tuesday morning.

Southern Florida Peninsula: Squalls may
begin impacting the Keys and the lower peninsula by early afternoon on
Thursday. It is too early to estimate rainfall due to the considerable track
uncertainty that far out.

Expected Impacts Offshore

Northwest Gulf of Mexico: Currently, no
direct impact of tropical storm force wind is expected west of 88W longitude.
However, if the storm was to track in the direction of the northwest Gulf, then
squalls could impact the deepwater areas offshore southeast Louisiana as early
as Friday afternoon.


The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) will continue to monitor the
weather conditions and provide updates accordingly. Persons can visit the DDM’s
website at and subscribe to their notification link to receive further

Disclaimer:The Department of Disaster
Management (DDM) is not an official Meteorological Office. The Information
disseminated by the Department is gathered from a number of professional
sources used or contracted by the DDM to provide such information. This
information is to be used as a guide by anyone who has interest in local
weather conditions. By no means can the DDM or the BVI Government be held
accountable by anyone who uses this information appropriately for legal
evidence or in justification of any decision which may result in the loss of
finances, property or life.