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TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

August 21, 2011457Views


At
500 AM reports from radar and satellite and surface observations indicate the
center of tropical storm Irene was located near latitude 16.4 north longitude
61.3 west or approximately 256 miles from the virgin islands. Irene is moving
toward the west near 21 mph and a motion toward the west or west-north west
at a slower rate of speed is expected during the next 48 hours.  On the forecast track Irene will pass
through the leeward islands this morning and move into the northeastern Caribbean
sea this afternoon.  Irene could
approach Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Monday.

 

Maximum
sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is forecast during the
next 48 hours and Irene could become a hurricane by Monday.

 

Tropical-storm-force
winds extend outward up to 150 miles mainly to the north and east of the
center.

 

Estimated
minimum central pressure is 1006 MB.

 

The track has been shifted slightly east of the previous
forecast due to a relocation of the center. This brings the system closer to
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands than the previous advisory.

 

Forecast

The center of Irene has reformed a little to the north of
its previous location. The center is now near Guadeloupe. The overall motion
remains slightly north of due west. On this track, Irene is expected to pass
about 50 miles south of St. Croix this afternoon and pass a similar distance
south of Puerto Rico tonight. On Monday and Tuesday, Irene is expected to
move near or over the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The forecast confidence drops to below average after Irene
nears southeastern Cuba Wednesday night. There is a strong divergence in the
model solutions. One group takes the system over or east of the Florida
Peninsula. However, some reliable models continue to indicate a track toward
the Gulf of Mexico. The forecast is shifted a little to the east at days 3
through 5 and indicates a position near southwest Florida. However, it must
be stressed that the confidence is below average and future shifts of the
forecast track are likely.

Irene is slowly becoming better organized. Environmental
conditions remain very favorable for significant development. The forecast
indicates steady intensification until it interacts with the Dominican
Republic and Haiti. The new forecast indicates winds will be about 85 mph
when it affects the Dominican Republic. Weakening is expected while it interacts
with the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. However, the extent of the
weakening will depend upon how long the system spends over land. If the
system spends a long time over land, it could weaken to a low end tropical
storm. If the system remains over land for a short time, it could become a
strong hurricane. The intensity forecast for now splits the difference and
weakens the system to a moderate to strong tropical storm. Once Irene moves
off of Cuba, conditions are expected to be favorable for development and the
forecast now indicates Irene regaining hurricane intensity as it nears
Florida. Confidence in the intensity forecast is very low, especially after 3
days.

Expected Impacts on Land

Lesser Antilles: Heavy squalls are expected to last through the afternoon
hours. 5-10 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. 8-12 inches of rain are likely,
with higher totals possible across the elevated areas of Puerto Rico. A Flash
Flood Watch is in effect for the Virgin Islands until 2PM today
. This watch could be
upgraded at short notice to warning.These rains are likely to cause flooding
and mudslides. Tropical storm force winds are also likely.

Dominican Republic: Squalls are expected to start affecting the area on Monday
morning. Up to 8-12 inches of rain are expected in the Santo Domingo area
through Tuesday morning. These rains will likely cause flooding and
mudslides.

Jamaica: Squalls will likely affect the area on Tuesday.

Expected Impacts Offshore

Sea
conditions will gradually deteriorate later tonight with seas 8 – 12 feet.
Small Crafts are asked to see anchorage. Persons accessing beaches should
exercise extreme caution or refrain from swimming until the system has passed
and it is safe to do so.

 

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
www.bviddm.com and subscribe to their notification link to receive further
updates.

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.