Just a quick update on my thoughts. The center of Irene jumped about 70-90 miles north overnight, and the hurricane center for whatever reason has failed to update their track to account for this movement.
The has huge implications for the East coast for two reasons:
(1) If the center moves just north of PR or more importantly Hispaniola, it can maintain (or more likely) increase in strength over the next 2 days.
(2) The more northerly initial motion allows for greater and earlier interaction with the approaching Midwest trough, which I thought would be stronger than modeled.
Both of these facts increase the liklihood of a major (cat 3 or 4) hurricane making landfall along the SE coast, from northern FL through NC. Although dry air has made it’s way into the NW quadrant of the storm, I expect this to be replaced by thunderstorms as they wrap around the storm from the NE quadrant:
One can easily see the center is slightly south of due east of Puerto Rico on the above satellite. This is significantly farther north than the NHC track from yesterday. I believe the storm will pass just north or over the NE portion of the island of PR, and re-emerge along the northern coast of PR, and then travel north of Hispaniola, and reach major hurricane status while crossing the Bahamas. The more I look at things, the more I’m starting to think the area between Savannah, GA and Cape Fear, NC as the highest threat for landfall. Not a forecast, but where my best guess is right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NHC adjusts their track more north with the next advisory. Just my thoughts.
I’ve included the same two images below which will change in real time as things progress for completeness sake. If I left things the way they were this morning, this blog wouldn’t make much sense in a day or two: