Tag Archives: Lesser Antilles

Hurricane Warnings Issued for Carolinas for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Warnings were issued for the Carolinas on Tuesday for the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 28.4°N and longitude 68.7°W which put it about 670 miles (1075 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 946 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Edisto Beach to South Santee River, South Carolina and from Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Duck, North Carolina to Cape Charles Light, Virginia and for Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

Hurricane Florence completed an eyewall replacement cycle and it continues to be a powerful hurricane.  There was a circular eye with a diameter of 30 miles (48 km) at the center of Florence.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  The eyewall replacement cycle resulted in a larger circulation.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation of Hurricane Florence.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (280 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Florence was 28.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 18.9 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 47.1.  Hurricane Florence is capable of causing extensive significant damage.

Hurricane Florence will move through an environment favorable for strong hurricanes during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  it will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Florence is likely to maintain its intensity and it could strengthen.  If another eyewall replacement cycle occurs, then there could be fluctuations in intensity.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence toward the west-northwest during the next 24 to 36 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Florence could approach the coast of the Carolinas later on Thursday.  The steering winds are forecast to weaken when Florence nears the coast and there is great uncertainty about the track when that occurs.  Hurricane Florence will bring strong winds to coastal North Carolina and eastern South Carolina.  Wind pushing water toward the shore will cause a significant storm surge.  A slow forward speed will mean that Hurricane Florence will drop a lot of rain and there is a risk of significant flooding of rivers and streams.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Isaac was speeding toward the Lesser Antilles and Hurricane Helene was weakening far south of the Azores.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.5°N and longitude 52.3°W which put it about 580 miles (935 km) east of Martinique.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saba and St. Eustatius.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Helene was located at latitude 18.0°N and longitude 35.4°W which put it about 1479 miles (2370 km) south-southwest of the Azores.  Helene was moving toward the northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.

Florence Strengthens Into a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Major Hurricane on Monday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 25.9°N and longitude 62.4°W which put it about 1085 miles (1745 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 944 mb.

Hurricane Florence intensified rapidly on Monday morning and early afternoon.  An eye with a diameter of 18 miles (29 km) formed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Florence.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane.

Hurricane Florence increased in size on Monday.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Florence was 28.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 14.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 42.2.  Hurricane Florence was capable of causing extensive significant damage.

Microwave satellite imagery indicated that an inner rainband may have wrapped around the original eye and eyewall.  An eyewall replacement cycle may have begun and that may have halted the rapid intensification of Hurricane Florence.  Florence could weaken during the next few hours while the inner eyewall weakens.  Hurricane Florence will move through an area capable of supporting strong hurricanes on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  If the inner eyewall dissipates during the next day or so, then Hurricane Florence could strengthen again.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of the subtropical high pressure system during the next several days.  The high will steer Florence toward the west-northwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Florence will approach the coast of North Carolina on Thursday afternoon.  The winds steering Florence could weaken as it approaches the coast and the track forecast becomes much more uncertain at that time.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac were spinning over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Helene was located at latitude 15.5°N and longitude 32.4°W which put it about 1590 miles (2555 km) south of the Azores.  Helen was moving toward the west-northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 968 mb.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.5°N and longitude 46.9°W which put it about 960 miles (1550 km) east of the Lesser Antilles.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

Florence Strengthens Back Into a Hurricane

Florence strengthened back into a hurricane on Sunday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 24.4°N and longitude 56.3°W which put it about 750 miles (1210 km) southeast of Bermuda.  Florence was moving toward the west at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 984 mb.

Hurricane Florence was better organized on Sunday morning.  A NOAA research aircraft reported a circular eye with a diameter of 24 miles (39 km).  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Florence.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 20 miles (35 km) to the east of the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 115 miles (185 km) to the north of the center and about 50 miles (80 km) to the south of the center.

Hurricane Florence will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification.  Florence will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Florence will strengthen and it could intensify rapidly at times.  Florence is likely to be a major hurricane on Monday.

Hurricane Florence will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Florence in a general west-northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Florence will approach the southeast coast of the U.S. on Thursday.  It is likely to be a major hurricane at that time.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Helene and Tropical Storm Isaac moved westward over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Helene was located at latitude 13.2°N and longitude 25.0°W which put it about 120 miles (195 km) south-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Helene was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Santiago, Fogo and Brava.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located at latitude 14.3°N and longitude 39.1°W which put it about 1470 miles (2370 km) east of the Windward Islands.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

Tropical Storm Gordon Nears Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Gordon moved closer to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. on Tuesday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Gordon was located at latitude 28.5°N and longitude 86.8°W which put it about 145 miles (235 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.  Gordon was moving toward the northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River including Lake Pontchartrain and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton County line in Florida.

The circulation of Tropical Storm Gordon appeared to be getting more organized on Tuesday morning.  More thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation.  Storms near the center were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical storm.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms north and east of the center were moving toward the Gulf Coast.  The bands southwest of the center consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation, but the winds were weaker in the southwestern quadrant of Tropical Storm Gordon.

Tropical Storm Gordon could strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall.  Gordon will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough over the southeastern U.S. was producing southwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing some vertical shear, but they will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  The surface pressure decreased slightly on Tuesday morning.  Increased friction near the coast could cause the circulation to tighten around the center, when Tropical Storm Gordon gets closer to the Gulf Coast.

Tropical Storm Gordon will move around the southwestern end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Gordon in a general northwesterly direction during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Gordon is likely to make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday night.  Gordon will produce winds to near hurricane force at the coast.  It could cause a storm surge of 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.5 meters) east of the center where the wind blows water toward the coast.  The highest storm surge will occur in bays and the mouths of streams and rivers where the shape of the coast funnels water into those areas.  Tropical Storm Gordon will also drop heavy rain over portions of northwest Florida, southwest Alabama, Mississippi and eastern Louisiana.  Locally heavy rain could create the potential for flash floods.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, former Tropical Storm Florence strengthened into the third Atlantic hurricane of 2018.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 19.7°N and longitude 42.5°W which put it about 1270 miles (2045 km) east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Florence was moving toward the west-northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 990 mb.

Tropical Storm Beryl Weakens East of the Lesser Antilles

Tropical Storm Beryl weakened on Saturday as it move closer to the Lesser Antilles.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of circulation was located at latitude 13.1°N and longitude 54.3°W which put it about 495 miles (795 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Beryl was moving toward the west-northwest at 18 m.p.h. (30 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Barbados and St. Lucia.

Tropical Storm Beryl moved into a region where the easterly winds in the lower level were stronger and the increased vertical wind shear started to blow the lower part of the circulation to the west of the upper part of Beryl.  It also seemed to move into an area of drier air, which caused most of the stronger thunderstorms to weaken.  There was still a well organized circulation in the lower levels, but it weakened on Saturday.  More thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation and on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Beryl in recent hours.  If those storms persist then Beryl could strengthen again, but if they dissipate quickly, then the tropical storm could weaken again on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Beryl will move through an environment that contains factors that are favorable for intensification and other factors that are unfavorable.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It will move through an area where the lower level winds are stronger and so there will be more vertical wind shear.  There will be areas of moister air within a larger area of drier air.  If the recently developed thunderstorms persist on Sunday, then the Beryl could strengthen again.  However, if the storms dissipate in a few hours, then Tropical Storm Beryl could weaken further.  The small size of the circulation means that rapid changes in intensity can occur.

Tropical Storm Beryl was moving south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high was steering Beryl toward the west-northwest and that general motion is forecast to continue for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beryl could reach the Lesser Antilles on Sunday night.  There is a lot of uncertainty about how strong Beryl may be when it reaches those islands.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean Tropical Depression Three spun south of Cape Hatteras.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Depression Three was located at latitude 32.9°N and longitude 75.1°W which put it about 160 miles (260 km) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  It was nearly stationary.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1014 mb.

Hurricane Beryl Prompts Watches for Lesser Antilles, TD 3 Forms Southeast of Carolinas

The potential approach of Hurricane Beryl prompted the issuance of Watches for some of the Lesser Antilles on Friday afternoon, while at the same time Tropical Depression Three formed southeast of the Carolinas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Beryl was located at latitude 10.6°N and longitude 47.8°W which put it about 965 miles (1555 km) east-southeast of the Leeward Islands.  Beryl was moving toward the west at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Dominica.  Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

The circulation of Hurricane Beryl remains very small.  The pinhole is no longer visible on satellite imagery, although strong thunderstorms continue to develop near the center of circulation.  Short narrow bands or showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Beryl.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 10 miles (15 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center.

Hurricane Beryl will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  However, the wind speeds are similar at all levels and there is currently little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Beryl could intensify on Saturday, but the circulation is so small that any increase in wind shear could cause rapid weakening.

The subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean is north of Hurricane Beryl and the ridge has been steering Beryl toward the west.  A motion more toward the west-northwest is forecast during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles later on Sunday.  That is the reason why the Watches were issued for some of those islands.  Beryl could still be a hurricane when it gets to the Lesser Antilles, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the intensity forecast because the hurricane is so small.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center designated an area of low pressure southeast of the coast of the Carolinas as Tropical Depression Three.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Depression Three was located at latitude 32.2°N and longitude 73.8°W which put it about 230 miles (370 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  It was moving toward the north-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1016 mb.  Tropical Depression Three is forecast to meander off the coast of the Carolinas during the weekend.  It could strengthen into a tropical storm and there is a chance it could intensify into a hurricane next week.

Beryl Strengthens to a Hurricane East of the Lesser Antilles

Former Tropical Storm Beryl strengthened into a hurricane east of the Lesser Antilles on Friday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Beryl was located at latitude 10.7°N and longitude 46.5°W which put it about 1045 miles (1685 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Beryl was moving toward the west at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.

The circulation of Hurricane Beryl remains very small.  There is an eye with a diameter of 6 miles (9 km) at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the hurricane force winds are occurring in this ring of storms.  Several short, narrow bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of the circulation.  Storms near the core are generating upper level divergence which is pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force only extend out about 10 miles (15 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center.

Hurricane Beryl will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  However, the wind speeds are similar at all levels and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Beryl is likely to intensify during the next day or so.  There is less mass in motion in a very small hurricane and so it can intensify quickly, but a small hurricane can also weaken quickly if vertical wind shear increases.

Hurricane Beryl is moving south of the subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean and the high is steering Beryl toward the west.  A general motion toward the west-northwest is forecast for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Beryl could approach the Lesser Antilles later on Sunday.  Beryl could be a hurricane when it nears the Lesser Antilles and watches and warnings may be issued later on Friday or on Saturday.

TD 2 Quickly Strengthens Into Tropical Storm Beryl

Tropical Depression 2 which was designated earlier on Thursday quickly strengthened into Tropical Storm Beryl.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Beryl was located at latitude 10.3°N and longitude 42.8°W which put it about 1295 miles (2080 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  Beryl was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb.

The circulation of very small Tropical Storm Beryl organized very quickly on Thursday afternoon.  There was evidence of a tiny eye on some microwave satellite images.  A small tight ring of thunderstorms surrounded the center of circulation and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several short bands of thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force only extended out 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation.  Storms near the core of Beryl were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Beryl will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification during the next day or two.  Beryl will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 26.5°C.  There is cooler water north of the expected track of Beryl, which would limit intensification if the tropical storm wobbles toward the north.  An upper level ridge north of Tropical Storm Beryl will generate easterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  The wind speed is similar at all level and the vertical wind shear will be modest.  Small tropical cyclones can intensify or weaken rapidly.  Beryl is likely strengthen on Friday and it could intensify into a hurricane.

Tropical Storm Beryl was moving south of the subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean.  The high was steering Beryl toward the west.  A general motion toward the west-northwest is forecast during the next two to three days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beryl could be east of the Lesser Antilles on Sunday.

Tropical Depression Two Forms East of the Lesser Antilles

Tropical Depression Two formed east of the Lesser Antilles on Thursday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Depression Two was located at latitude 10.2°N and longitude 41.4°W which put it about 1385 miles (2230 km) east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.  It was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

A distinct area of low pressure developed in the northern end of a tropical wave on Thursday and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Depression Two.  The circulation of the depression was quite small.  Several short bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of circulation.  Storms near the center were beginning to generate upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the depression.

Tropical Depression Two will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 26.5°C.  However, there is cooler water to the north of the anticipated track and the depression will not intensify if it moves over the cooler water.  An upper level ridge north of the tropical depression will produce easterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  The wind speeds will be similar at all levels and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Depression Two is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm during the next day or two.

Tropical Depression Two was moving around the southern side of the subtropical ridge over the Atlantic Ocean and the ridge was steering the depression toward the west.  The ridge is forecast to steer the depression toward the west-northwest during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Depression Two could be east of the Lesser Antilles on Sunday.

Hurricane Irma Strengthens Rapidly Over Atlantic

Hurricane Irma strengthened rapidly as it moved over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 16.9°N and longitude 33.8°W which put it about 1845 miles (2975 km) east of the Leeward Islands.  Irma was moving toward the west-northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 979 mb.

Hurricane Irma intensified rapidly on Thursday morning.  A circular eye developed at the center of circulation and a ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye.  Numerous bands of showers and thunderstorms developed outside the core of Irma.  Hurricane Irma has a very circular, symmetrical shape.  Thunderstorms in the core of Irma were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away in all directions from the hurricane.

Hurricane Irma will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next few days.  Irma will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  Irma is under the western end of an upper level ridge, but the upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  Irma is likely to intensify during the next few days and it is forecast to become a major hurricane.  Hurricanes that intensify rapidly often develop concentric eyewalls, which cause fluctuations in their intensity.  It is highly likely that Hurricane Irma will go through one of more eyewall replacement cycles which will cause temporary fluctuations in the wind speed.  Eyewall replacement cycles often result in a larger hurricane and Hurricane Irma has the potential to develop into a big classic Cape Verde hurricane.

Hurricane Irma is nearing a weaker region in the subtropical ridge to its north.  The weakness is allowing Irma to move toward the west-northwest.  The ridge is expected to strengthen and steer Hurricane Irma more toward the west or west-southwest during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Irma is forecast to be a major hurricane east of the Leeward Islands in five days.  The uncertainty about the future track of Hurricane Irma increases after that time.  People around the western Atlantic need to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma.