Sunday, August 21, 2011

Irene setting her eyes on Florida, 3 landfall scenarios

Residents across the state of Florida need to really start paying attention to the latest information concerning Tropical Storm Irene.

Here are a few scenarios for a potential landfall... and remember ... all images in this post can be clicked on so you can see them in a larger view.


  • The storm taking the eastern side of the "cone of uncertainty" - meaning it would literally parallel the entire east coast of the state - from Miami/South Beach to Jacksonville. This could potentially keep the storm over open waters ... and allow it to really strengthen right off shore

  • It makes a direct hit into the southern tip of the state - which would put Miami in the front, right quadrant of the storm ... and taking the brunt. The storm could experience rapid growth in the warm waters of the Florida Straights
  • The storm could continue on a more northwest course into the Gulf of Mexico ... before making a northern turn and paralelling the west coast ... eventually going into the panhandle ... or making a slight bend back northeast and making a landfall on the west coast of the peninsula .. somewhere in the vicinity of Tampa
Of course ... ANYTHING is possible .... but it really doesn't look like upper level winds will allow this storm to head so far northwest that it puts places like Louisiana and Mississippi in danger.  In fact ... only one model has that as a possible idea.   Below is the latest "spaghetti plot" ... which shows all the possible storm tracks. As you can see ... Florida really appears to be ground zero. 

But a slight shift in any of the other weather variables that are influencing this storm could change the entire outcome.  That is why it is so important to stay tuned for frequent weather updates ... not from me, but from  your local media ... especially if you live in Florida.

Here is the latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center. Notice the "cone of uncertainty" ... or the area where the eventual path could lie. (that is the area in the white bubble ... with hashed lines)

Here are 12 hour forecast storm positions from the GFS model. The first picture is 6am Thursday. Then each picture after that is 12 hours into the future .. taking us up til 6am Sunday morning.

6 am Thursday - emerging off the north coast of Cuba

6 pm Thursday

6 am Friday

6 pm Friday

6 am Saturday

6 pm Saturday

6 am Sunday


Always a tough call ... but to be honest ... most indicatons are this storm will reach hurricane strength.

The waters around Florida are extremely warm ... bath-like temperatures!  History has shown us that hurricanes can explode in intensity within a VERY short period of time as they near land.  I think Hurricane Andrew in the early 1990s is a great example of that.

My best advice if you live in Florida ... don't focus on the potential strength.

Focus on the fact a storm is coming your way with a pretty darn good chance of making landfall and an impact on your area ... and that you have about 4 days to prepare and make your plans.

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