Forecast Discussion: First, the latest information on Hurricane Irene. As of 5PM ET, Irene was located at 23.1N 74.7W, or about 215 miles southeast of the island of Nassau in the Bahamas. Maximum sustained winds are now at 120 mph, with gusts between 145-150 mph. Irene is moving to the northwest at 12 mph. At this time, the hurricane models are still agreeing that Irene will move close to the east coast, and move just over the Outer Banks of North Carolina within 84-90 hours. Based on the National Hurricane Center forecast, it would go over Ocracoke Island. After that, well…the models go in all different directions. Some models actually keep the center to our west, moving over Long Island, before moving into Connecticut. The “middle ground” is having the center make landfall near Westerly, and then over Providence and Boston. Finally, some models move the track further east, near the Cape, or out to sea completely. If you want to see the latest hurricane model forecasts, click here. Just to let you know, 00Z=8PM EDT, 06Z=2AM EDT, 12Z= 8AM EDT, and 18Z=2PM EDT. Right now, the models continue to track Irene more to the east the last few days. It will be one of the trends I will continue to watch for tomorrow.
Meanwhile, here in Providence, high pressure has moved offshore, allowing for more moisture to move into the area. This will increase the relative humidity, making it feel more humid. A warm front will move through Thursday morning, and will help trigger some showers in the afternoon. By the evening, periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms will move through ahead of the cold front. Once the cold front moves offshore, skies will clear, and it will be a warm Friday. Unfortunately, this will be the calm before the storm, or in this case, tropical storm/near Category 1 hurricane. We will begin to see rain bands by Saturday afternoon. Heavier rain, winds, and thunderstorms will move through the state by early Sunday morning, and continue through the day. Irene will move out of Southern New England by early Monday morning. High pressure will bring sunny skies for the rest of the forecast period.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Partly to mostly cloudy, warmer, and more humid, with a low of 66. Patchy fog will be along the south coast just before sunrise.
Thursday: Becoming cloudy with showers by the afternoon, and a high of 83. Winds will be from the south-southwest at 12-17 mph.
Thursday night: Cloudy, with showers, periods of rain, and possible strong thunderstorms, with a low of 68. Winds will be from the west-southwest at 6-9 mph. Strong thunderstorms could have gusts up to 40 mph and small hail. Patchy fog expected along the south coast and inland.
Friday: Showers/rain end by the morning, with partly to mostly sunny skies by mid-afternoon, and a high of 85.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy to cloudy skies, with isolated showers possible, and a low of 68.
Saturday: Cloudy, with showers in the morning, and rain by the mid-afternoon. Expect a high of 79.
Saturday night: Rain, which could be heavy at times, and scattered to numerous thunderstorms. Winds will increase to tropical depression to tropical storm conditions (between 34 to 63 mph). Also, storm surge along the coast may result in coastal flooding. We will see a low of 70.
Sunday: Cloudy, with heavy rain/thunderstorms and tropical storm/hurricane force winds. Highs 73-76, lows 64-67.
Monday: Irene leaves Southern New England early in the morning. It will become partly to mostly sunny by the late morning. Highs 79-82, lows 62-65.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Highs 79-82, lows 62-65.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs 80-83, lows 61-64.