Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Hurricane update - 23 August
Hurricane Irene is starting to move away from the Dominican Republic towards the Bahamas. The storm is currently a category II hurricane, but will intensify to category III over the next 24 hours. The Turks & Caicos Islands as well as the Bahamas will feel the full fury of Irene, but at present, the islands have most to fear from the storm surge. This will come in at 9 to 13 feet (3 to 4 metres) above normal tidal levels. The Bahamas are relatively low lying, so the effects of the storm surge are potentially catastrophic. Maximum sustained windspeeds at present stand just below 100 mph, but will increase to 120 mph into tomorrow.
The current forecast states that Irene will plough through the Bahamas over the next few days, and will proceed to make landfall in the Carolinas by the weekend, as a major hurricane (meaning sustained windspeeds are 115 mph or higher). The exact location of landfall is at present impossible to predict.