From an observational standpoint Irene is a good storm. The track is bringing Irene right through the San Juan NEXRAD site. It entered from the east will be trackable through the radar’s entire operational range.
Here’s what I see now. The storm is changing. By the time you click the link things might have changed.
There is a circulation center near St. Criox–maybe a little to the north. There’s absolutely no doubt you’re seeing rotation around the center.
The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are/will be getting significant rain. The tropics are more able to handle this kind of rainy onslaught than we are. Still, near steep hillsides mudslides are possible.
Irene is still a tropical storm. The difference in what Irene can do now and what a hurricane can do are night and day. When the wind speed doubles the force quadruples.
The main forecasting unknown now is the interaction between Irene and land. The small islands don’t make a noticeable difference. Puerto Rico has some impact, but it’s Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) that’s the biggest deal. A difference of 15-20 miles will make a huge difference. Of course that’s more certainty than the models are providing.
SEVERAL OF THE RELIABLE TRACK GUIDANCE MODELS SUCH AS THE ECMWF AND GFS HAVE SHIFTED EASTWARD FROM THEIR PREVIOUS RUNS AND SO HAS THE DYNAMICAL CONSENSUS. THE OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST HAS BEEN SHIFTED A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THAT FROM THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY AND LIES ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK…ESPECIALLY AT DAYS 4 TO 5 SINCE THE MOST RECENT 5-YEAR AVERAGE ERRORS AT THOSE FORECAST TIMES ARE 200 AND 250 MILES RESPECTIVELY.
Florida is threatened, No doubt. The most likely time is Thursday, possibly Friday.
Where? No clue. The mainly north/south orientation of both Florida coasts make landfall predictions for a north moving storm troublesome.