Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | August 23, 2011 @ 3:20 am

Hurricane Irene; Florida and Storm Birding

The center of Hurricane Irene is sitting off the northeast coast of Dominican Republic and is expected to move NW towards the southeastern Bahamas if Irene stays within the NHC forecast track.  During the last twelve hours the overall structure of this hurricane has continued to improve.  Hurricane reconnaissance aircraft is reporting a closed eye wall which further increases the chances of swift development by the cyclone.  Irene has slowed its pace to 10 knots and keeps on a NW track.  Winds have picked up a bit from prior updates and are now whipping at maximum sustained winds of 100 mph with gusts up to 135mph which classifies the cyclone as a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

As Irene moves away from Dominican Republic and over the Turks and Caicos during the next 48 hours additional strengthening is expected.  A southerly shear of about 10 kts is over Irene but otherwise the environment appears conductive for continued strengthening.  If Irene keeps on track with the forecast she will pass just east of Florida’s coast as a major hurricane.  Hurricane force winds extend ~45 miles outward from the center of the hurricane and tropical storm force winds outward to 185 miles from the center.-NWS

So what does this mean for us birders?  In prior years rarities and pelagic birds have been displaced as cyclones brush Florida’s coast.  We never know what will be blown in as a result of a major hurricane.  We will keep a close eye on Irene and report any major changes in the storms track or intensity.  We hope to be able to get out and look for some birds before and after Irene blows by.

Here are some forecast models for Irene’s path and wind predictions as well as satellite imagery of the cyclone as of 2 a.m. on 8/23/2011.  Keep in mind folks it is important to remind you that these are just forecast models and does not focus on an exact track.  Historically these cyclones can be unpredictable at times especially at days 4 and 5.  Keep your eye on the storm and make sure you and your family and friends are ready for this storm.

satellite image of Irene

wind forecast model

satellite image of Irene

wind forecast model

Nature is Awesome

Angel & Mariel



  1. Purple Martins swarming here in the Lake Placid area of Central Florida August 27, 2011

    • Thank you for reporting the Purple Martins! The roost here in Miami Lakes is still going strong but we imagine they will start trickling out any day now.


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