Hurricane Irene Strengthens to Category 3

Hurricane Irene Advisory #17

As of 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 (NHC Advisory #17): Hurricane Irene is currently a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, and is moving NW (305°) at 12 mph. Some additional strengthening is forecast over the next 24-36 hours, with favorable sea surface temperatures (29° C) that may push Irene into Category 4 territory.

Hurricane Irene is expected to turn to the North-Northwest and then North on Thursday, with the core of the hurricane moving across the Southeastern and Central Bahamas today. The model guidance is in excellent agreement for the next 48-72 hours, but beyond that period there is some question whether or not Irene will continue NNE or turn back toward the North. The National Hurricane Center again warns that the 3-5 day forecast track is subject to error, and the official forecast track has been nudged slightly eastward.

Buoy 41010 - Wave Conditions on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 (10:30 EDT)

The latest wave condition reports from the Cape Canaveral offshore buoy show the initial impact of Irene starting to fill in, with significant wave heights double what they were at midnight, and expected to continue building through Thursday into Friday.

Follow @buoy41010 on Twitter for real-time wave and meteorological reports from the station. A map of the Florida regional buoys is also available.