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Hurricane Hut

Irene - 2005

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Hurricane Irene Near Peak Intensity in the Atlantic

On August 4, Tropical Depression Nine formed from a tropical wave west of Cape Verde; the second Cape Verde Hurricane of the season, the first being Hurricane Emily. The system was expected to strengthen quickly, but it encountered dry air and wind shear as it turned to the northwest and it dissipated. Despite poor organization and shearing winds, it restrengthened and became Tropical Storm Irene for a while on August 7 and 8. However, another round of shear and dry air disrupted the cyclone formation, and Irene was downgraded to a tropical depression on August 8 Irene cycled between apparent reintensification and significant weakening, becoming so disorganized in the early morning of August 10 that forecasters were considering declaring that it had dissipated. However, the depression continued to move westward into warmer waters and shear free environment, and again attained tropical storm status, and then it rapidly strengthened to just under hurricane strength before leveling off again. Then, on August 14, an hurricane hunter aircraft read winds of 75 mph, making Irene a minimal Category 1 hurricane. Later, it strengthened even further in low shear conditions. On August 16 its winds briefly strengthened to that of a Category 2 hurricane, but shortly thereafter Irene began to reach cooler waters and weaken. It became extratropical 290 miles off Newfoundland, on August 18, having never posed a threat to land.