Igor Visits NOAA Buoy 41044

A valuable sample of meteorological data was gathered Thursday evening as the center of hurricane Igor passed close to one of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s buoys maintained by the National Data Buoy Center.  The buoy, similar to the one pictured above, is moored in 17,600 feet of water located at latitude 21.652 N and longitude 58.695 W, which is a few hundred miles northeast of Puerto Rico.

The chart above shows the wind speed and air pressure as Igor passed by the buoy.  The barometric pressure trace (green) plummets to its lowest point, 27.8″ just after 00 GMT (8pm EDT) as the peak wind gust (red) reaches 85 knots (98 mph).  Shortly thereafter the wind gusts subside and the pressure begins to sharply rise.  The buoy also reported 38 foot waves and a water temperature of 83F.

Igor has weakened somewhat but remains a very dangerous category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph near the eyewall, hurricane force (74 mph) winds extending out 105 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds (40 mph) reaching out 290 miles from the center.

With the storm still forecast to move in the direction of Bermuda, perhaps passing over or very near the island Sunday evening, the probability of hurricane force winds impacting Bermuda has increased to 30%  with a slightly over 50% probability of storm force (58 mph) winds reaching the island.  A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Bermuda.  Large swells and dangerous rip currents are expected to reach the beaches along the mid Atlantic coast of the United States on Friday and last through the weekend.

Tom Tasselmyer

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