Friday afternoon, a NOAA research plane not only sent back near real-time radar images from a hurricane for the first time, but also found maximum winds had increased to Category 3 intensity.
Hurricane Hunters have reported winds of Category 3 strength, but Danny may be peaking in intensity. The radar indicates Danny may be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, whereby an outer eyewall replaces the inner eyewall of the hurricane. If this is indeed happening, it’s helping to temporarily strengthen the storm, but would also portend a period of weakening ahead. Additionally the storm may grow some in size because of this process but will likely remain on the small side.
Regardless, the hurricane is directed squarely toward a wall of dry air and increasingly hostile upper winds, which together should work to weaken Danny as it approaches the eastern Caribbean islands later this weekend. Officially, the forecast is for a mid-grade tropical storm to be moving through the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Monday into Tuesday. Danny should be moving fairly quickly through the islands, so this could bring beneficial (but not flooding) rains to parts of the eastern Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, that need it.
As of now nothing suggests a significant threat to the U.S. mainland from Danny. That said, because it’s more than a week out and the steering pattern favors a continued westward track, it’s too soon to completely rule out any impact to the mainland.” By Stu Ostro, Michael Lowry, Dr. Greg Postel, Dr. Matt Sitkowski | Published Aug 21 2015 01:56 PM EDT | The Weather Channel, Full Report |