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August 2011

08/26/2011

IRENE JUST A DAY AWAY

 

 

  

IRENE WAS NEVER ABLE TO QUITE GET ITS ACT TOGETHER TO RAMP UP ITS STRENGTH DURING THE PAST 24 HOURS. IT APPEARS THAT INSTEAD OF GETTING A REALLY NICE, TIGHT BAND OF CONVECTION AROUND THE CENTER OF THE STORM, A WELL-DEFINED OUTER BAND MIGHT HAVE ROBBED SOME OF THE UPWARD MOTION AND CONCENTRATION NEAR THE CENTER OF THE LOW. THUS, THE LOWER PRESSURES MIGHT HAVE BEEN SPREAD OUT MORE. IN ADDITION, THE HURRICANE MAY HAVE BEEN FIGHTING A BIT OF DRY AIR WRAPPING INTO THE CIRCULATION.

IN ANY CASE, THIS IS STILL A VERY SUBSTANTIAL HURRICANE, AND WE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT LET OUR GUARD DOWN AND START DOWNPLAYING THE IMPACTS AND EFFECTS. KEEP IN MIND THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE WITH THIS STORM...ONLY THREE HURRICANES IN THE LAST 50 YEARS HAVE PASSED WITHIN 100 MILES OF THE JERSEY SHORE....BOB IN 1991, GLORIA IN 1985, AND DONNA IN 1960. THE LAST TIME A HURRICANE IMPACTED THE JERSEY SHORE AND LONG ISLAND THIS SEVERE WAS BACK IN THE MID 1950S WITH A COUPLE OF THE BIG STORMS THEN, AND ALSO DURING THE 1944 HURRICANE. SO, YOU CAN SAFELY SAY THAT MOST PEOPLE TODAY WERE NOT ALIVE THE LAST TIME IT WAS THIS BAD!

AS FOR IRENE'S STRENGTH, WE ARE NO LONGER GOING WITH A CAT 3 STORM, BUT RATHER A 2 FROM THIS POINT ON TO ITS LANDFALL. WE NOW ARE PREDICTING IRENE TO BE A CAT 1 STORM WHEN IT IS PASSING JUST OFF THE JERSEY SHORE AND MAKING LANDFALL ON LONG ISLAND. AS FOR ITS INITIAL LANDFALL ON THE OUTER BANKS OF NC, WE FEEL THAT WILL BE AROUND 10 A.M. TOMORROW JUST EAST OF CAPE LOOKOUT, NC, AND THE CENTER WILL THEN HEAD ACROSS PALMLICO SOUND. THE WORST STORM SURGE FROM THIS STORM WILL OCCUR IN EASTERN NC, ON THE ORDER OF 6-10 FEET. FARTHER UP THE COAST, A STORM SURGE PROBABLY WON'T EXCEED 6-8 FEET ANYWHERE. WE ARE THINKING THAT WATER LEVELS WILL PROBABLY BE 3-5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ON THE JERSEY SHORE, AND 4-6 FEET ON LONG ISLAND. THE COASTAL FLOODING SITUATION WILL BE MOST SERIOUS IN AREAS WHERE THE WATER IS FORCED INTO NARROWING "FUNNELS", LIKE BAYS, INLETS, ETC.

AS FOR THE WAVE HEIGHTS OUT OVER THE OCEAN, THE STORM IS NOW IN AN AREA WHERE THERE ARE A LACK OF BUOY'S. HOWEVER, WE BELIEVE THAT WAVE HEIGHTS OF 35-40 FEET ARE NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION TO THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE CENTER. AS IRENE TRACKS UP THE COAST, WE DO EXPECT WAVE HEIGHTS ON THE ORDER OF 25-30 FEET, AGAIN IN THE NORTHEAST QUADRANT OF THE STORM OFFSHORE.

AS FOR THE TRACK,

 

SPEAKING OF RAINFALL TOTALS, THE PARK IS NOW JUST 0.28" AWAY FROM THE WETTEST AUGUST ON RECORD. THE ALL-TIME WETTEST MONTH ON RECORD IS 16.85" IN SEPTEMBER OF 1882. THAT WILL PROBABLY BE BROKEN!

ONE LAST CONCERN WE HAVE ON IRENE IS THE CHANCE OF ISOLATED TORNADOES NEAR AND EAST OF ITS TRACK. THAT WOULD INCLUDE LONG ISLAND INTO SOUTHEAST NEW ENGLAND. FINALLY, WE HAVE TO STRESS THAT THIS HURRICANE WILL CAUSE A MAJOR DISRUPTION OF LIFE, AND POWER OUTAGES MAY BE ESPECIALLY WIDESPREAD AND LONG-LASTING, DUE TO THE LARGE EXTENT OF THE STORM'S INFLUENCE. IRENE MAY ALSO HAVE AN ECONOMIC EFFECT...TRIMMING THE GDP BY A TENTH OR TWO OF A PERCENT? A SPIKE IN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS? TEMPORARY RISES IN GAS PRICES? IT IS GOING TO BE A WILD RIDE!

THE MODELS ARE ALL IN VERY GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE TRACK OF IRENE...THEY SHOULD BE SINCE IT IS GETTING PRETTY CLOSE TO THE EVENT! HOWEVER, THERE ARE STILL SOME TIMING DIFFERENCES THAT HAVE TO BE RESOLVED. OUR PROJECTION OF RAINFALL AND PEAK WIND GUSTS HASN'T CHANGED MUCH SINCE YESTERDAY...WE REMOVED THE 3" OR LESS BAND OUT ON EASTERN LONG ISLAND...FIGURING THAT OCCURS A LITTLE FARTHER EAST. ALSO, WE TIGHTENED UP THE GRADIENT ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE 5" LINE. WE ARE STILL GOING WITH PEAK WIND GUSTS OF 80-100 MPH ALONG THE MD, DE, AND NJ COASTLINE, AS WELL AS ACROSS MUCH OR LONG ISLAND AND PARTS OF COASTAL SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. 100 MPH MAY BE HARD TO DO, BUT 80 MPH IS CERTAINLY A GOOD SHOT. NORTH AND WEST OF THERE, WE HAVE A 60-80 MPH ZONE, AND THEN WE DO TAPER IT DOWN A LITTLE FASTER TO THE NORTH AND WEST. HOWEVER, ALL AREAS, EVEN PRETTY FAR INLAND, ARE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A GOOD BURST OF WINDS OUT OF THE WEST AND NORTHWEST AS IRENE IS PULLING AWAY.

08/25/2011

HIGH RISK OF HURRICANE LANDALL IN NYC AREA

AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE WEEKEND AND THE INDIRECT AND EVENTUAL DIRECT IMPACTS FROM HURRICANE IRENE, THERE DEFINITELY MUST BE AN INCREASING SENSE OF URGENCY. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN STORMS ARE "HYPED" TOO MUCH. HOWEVER, THERE ARE OTHER TIMES WHEN YOU ALMOST CAN'T PLAY UP THE POTENTIAL ENOUGH. FOR THE BIG CITIES OF THE I-95 CORRIDOR, THIS STORM WILL HAVE MODERATE TO MAJOR EFFECTS.

BASED ON OUR CURRENT FORECAST TRACK AND INTENSITY PROJECTION. THE PATH TREND EARLIER THIS WEEK WAS OBVIOUSLY TO THE EAST. HOWEVER, THAT TREND SEEMS TO HAVE STOPPED AND NOW HAS ACTUALLY SHIFTED BACK TO THE WEST. IN ANY STORM, TROPICAL OR NON-TROPICAL, WE HAVE TO EMPHASIZE MORE THE IMPACTS RATHER THAN THE EXACT TRACK. THAT IS CERTAINLY TRUE. HOWEVER, IN THE CASE OF A HURRICANE, THE IMPACTS ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE TRACK.

WHAT WE KNOW AT THIS JUNCTURE IS THE FOLLOWING: (1) IRENE'S TRACK HAS BEEN ADJUSTED AT LEAST SOMEWHAT TO THE WEST OF WHERE WE HAD IT YESTERDAY. (2) THE HURRICANE'S FORWARD SPEED HAS BEEN SLOWED BY A GOOD 3-6 HOURS. THAT SLOWER SPEED DOES TRANSLATE TO A GREATER CONCERN FOR AT LEAST SLIGHTLY HIGHER RAINFALL TOTALS AND THUS A HIGHER PROBABILITY OF SERIOUS FLOODING.THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THIS STORM WILL PRODUCE TORRENTIAL TROPICAL RAIN AND AT LEAST SOME FLOODING PROBLEMS, ESPECIALLY GIVEN HOW WET IT HAS BEEN SO FAR THIS MONTH WITH ALL KINDS OF RECORD OR NEAR RECORD RAINFALL TOTALS IN A NUMBER OF LOCATIONS. IF SOME PLACES END UP WITH A FOOT OF RAIN OR MORE, LIKE WHAT WE SAW WITH "FLOYD" BACK IN 1999, THEN THE FLOODING COULD BE EXTREME. WITH THE SOGGY GROUND, THE ROOT SYSTEMS OF SOME TREES WILL NOT BE VERY STABLE. THUS, YOU WON'T NEED AS MUCH WIND TO TOPPLE THESE TREES AND PERHAPS BRING DOWN POWERLINES.

SINCE THERE IS A NEW MOON LATE SUNDAY EVENING, ASTRONOMICAL TIDES WILL BE RUNNING SOMEWHAT HIGHER THAN NORMAL ANYWAY. ADDING IN THE EFFECTS OF OF IRENE, WE DO EXPECT A STORM SURGE OF AT LEAST 3-6 FEET ALONG THE JERSEY SHORE...IF NOT MORE. IF THE STORM SOMEHOW TRACKS JUST INLAND FROM THE COAST, THEN THE STORM SURGE COULD BE ON THE ORDER OF 6-12 FEET! WE ARE GOING WITH A STORM SURGE OF 4-8 FEET FOR MUCH OF LONG ISLAND, WITH THE CHANCE THAT IT IS 10 FEET PLUS. WE WILL HAVE TO MONITOR THE TIMES OF HIGH TIDE ALONG THE COAST ON SUNDAY. ONE EXAMPLE IS ATLANTIC CITY, NJ. THEY HAVE A HIGH TIDE AT 7:17 A.M., AND ANOTHER HIGH TIDE AT 7:34 P.M. THAT MORNING HIGH TIDE TIME FOR THEM WILL PROBABLY BE THE WORST SITUATION. AS FOR THE STRENGTH OF IRENE WHEN IT MAKES LANDFALL, WE STILL BELIEVE THAT IT WILL BE A STRONG CAT 1 OR A WEAK CAT 2 HURRICANE AT THAT TIME.

AS FOR THE PEAK WINDS FROM IRENE, IT SEEMS LIKE A GIVEN THAT HURRICANE FORCE GUSTS ARE ALMOST A GIVEN NEAR AND PERHAPS EVEN SLIGHTLY WEST OF THE TRACK. FAR ENOUGH TO THE EAST OF THE STORM CENTER...ACROSS EASTERN LONG ISLAND AND COASTAL SOUTHEAST NEW ENGLAND, HURRICANE FORCE SUSTAINED WINDS ARE A GOOD BET FOR AT LEAST A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. AS IS OFTEN THE CASE IN STORMS LIKE THIS, THE WIND SPEEDS WILL DROP OFF FAIRLY QUICKLY TO THE WEST AS YOU TRAVEL FARTHER INLAND. HOWEVER, THERE COULD BE A FEW GUSTS OF 50-60 MPH ALL THE WAY AS FAR WEST AS THE DELAWARE RIVER, WITH A ZONE OF 40-50 MPH WINDS WEST OF THERE.

BASED ON OUR LATEST THINKING, HERE IS WHAT WE THINK FOR AREAS CLOSE TO

NYC...START TIME OF THE WORST EFFECTS: 11 PM SATURDAY - 1 AM SUNDAY.

END TIME OF WORST EFFECTS: 5-7 PM SUNDAY.

RAINFALL TOTAL: 5-10 INCHES. HIGHEST SUSTAINED WINDS: 50-70 MPH

HIGHEST WIND GUSTS: 70-90 MPH.

NOW, THE QUESTION IS...WHAT WILL LIFE BE LIKE IN THE AREA COME MONDAY MORNING AND THE START OF THE NEW WORK WEEK? AT THE VERY LEAST, THERE WILL BE AIRPORT DELAYS, SOME POWER OUTAGES, CLOSED ROADS FROM FLOODING, DOWNED TREES AND POWERLINES. IN A WORST CASE SCENARIO, THINGS COULD BE MUCH WORSE! THIS IS A FLUID SITUATION, AND WE WILL BE ADJUSTING OUR THINKING WHERE NECESSARY AS WE MOVE FORWARD.

08/22/2011

IT'S ALL ABOUT IRENE

THE WEATHER DISCUSSIONS ALL WEEK LONG AND INTO THE UPCOMING WEEKEND WILL BE HEAVILY WEIGHTED TOWARD TALKING ABOUT "IRENE" AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS FROM THIS HURRICANE ON THE EAST COAST OF THE U.S. HURRICANE IRENE WILL BE AFFECTING THE ISLANDS OF THE NORTHEAST CARIBBEAN IN THE SHORT TERM, AND THEN THE BAHAMAS ON WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY.

OUR WINDOW OF MOVEMENT FOR IRENE TAKES THE STORM EAST OF FLORIDA, WITH AN EVENTUAL LANDFALL ON THE CAROLINA COAST SOMETIME LATE SATURDAY OR SATURDAY EVENING. OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS, IRENE WILL BE MOVING OVER AN AREA WITH A FAVORABLE, LOW SHEAR ENVIRONMENT. PLUS, WATER TEMPS ARE QUITE WARM IN THAT REGION. SO, IT IS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT THIS STORM WILL RAMP UP TO AT LEAST A MAJOR CAT 3 HURRICANE. THERE IS EVEN A CHANCE THAT IRENE WILL BECOME A CAT 4 STORM.

WHILE OUR WINDOW OF MOVEMENT STILL DOES INCLUDE PORTIONS OF FLORIDA, IT IS SKEWED MORE HEAVILY TO THE RIGHT OF OUR TRACK. THAT INDICATES A GREATER PROBABILITY THAT IF THERE IS SOME ADJUSTMENT OF THIS TRACK, IT WILL END UP BEING FARTHER EAST THANFARTHER WEST. THIS FAR OUT, WE DO HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO MAKE ANY MAJOR CHANGES AND JUST FLIP AND FLOP WITH EACH RUN OF THE MODELS. THAT BEING SAID, WE ARE NOW THINKING THAT A LANDFALL SOMEWHERE ALONG THE NC COAST IS SOMEWHAT MORE LIKELY THAN THE SC COAST. IN FACT, THIS STORM COULD END UP HEADING TOWARD THE OUTER BANKS OF NC. SOMETHING TO NOTE ON THE STRUCTURE OF IRENE...ON ITS PATH THROUGH THE BAHAMAS, EAST OF FLORIDA, AND TO THE SOUTHEAST COAST, IT WILL BE CROSSING A FAIRLY UNIFORM TROPICAL AIR MASS. SO, THE PRECIP ON ITS WESTERN FLANK WILL PROBABLY DROP OFF PRETTY QUICKLY. HOWEVER, AS IRENE TRACKS FARTHER NORTHWARD AND EVENTUALLY ENCOUNTERS THE STALLED OUT FRONTAL BOUNDARY SOMEWHERE ALONG OR JUST OFF THE EAST COAST, THEN THINGS WILL CHANGE. WE ARE LIKELY TO SEE OVERRUNNING RAIN BREAKING OUT IN THE COOLER AIR WEST OF THE FRONT WELL AHEAD OF THE STORM ITSELF. THAT WET WEATHER WILL BE ABLE TO EXTEND FARTHER WEST OF THE STORM THAT IT WILL BE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN STATES. OF COURSE, THE EXACT TRACK OF THIS HURRICANE WILL DETERMINE WHERE THE BAND OF HEAVIEST RAIN SETS UP LATER THIS WEEKEND. NEEDLESS TO SAY, THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY RAIN ONCE AGAIN. WITH ALL OF THE EXTREMELY WET WEATHER WE HAVE HAD RECENTLY WITH RECORDS FALLING BY THE WAYSIDE, THERE IS A REAL THREAT FOR SERIOUS FLOODING...IF THINGS PAN OUT IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. ALSO, KEEP IN MIND THAT WITH THE GROUND AS WET AS IT IS, IT WON'T TAKE TOO MUCH WIND TO BLOW DOWN TREES. FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE LOTS OF TIME TO FINE TUNE OUR FORECAST AS WE APPROACH THE WEEKEND. IN THE MEANTIME, A NICE, REFRESHING NIGHT IS COMING UP WITH TEMPS DROPPING TO THEIR LOWEST LEVEL IN OVER TWO MONTHS. THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS LOOK QUIET, THEN OUR NEXT SHOT AT A SHOWER OR T-STORM WILL COME THURSDAY AFTERNOON OR EVENING AS A COOL FRONT APPROACHES FROM THE NORTHWEST. THAT FRONTAL SYSTEM MAY BE SLOWED DOWN SOMEWHAT WITH IRENE IN THE PLAYING FIELD. THAT IS SOMETHING WE WILL LOOK AT MORE CAREFULLY IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

08/03/2011

FINALLY NEED THE UMBRELLA YOU'VE BEEN CARRYING ALL DAY

WHAT WE ARE LIKELY TO SEE HAPPEN DURING THE REST OF THIS AFTERNOON AND INTO THE EVENING HOURS IS A BLOW-UP OF T-STORMS...SOME STRONG TO LOCALLY SEVERE, FROM SOUTHERN VA AND NORTHERN NC BACK INTO TN. THAT IS THE AREA THAT IS REALLY GETTING HOT AND STEAMY THIS AFTERNOON. WE EXPECT THAT SOUTHERN ACTIVITY TO ROB THE ENERGY AND MOISTURE FROM PLACES FARTHER NORTH FROM NORTHERN VA AND THE DELMARVA PENINSULA UP ACROSS MD, DE, MUCH OF PA, AND INTO NJ.

THEN, WE HAVE A SECOND AREA OF UPWARD MOTION AND ENHANCED PRECIP. THAT IS THE CLUSTER OF SHOWERS AND T-STORMS FROM LAKE ONTARIO INTO PARTS OF UPSTATE NY. THAT IS ASSOCIATED WITH A SHORT WAVE THAT IS HEADING SOUTHEASTWARD IN THE FLOW. SO, WE DO EXPECT A ZONE OF MORE WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND EMBEDDED THUNDER TO SPREAD INTO PARTS OF SOUTHEAST NY, FAR SOUTHWEST NEW ENGLAND, AND MAY PORTIONS OF NORTHERN NJ.

WE WILL HAVE TO KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THE RADARS DURING THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS TO FINE TUNE OUR THINKING ON WHERE THE BEST RAIN WILL FALL TONIGHT. AWAY FROM THAT AREA...BOTH TO THE NORTHEAST AND TO THE SOUTHWEST, THERE WILL PROBABLY JUST BE A COUPLE OF SCATTERED SHOWERS OR THUNDERSHOWERS. THE SURFACE LOW WILL PROBABLY BE SOMEWHERE ALONG OR JUST OFF THE DELMARVA COAST BY TOMORROW MORNING. WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE SYSTEM WILL LEAVE BEHIND PLENTY OF MOISTURE FOR AWHILE TOMORROW MORNING. THAT WOULD RESULT IN A CLOUDY OR MOSTLY CLOUDY START TO THE DAY, ESPECIALLY GIVEN A LACK OF STRONG DRY ADVECTION. IF THE SURFACE FLOW ENDS UP BEING MORE NORTHEAST THAN EAST TOMORROW, THEN THERE WILL BE ENOUGH DRY AIR THAT WORKS ITS WAY IN DURING THE DAY TO RESULT IN CLOUDS BREAKING FOR SOME SUN...AND A PRETTY NICE AFTERNOON WEATHER WISE. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE LOW LEVEL FLOW IS MORE EASTERLY, THEN CLOUDS WILL LIKELY HANG IN TOUGHER AND LONGER TOMORROW. OF COURSE, THE LATTER SCENARIO WOULD RESULT IN LOWER MAX TEMPS TOMORROW THAN THE EARLIER SOLUTION. EITHER

WAY, IT DOES APPEAR THAT WE WILL HAVE A STRETCH OF RAINFREE WEATHER TOMORROW NIGHT AND FRIDAY AS HIGH PRESSURE SLOWLY BUILDS INTO THE NORTHEAST, AND THEN ENDS UP JUST OFFSHORE BY FRIDAY NIGHT. DEW POINTS DURING THAT PERIOD WILL BE IN THE MODERATE RANGE, AND TEMPS WON'T BE TOO FAR FROM NORMAL FOR EARLY AUGUST.

OVERALL, WE EXPECT SKIES TO AVERAGE PARTLY CLOUDY TOMORROW NIGHT AND FRIDAY. HEADING INTO THE FIRST

WEEKEND OF THIS NEW MONTH, WE DO EXPECT HUMIDITY LEVELS TO GRADUALLY INCREASE AS THE AIR MASS MOISTENS UP.

THE OFFSHORE HIGH WILL PROBABLY KEEP US IN A PROTECTED ZONE FOR MOST, IF NOT ALL, OF SATURDAY. HOWEVER, SHOWERS AND T-STORMS WILL POP UP OVER THE MOUNTAINS TO OUR WEST. OUR WEATHER WILL GENERALLY TURN MORE UNSETTLED DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE WEEKEND AS HEIGHTS SLOWLY FALL, AND THE NEXT SURFACE COOL FRONT WORKS ITS WAY TOWARD US FROM THE WEST. WE DO HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO RUSH THAT NEXT FRONTAL SYSTEM THROUGH TOO QUICKLY, GIVEN THE FACT THAT "EMILY" WILL BE SOMEWHERE OFF THE SOUTHEAST COAST AT THAT TIME. THAT WILL ACT TO KEEP THE RIDGE PUMPED UP A LITTLE MORE TO ITS NORTH, AND ALSO SLOW DOWN THE PROGRESS OF ANY FRONTS TRYING TO COME IN FROM THE NORTHWEST.