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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.

Posted by Lee Goldberg on August 26, 2011 | Permalink

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