Category 3 Irene Approaches The Carolina Coastline

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:19 AM GMT on August 26, 2011

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As of 200AM EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 28.7N, 77.3W, 460 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras. It was moving north at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 942 mb. Outside of the US, hurricane warnings are still in effect for Grand Bahama and the Abaco islands. In the US, hurricane warnings are in effect for the coast of North Carolina from the Little River inlet north to the Virginia border. Hurricane watches are in effect from the NC/Virginia border north to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Figure 1 shows the hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for Irene. Remember, a hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected, and tropical storm force winds will occur within 36 hours. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible and tropical storm force winds are expected within 48 hours.

To find out if you need to evacuate, please contact your local emergency management office. They will have the latest information. FEMA has information on preparing for hurricanes. FEMA also has a blog describing their response to Irene.


Figure 1 Map of watches and warnings taken at 1215AM EDT, August 26, 2011

Satellite Views
Figure 2 shows that Irene is a large storm, with outflow reaching from Florida to North Carolina. Irene's eye is visible in the infrared imagery.


Figure 2 IR satellite view of Irene taken at 100AM EDT, August 26, 2011

Track Forecast

Irene is forecast to make landfall on the North Carolina coast Saturday afternoon. It will likely be a Category 3 storm, with windspeeds around 115 mph. As Irene moves northwards through the mid-Atlantic region it will weaken considerably. On Sunday, Irene's center will pass through the Tri-State region of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, with impacts spread over a wider region due to Irene's size.


Figure 3 Official track forecast of Irene at 11PM EDT, Aug. 25.

Irene and Flooding
Six to ten inches of rain are possible along Irene's track from the Carolinas northward, with 15 inches possible in isolated areas. As a result, flooding is very likely. The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) has issued their Significant River Flood Outlook for the next five days shown in figure 4. HPC thinks that river flooding in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey is likely, while flooding along the rest of the northeastern US is possible.


Figure 4 Significant River Flood Outlook issued by HPC.

Impacts

Tropical storm forces winds will reach the southern North Carolina coast by late Friday, with hurricane force winds arriving Saturday. Within the hurricane warning area in North Carolina, storm surge is expected to be 5-10 feet above ground. This is our storm surge forecast map.

People living on the the east coast of the US from the Carolinas to Cape Cod should closely monitor Irene and be in the process of finishing their hurricane preparations. If you have not started preparing for this storm, start immediately. If an evacuation order is given, please follow it. Irene will be a large storm, impacting areas far from the storm center track.

Dr. Masters will have a new blog entry this morning, and there will be another blog this afternoon. There will be a special online broadcast at 430PM with Shaun Tanner, Tim Roche, Dr. Masters, Angela Fritz and me. Please email any questions you have to broadcast@wunderground.com. We will be taking phone calls at 415-983-2634. I'll be back with another blog entry late tonight.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Rob Carver

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First rain band is coming ashore at Wilmington NC!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
Complete Update

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI





Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
In wilmington, glad to see she will miss us, getting worried yesterday
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slightly better outflow and dry air backing off again..
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Recon has dropped a significant dropsound in the storm

981mb (Surface) 150° (from the SSE) 74 knots (85 mph)
980mb 150° (from the SSE) 75 knots (86 mph)
979mb 150° (from the SSE) 80 knots (92 mph)
966mb 145° (from the SE) 86 knots (99 mph)
962mb 150° (from the SSE) 94 knots (108 mph)
958mb 155° (from the SSE) 96 knots (110 mph)
952mb 160° (from the SSE) 104 knots (120 mph)
937mb 160° (from the SSE) 101 knots (116 mph)
932mb 165° (from the SSE) 111 knots (128 mph)
925mb 165° (from the SSE) 113 knots (130 mph)
918mb 165° (from the SSE) 107 knots (123 mph)
899mb 170° (from the S) 111 knots (128 mph)
753mb 180° (from the S) 102 knots (117 mph)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:


As expected, pressures are up...but as I said with wind, whats a few mb here and there.


Doesn't make a great deal of difference with a storm of this size and strength. But it is important to track the evolution of her intensity.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
For some reason the HH didn't do a drop in the eye...the NOAA plane that has done to passes found 943mb both times so I'm not really trusting this latest fix.
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RE: NOAA INTERACTIVE TIDAL SURGE MAPS ON WUNDERGROUND

read the disclaimer. those surge intensities are a model to define max potential given a storm category. it should be noted, the entire maximum surge illustrated on the map , cannot happen at once. consider the max surge potential like a rainfall probability forecast. if NWS is calling for 75% chances of t-storm in your area, that's t-storm occurence is for somewhere, anywhere in the listening area, not 75% of the entire listening area.
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Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them ?

During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms. Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.

Now for a more rigorous scientific explanation of why this would not be an effective hurricane modification technique. The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required. A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x1013 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. According to the 1993 World Almanac, the entire human race used energy at a rate of 1013 watts in 1990, a rate less than 20% of the power of a hurricane. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/C5c.html
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2060
good morning. irene has weakened to a 2 now?interesting and will it restregthen back to a 3?
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
Quoting atmosweather:
000
URNT12 KNHC 261214
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL092011
A. 26/11:45:30Z
B. 30 deg 00 min N
077 deg 19 min W
C. 700 mb 2638 m
D. 55 kt
E. 226 deg 42 nm
F. 299 deg 70 kt
G. 226 deg 49 nm
H. 947 mb
I. 13 C / 3052 m
J. 16 C / 3050 m
K. 5 C / NA
L. Ragged, Open S-W
M. C16

N. 12345 / 7
O. 0.02 / 2 nm
P. AF306 2709A IRENE OB 05
MAX FL TEMP 20 C 226 / 16 NM FROM FL CNTR
MAX STORM FL WIND AND MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 110 KT NE QUAD 11:57:40Z


As expected, pressures are up...but as I said with wind, whats a few mb here and there.
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Worst case scenerio for VA would be the GFDL track and a strengtheing Irene. Richmond would see wind destruction much greater then Isabel back in 2003
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Irene is looking very good this morning again... convection appears to be cooling around the eye with eye temps slowly warming.
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000
URNT12 KNHC 261214
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL092011
A. 26/11:45:30Z
B. 30 deg 00 min N
077 deg 19 min W
C. 700 mb 2638 m
D. 55 kt
E. 226 deg 42 nm
F. 299 deg 70 kt
G. 226 deg 49 nm
H. 947 mb
I. 13 C / 3052 m
J. 16 C / 3050 m
K. 5 C / NA
L. Ragged, Open S-W
M. C16

N. 12345 / 7
O. 0.02 / 2 nm
P. AF306 2709A IRENE OB 05
MAX FL TEMP 20 C 226 / 16 NM FROM FL CNTR
MAX STORM FL WIND AND MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 110 KT NE QUAD 11:57:40Z
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
Quoting weatherjr:
If in effect subways rats will exit from the tunnelsthat is a good reason to evacuate some parts of the city of NY. If rats do not exit then the danger will not be as worst as predicted. Learn from them (naturally). IMO this hurricane will not be as bad as predicted.


Oof, that would be a crazy sight to see...
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dang typo's , I'm not smarter than a 5th grader, I'll tell you that.

Quoting snotly:
time to play; Are you smarter than a Hurricane?

what's their prize Chuck?

Well today our contestants are pitted against their fascination with mother nature and their own underestimation of it's power vs. their very lives.

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387. PTXer
Quoting Chicklit:
Link to New York City Extended Outlook

I know this isn't a Gulf Storm, but wondering what happened to Patrap? He's usually Johnny-on-the-Spot with Hurricane Preparedness info.

Maybe still a little early for him? He's been putting up lots of radar loops so we can see the progression the last few days.
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386. HCW
...
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Quoting floodguy:
Atlantic City, NJ
high tide 7.34am Sunday 8.28.2011
tidal departure +4.55'

floodguy



the time of high tide and the expected arrival of the hurricane to Atlantic city seem to be one of the same

That's too bad....
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Quoting weatherjr:
Hurricanes are NOT responsible from people's stupidity. I mean we construct very near or even at the sea margin, also in flood prone areas such as Deltas and rivers... Old civilizations put emphesis on nature. We (today)put enphasis in progress and disobey all natural laws... Mother Nature will pass the ticket...


Uhhh your argument is stupid...ancient civilizations formed in river deltas and along the sea. The Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Indians and Chinese (the 4 earliest civilized societies) all built their cities and farmed the land along Rivers and the Ocean. we are essentially just continuing a human tradition.
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ATCF says winds are down to 90 knots, or mid-Cat 2:

AL, 09, 2011082612, , BEST, 0, 300N, 773W, 90, 947, HU, 64, NEQ, 80, 80, 50, 50, 1010, 325, 40, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, IRENE, D
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Quoting MrstormX:
When you think about it is a loss of 5mph really that big of a deal? Not really



i agree...people get too caught up in a number, or a map, or a best line of tracking, etc.....


everyone in the n.e. that has never dealt with a hurricane....if your reading this know this much......110-120 mph SUSTAINED winds will result in 150+ wind bursts, tornadoes will be all over the place, microbursts are common, etc.....

110 doesn't mean 1/2 way mellow.....your in for a terror ride, trust me, i live 15 miles from GOM in Mobile....Even when Gustav hit in Louisiana this place was black black skies, big wind, tornadoes, microbursts.....300 miles away from a way smaller hurricane...


Prepare now people, and if u don't, i feel sorry for ya.....
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
OZ is in Moorehead city!

I remember last year...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2060
The New York Times has an in-depth article speculating on the possible dollar amounts of a strike or brush by Irene. Just in the city alone, damage could be in the tens of billions (and that's not counting all the other potential billions up and down the coast in either direction). It's a good read.

(From something truly sobering, it conjectures that a hypothetical but extremely unlikely Cat 5 making a direct strike on Manhattan could cause more than $16 trillion in damage.)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
time to play; Are you smarter that a Hurricane?

what's their prize Chuck?

Well today our contestants are pitted against their fascination with mother nature and their own underestimation of it's power vs. their very lives.

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Quoting KeyWestwx:
Oh, that's not good. i made my Phiily friend check out the interactive storm surge map. He was very surprised and alarmed that parts of downtown were underwater. Most of Wilmington , De is also underewater when using this map. this is very alarmimg


Should be alarming.
Dr. Masters sent out a 'wake up call' yesterday.
This is a voice I trust so am chiming in with the chorus.

This is a very helpful link to pass along since this storm will cover a lot of territory before all is said and done.
Link Hurricane Local Statements

Anyway, better start working so will have to see what goes on later.
My apologies if I offended anyone.
I tend to get emotional so am only 'half-good' in emergencies.
Have a great day everyone.



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Good morning bloggers. I was wondering if anyone has heard from Baha? TIA
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Quoting atmosweather:
RECON data suggests the maximum winds are slowly inching closer to Irene's pressure center...down to about 45-50 miles from the center of the storm. We'll see if this continues and leads to the completion of her outer eyewall.


You've been doing a fine job on this, Atmo.
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OZ is in Moorehead city!
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372. MahFL
Atlantic City = doom !
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 4247
Anyone: How do I attach a photo to a comment? Thanks.
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370. Vero1
Quoting weatherjr:
If in effect subways rats will exit from the tunnelsthat is a good reason to evacuate some parts of the city of NY. If rats do not exit then the danger will not be as worst as predicted. Learn from them (naturally). IMO this hurricane will not be as bad as predicted.
What if they exit on the other end of the tunnel and you don't seem them?...You still safe?
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Link to New York City Extended Outlook

I know this isn't a Gulf Storm, but wondering what happened to Patrap? He's usually Johnny-on-the-Spot with Hurricane Preparedness info.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
I think Dr. Masters said yesterday that the storm surge will be one CAT above whatever the storm is due to the tides. Evidently Sunday is new moon when the tides are maybe 4-ft. above average anyway.
Oh, that's not good. i made my Phiily friend check out the interactive storm surge map. He was very surprised and alarmed that parts of downtown were underwater. Most of Wilmington , De is also underewater when using this map. this is very alarmimg
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When you think about it is a loss of 5mph really that big of a deal? Not really
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Here is the official NYC surge evacuation map. It's instructive.

.pdf file of NYC surge evac map
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I think there will be more prominent feeder bands soon, she needs them to develop
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Atlantic City, NJ
high tide 7.34am Sunday 8.28.2011
tidal departure +4.55'

floodguy

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RECON data suggests the maximum winds are slowly inching closer to Irene's pressure center...down to about 45-50 miles from the center of the storm. We'll see if this continues and leads to the completion of her outer eyewall.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
361. HCW
Irene models from the NHC

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I hope this don't turn out to be like Charley or Humberto as it nears landfall
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good mid morning. Unlike our smarter southern friends on the outer banks, we have little in the way of dunes on our developed beaches. The surge map looks very destructive for us. And NC 12 will unfortunately take the first shot.
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Quoting atmosweather:


It's going to end up being 2 Categories higher once you add in the spring tide and the huge size.



also note that building codes and the age/condition of the old construction through the N.E. area will in effect add a cat lvl to the devastation.
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Quoting Hhunter:
this is an ike like storm..huge size. category two high end does not describe. the surge will be beyond what you would expect of a 2. more like a 3.5 or cat 4 in surge. huge volume of water to be pushed do to size..look at some pictures from ike..if your on coast..you must leave


Yes, Irene appears to have 'other' characteristics than normal. After all, she is taking a vacation to New England in a warm, cozy 'Gulfstream.'
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
Beautiful Morning in Eastern NC today. You can see the outflow clouds this morning and they look just like they do on Satelite.

Seems to be going due north and is still at 77.3 west.

Hopefull if there are any wobbles or wiggles it will be to the East today!
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Best advice is the generic statement the NWS offices use, such as the one from TAUNTON MA


STAY CALM AND KEEP INFORMED. COMPLY WITH ANY EVACUATION ORDERS
THAT ARE ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA. IF YOUR HOME IS VULNERABLE TO HIGH
WINDS...OR YOU LIVE IN A SURGE ZONE OR ANY LOCATION PRONE TO
FLOODING...EVACUATE TO A DESIGNATED SHELTER OR RIDE OUT THE STORM
IN THE STURDY HOME OF FAMILY OR FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF EVACUATION
ZONES.

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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