Hurricane Irene Weakens on its Approach to North Carolina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:58 AM GMT on August 27, 2011

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As of 300AM EDT, Hurricane Irene was located at 33.7N, 76.5W, 60 miles south of Cape Lookout. It was moving north-northeast at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, making it a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Irene has a minimum central pressure of 952 mb.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the US Atlantic coast from the Little River inlet in North Carolina to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts. Tornado watches are also in effect for the North Carolina/Virginia/Maryland coast. Figure 1 shows the hurricane, tropical storm, and tornado watches and warnings for Irene. Remember, a hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected, and tropical storm force winds (greater than 34 mph) will occur within 36 hours. Tropical storm warning means that tropical storm force winds are expected in the next 36 hours, but hurricane conditions are not. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm force winds are possible within 48 hours.

To find out if you need to evacuate, please contact your local emergency management office. They will have the latest information. People living in New York City can find their evacuation zone here or use this map. 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 225AM EDT, August 27, 2011

Satellite Views
Figure 2 shows that Irene is a large storm, with outflow reaching from South Carolina to Long Island, NY. Irene's eye is not visible.


Figure 2 IR satellite view of Irene taken at 226AM EDT, August 27, 2011

Track Forecast

Irene is forecast to make landfall on the North Carolina coast Saturday morning as a category 1 storm with sustained winds around 90 mph. I believe that Irene's center of circulation will make landfall somewhere between Cape Lookout and Okracoke on the Outer Banks around 9-10 am. Irene should then move roughly north, along the mid-Atlantic coastline before making landfall in western Long Island. However, it is important to not focus solely on the track forecast. Irene is a large storm with a large windfield and equally large areas of storms and showers. It's impact will be felt over a wide swath of the northeastern US.


Figure 3 Official track forecast of Irene at 11PM EDT, Aug. 26.

Irene and Flooding
Six to ten inches of rain are possible along Irene's track from North Carolina north into New England, with 15 inches possible in isolated areas. Radar estimates indicate at least 5 inches have already fallen near Morehead City, NC. 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 from the Delmarva peninsula to northwestern Maine is likely, while river flooding in much of the rest of the northeastern US is possible.


Figure 4 Significant River Flood Outlook issued by HPC.

Impacts

Tropical storm forces winds are occuring at Cape Lookout now, with hurricane force winds expected on the North Carolina coast later today. Use this Wundermap to keep track of how the winds are behaving around the North Carolina coastline. Within the hurricane warning area in North Carolina, storm surge is expected to be 6-11 feet above ground. This is our storm surge forecast map. To see how high the tides are running, NOAA has an excellent page collecting all of the relevant tide gauges.

People living on the the east coast of the US from the Carolinas to Cape Cod should continue monitoring 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, unless it is unsafe to do so. Irene will be a large storm, impacting areas far from the storm center track.

Links

If you're curious about power outages, here are some maps: Dominion Power Outage Map (NC/VA), Progress Energy Outage Map (NC/SC), and NOVEC Outage Map (Northern Virginia).

Dr. Masters will have a new blog entry this morning, and there will be another blog this afternoon. I'll be back with another blog entry late tonight.

Stay safe,

Dr. Rob Carver

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So what's the effect of a 952mb, Cat 1 hurricane? Takes longer to dissipate?
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 137
441. h0db
Irene looks well west of NHC track on radar and most recent satellite imagery. Still think the hard right turn is happening?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Gearsts:
Cant see it:(


Refresh and you should be able to see it.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
Stay safe and goddess bless to all in the northeast from south florida! :-)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I think he is sucking on a fag now.


Really?
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Quoting Jtownboy:

you shold be fine and be on the weak side of the storm. That side of the storm has been very weak even in PR.and it was stronger then. but stay tuned just the same. imo
Flooding rains, Wilkes Barre. That's what you need to worry about. A friend of mine lives in an apt. complex 35 miles ENE of Philly (on a river) and they have to evacuate today.
Member Since: September 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
Quoting poknsnok:
isnt 952 mb awfully low for an 85mph hurricane?


twas wondering myself. whats the record low pressure for a Cat 1 hurricane?
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Quoting Grothar:
The ECMWF at 240 hours (Remember these are both very long range forecasts. They change from run to run.



The GFS at longer.

Cant see it:(
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Other side of eye hitting OZ now.

He's starting to finally get some wind.


EDIT: Must have just been a little squall. Seagulls are walking in the surf while OZ naps.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1113
If ever there was an example for why we need better research into cane intensity, Irene is it! Low pressure but low winds, unexpected fluctuations, and complex decisions with many lives on the line.

How are the surge levels panning out? Is NC at 3 feet or 13 feet this morning?
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#429 You are "blacked out", remote linking disabled

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Quoting ElLexo:
Any chance ex-TD10 redevelop near the Caribbean?
No
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
No matter how bad some think mankind has become there are always those ready and willing to help. After Ivan we had Linesmen and trucks come down from Canada to help restore power and the whole island was completely without power. Many countries assisted with all types of aid.
Stormwatcher- I recall a lot of the vehicles were supplied by a North Carolina utility provider, not sure which one though.My wife would make them sandwiches daily here in Savannah....(I supplied Red Stripe, LOL )they worked around the clock, as you know. It took 9 weeks to get the power back on where we were located. I know EE was a long time too?
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The ECMWF at 240 hours (Remember these are both very long range forecasts. They change from run to run.

The GFS at longer.

img src="">



<>img src="">


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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
Quoting AussieStorm:



Sorry, "Fag" is Aussie Slang for Cigarette.
I have since changed it, I hope I caused no offense.


From my point of view it was hilarious. No worries :)
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427. bwat
Quoting AussieStorm:



Sorry, "Fag" is Aussie Slang for Cigarette.
I have since changed it, I hope I caused no offense.
None taken, that would of only offended the ignorant and immature. On to Irene, winds have really picked up here in the last hour. I would say gusting to near 50 mph. EC airport about 10 miles NE of me reported a gust not to long ago of 69mph.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 338
Quoting AussieStorm:



Sorry, "Fag" is Aussie Slang for Cigarette.
I have since changed it, I hope I caused no offense.
LOL!!!!! I knew what you meant and i took no offense and I'm one them. I bookmarked the live cam site you posted for Atlantic City. Thanks for that!!!!
Member Since: September 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
The Weather Channel is a joke. Is Carol Burnett going to show up? It's like "Went With The Wind" Gotta go, I got me a dress to make. "Starlett, that gown is gorgeous!"...."Well I saw in the winda' and couldn't resist it.
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Quoting Grothar:
Nice blob in the Caribbean "dead zone"

img src="">




No a lot of spin but more than 3 hours ago. Link

Convergence is hign though
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Pressure is 982.8 here now.
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Any chance ex-TD10 redevelop near the Caribbean?
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421. Gorty
Western Mass here, my gusts can be up to 85 mph tomorrow! wow!
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Quoting NOLALawyer:


You should probably change that to "smoking a cigarette"' as there are plenty of people here who don't know exactly what that slang means. LOL.

Quoting indianrivguy:


nearly made coffee come out my nose....

Quoting scooster67:

You might want to say "smoking a Cigarette" LMAO

Sorry, "Fag" is Aussie Slang for Cigarette.
I have since changed it, I hope I caused no offense.
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Quoting poknsnok:


and the long range high pressure ridging thru next friday shows no recurving trof


Ouch.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
418. 996tt
Haha, the weather channel kooks have backed off on all of their crazy alarmist words and terminology. I wonder if they even feel a little bad bad about scaring the absolute bejesus out of a lot of people perhaps unnecessarily. Completely different tone today though.

Almost over emphasizing it will be weakening now and talk of picking up limbs and trash cans now opposed to everyone evacuate all tall buildings and millions at peril of death . . .
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Quoting TX2FL:
I'm in Wilkes Barre, PA about 85 NM from the ocean, the air is so still here, we always have a breeze due to our altitude. The birds are all flying about 3 feet from the ground, very strange. It's humid, hazy and I see some banding clouds. We are worried about wind damage/power outages and valley flooding here.

you shold be fine and be on the weak side of the storm. That side of the storm has been very weak even in PR.and it was stronger then. but stay tuned just the same. imo
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416. bwat
Quoting AransasBayRat:
I just woke up and checked the Topsail Pier. Happy to see it made it thru the night.
They just spent millions of dollars on Jeanettes fishing pier in Nags Head. It opened Memorial Day weekend. There is going to be some sick folks if that thing gets damaged.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 338
Quoting AussieStorm:

952mb would be a middle Cat 3 Hurricane.
Category 3
Sustained winds: 111–130 mph
Normal central pressure: 945–964 mb


Thanks for the correction. Much appreciated!
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Quoting oakland:


Yes, the pressure and winds don't match. If memory serves me 952mb should be a strong Cat 2 level (about 120mph). If my numbers are wrong I'm sure someone will tell me,

952mb would be a middle Cat 3 Hurricane.
Category 3
Sustained winds: 111–130 mph
Normal central pressure: 945–964 mb
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Quoting Grothar:
These are the two systems that the GFS and Euro are hinting at for development this week.



and the long range high pressure ridging thru next friday shows no recurving trof
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I think he is sucking on a fag now.

You might want to say "smoking a Cigarette" LMAO
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410. bwat
Quoting Swpepper:


Here's the outage map for Dominion Power Link

Looks like a fair amount without in Perquimans, and some spotty outages here in Pasquotank. I'll be honest, I'm surprised how long my power has stayed on...there's been many times it's gone out during a simple thunderstorm :P
Awesome, thanks for that. I uploaded that photo of the tree down to my profile, but its pending approval. Will link it when it goes through.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 338
Quoting dobler88:
Question for experienced folks--we are in northeast nj--about 13 miles due west of Manhattan. Our house has at least 5 very large trees and many smaller nearby--it is a very wooded area on a steep hill. Is it overreacting to be concerned about them coming down, now that the northeast side is more likely to be over LI? I'm considering having the family sleep on the first floor tonight, but need a reality check....it seems to me like it would take a lot of wind to take these trees down, on the other hand, they are completely saturated.....

(since we're on a hill and not near any streams or rivers, I'm expecting a basement mess and no power for some time--that I can deal with--but the trees are my only safety concern).

Thanks for input.
Honestly, I would be concerned and would monitor the situation closely. I'm a worrier when it's family and, like you, would be leaning towards having them sleep on the 1st floor.

Better safe than sorry.
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Quoting indianrivguy:


nearly made coffee come out my nose....
Hot coffee in the nose is a great pick-me-up...LOL
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1113
Nice blob in the Caribbean "dead zone"

img src="">
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
It looks like the COC is trying to wrap rain fully around its center though it just can't quite get there. It could possbily do it if the center stays over the warm bay waters which it appears to be doing. My guess is it's slim to happen with other inhibiting factors in play. Regardless, if anyone up North has any doubts of the intensity of Irene, what they need to do is imagine the worst Nor'Easter they have experienced, multiply that by 3 and slow the storm down at half the forward speed. That equals, Irene
Member Since: September 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 270
Quoting wilburo33:
If you have Directv you can watch local coverage of the storm on channels 259, 325 and 349.
They are showing a local news feed from Norfolk, Va


Thanks!
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
wtf


Message Date: Aug 27 2011 08:52:27
THE KDIX DOPPLER RADAR HAS FAILED. A TECHNICIAN HAS BEEN NOTIFIED AND IS ON THEI
R WAY TO INVESTIGATE. MG

Use KOKX (the Long Island radar) instead.
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These are the two systems that the GFS and Euro are hinting at for development this week.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 64 Comments: 23749
Quoting AussieStorm:

I think he is sucking on a fag now.


nearly made coffee come out my nose....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just woke up and checked the Topsail Pier. Happy to see it made it thru the night.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I think he is sucking on a fag now.


You should probably change that to "smoking a cigarette"' as there are plenty of people here who don't know exactly what that slang means. LOL.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Hurricane Irene Camp Lejeune Cam

Link

HurricaneTrack.com Live Video


Thanks for posting. We've been asking about friends up there but can't reach anyone. My husband spent the longest time stationed there during the 8 years he spent in the Marines.
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If you have Directv you can watch local coverage of the storm on channels 259, 325 and 349.
They are showing a local news feed from Norfolk, Va
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Quoting Patrap:


Precipitation appears to be becoming more vigorous near the center due to friction with land.
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396. TX2FL
I'm in Wilkes Barre, PA about 85 NM from the ocean, the air is so still here, we always have a breeze due to our altitude. The birds are all flying about 3 feet from the ground, very strange. It's humid, hazy and I see some banding clouds. We are worried about wind damage/power outages and valley flooding here.
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Quoting poknsnok:
isnt 952 mb awfully low for an 85mph hurricane?


Yes, the pressure and winds don't match. If memory serves me 952mb should be a strong Cat 2 level (about 120mph). If my numbers are wrong I'm sure someone will tell me,
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Quoting aquak9:
Many people won't be prepared for days or weeks of no electric. I had to convince my sister to go out shopping last night for supplies, to fill up her gas tank, etc.. The mindset is it won't be bad, a day or two, tops, of no electric.

So, everyone thinks they will be the only little neighborhood without power? That the local trucks will come by, re-attach that one power line, and all is well?

These folks have never witnessed convoy after convoy, 20-40 trucks long, electrical trucks with cable, baskets, heavy equipment, sporting American flags and state flags, hauling butt down the interstate.

You always know where they're headed, you wave, they wave back.
And you say a little prayer of thanks that they're there and willing to work themselves to the bone to put it all back together again!

My family and I volunteered in the kitchen feeding the majority of the Houston crews post-Ike and we will always be grateful for everything they did.
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Quoting bwat:
Must be local. Power for me comes down woodville rd. Lotta trees down that stretch, I'd guess thats where something went down.


Here's the outage map for Dominion Power Link

Looks like a fair amount without in Perquimans, and some spotty outages here in Pasquotank. I'll be honest, I'm surprised how long my power has stayed on...there's been many times it's gone out during a simple thunderstorm :P
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wtf
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.