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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wtf
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Morning Aquake!
In Black Cloud, Elliot Klienbergs book about the '28 Okeechobee Lake storm, he had first hand accounts of bugs, snakes and all sorts of vermin sharing the same tree branches as humans trying to survive. To my astonishment, there vermin were not biting, just trying to survive.

Having watched Indian River up close during Wilma, I was amazed at how FULL of water the air two or three feet above the waves were. How marine mammals and sea turtles could breath was beyond me. Something else I saw was a juvenile pelican in the water being pummeled.. it had to face the wind as it's feathers wouldn't allow it to put it's back to the storm.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129903
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
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Quoting cindyker:

Thank you for the long beach cam. My cousin wedding is supposed to be here in 2 weeks. Hopefully it will still be.

Quoting aquak9:
Thanks for the cam links, aussie!

No worries. If I find anymore, I'll post the links.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
isnt 952 mb awfully low for an 85mph hurricane?
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Quoting KeyWestwx:

thanks for the udate! Keep em coming! What city do u live in?


North Caldwell
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Wait.... Look at the euro +240h, way out there, but if this happens won't storm 1 lift out NE and storm 2 would follow? and guess where? Does the euro go beyond +240h?

Link
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384. bwat
Quoting Swpepper:


I'm in Elizabeth City, about 2 miles from downtown. Power is on here. Just came back from a cruise around town actually, and didn't see a single location without power.
Must be local. Power for me comes down woodville rd. Lotta trees down that stretch, I'd guess thats where something went down.
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Quoting TerraNova:
Morning everyone! Reporting from NE NJ...

It's so freaking humid here, it's like the air has a thickness...

Clouds have started moving up from the south.

The KDIX radar (Southern NJ) is down due to technical difficulties, as if it couldn't have chosen a better time to break. Hopefully they have that up soon, in the meantime KOKX (Long Island) and the terminal weather radars in JFK and Newark are optimal for radar tracking once the storm gets up here.

Haven't gotten any rain yet though I see on radar a small squall has developed to our south.

Town maintenance was going around clearing storm drains yesterday afternoon. We also got a reverse 911 call from the borough hall warning us that they expect the power to go out and that they've set up a shelter at the local high school, probably for the neighboring towns which are in danger of flooding from the Passaic River which historically has overflowed very easily.

thanks for the udate! Keep em coming! What city do u live in?
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Quoting indianrivguy:


Good evening Mate!!! I think you are correct.. snoring to follow shortly.. :)

I think he is smoking a cigarette now.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting P451:


In western PA and western NY hundreds of trucks and crews of all kinds were already put together yesterday. They are awaiting the order to come east when it is clear to do so.

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.
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380. bwat
Neighbors tree went down. gonna see if I can upload a pic. taking it from inside the house so we'll see how the quality is
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Quoting bwat:
Anyone in here from the elizabeth city area by chance? Just talked to my father, he lives a lil south of me on Albemarle EMC power, and his is on. Im on Dominion power, wondering if EC has power or its just a local outage.


I'm in Elizabeth City, about 2 miles from downtown. Power is on here. Just came back from a cruise around town actually, and didn't see a single location without power.
Member Since: August 10, 2011 Posts: 5 Comments: 24
Quoting AwkWord:
Looking at the NHC position estimates since midnight, Irene is headed due north. If this trend continues this certainly has implications further north. If the center moves west of Norfolk the storm's winds could bring the surge directly into the mouth of the Chesapeake and up the western shores of the bay. The I-95 corridor in the mid-atlantic region could also receive significantly worse weather than currently expected.

Something to watch.


Irene still has alot of options.....unfortunately most of them carry risk to the populace.
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Quoting Tampa77:
I agree with some comments about the general feeling of the storm's impacts, and I am worried people up north won't be as concerned. My personal opinion of what I am watching unfold on TV/Live feeds, they are not really showing significant surge, wind, or flood in NC. I am not saying it is not happening outside of these news feeds, but people generally will look at what they see on TV...and might think this isn't so bad. Personally, I would have expected to see more surge. I hope no one let's their guard down. This thing is far from over.


I noticed that too. It borders on irresponsibility on the TV broadcaster's part. Hopefully they will get better info out today.
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Quoting wunderweatherman123:
euro also shows a qucik hurricane in the gulf


Is there a site that shows the Euro or is it software you purchase to have access to? Curious to see.
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Hurricane Irene Camp Lejeune Cam

Link

HurricaneTrack.com Live Video
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting aspectre:
aspectre "NHC has called a NorthCarolina landfall for HurricaneIrene...
...MRH is Beaufort-MoreheadCity and 12NC is Atlantic
Copy&paste 32.1n77.2w-32.6n76.9w,32.6n76.9w-33.4n76.4w, 33.4n76.4w-34.1n76.5w, 34.1n76.5w-34.7n76.5w, mrh, 12nc into the GreatCircleMapper for more info"

257 HurricaneHunterJoe "I'd call landfall Cape Lookout"

Yeah... and so did the NHC. And other than folks in MoreheadCity, Beaufort,and Atlantic, how many folks do you think have even the slightest clue as to where CapeLookout is?
Better to say, "~9miles(14.5kilometres) from Beaufort-MoreheadCity (MRH),
and ~15miles(24.1kilometres) from Atlantic (12NC)"
lololol well,im 1 for 13 with Irene so far......lol
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Quoting P451:


In western PA and western NY hundreds of trucks and crews of all kinds were already put together yesterday. They are awaiting the order to come east when it is clear to do so.


That's fantastic news. I'm sure RedCross and other assistance will be there to help feed and shelter the out-of-town folks who come to help.
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370. bwat
Anyone in here from the elizabeth city area by chance? Just talked to my father, he lives a lil south of me on Albemarle EMC power, and his is on. Im on Dominion power, wondering if EC has power or its just a local outage.
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Getting a lot of tornado warnings out of this thing.
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368. weld
From what I have seen on TV this story has usual been over hyped.
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Quoting MZT:
Nah. The surge is already blunted by the outer banks. SHe will degrade to a TS over the tidewater and Chesapeake regions.

It's a rain/flood hazard like Gaston was.


This is a big slow moving storm though. Change the expected wind direction from N to NE or East and you could get a pretty good build-up of water on the western shores. I don't think this is terribly likely but it is something to watch.

Also (just a pet peeve) why is a storm that has stayed on basically the same longitudinal line for over 8 hours said to be moving NNE by the NHC?

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Link

For anyone that's interested, this is right outside of Raleigh, NC. Thinking I may head indoors soon tho..
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2687
The water is expected to overflow this island.

Folks don't know how many BUGS there are! and those bugs will climb up anything to stay dry. Globs of antballs, as big as a grapefruit, rolling around on top of the water. Snakes and oil, chemicals and sewage.

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So far up in Williamsburg we're only seeing some slight wind and rain, nothing heavy here yet. We're watching Irene's track up the NC coast very carefully still, hoping she takes that predicted bend back to the east.
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Total Hottie!

I mean, err. um. the warm core advection is causing the storm to err, be stormy.

Don't you just hate the juvenile, immaturity, gosh stop it people..

Quoting Tampa77:
I agree with some comments about the general feeling of the storm's impacts, and I am worried people up north won't be as concerned. My personal opinion of what I am watching unfold on TV/Live feeds, they are not really showing significant surge, wind, or flood in NC. I am not saying it is not happening outside of these news feeds, but people generally will look at what they see on TV...and might think this isn't so bad. Personally, I would have expected to see more surge. I hope no one let's their guard down. This thing is far from over.
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Quoting bwat:
Power out here in Perquimans. Got the generator going. Don't know what time it went out, woke up and it was gone. So far so good, fairly strong gusts, I'd guess 40-45 mph? Scariest part of the morning so far was when I looked out the window to see what was going on and a twig flew into the window right in front of my face. I jumped like a little girl, you would of thought a tree was comming through the house. lol :)
It could have been. Keep away from the windows.
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Quoting Joshfsu123:
Winds are NE 8mph in DC - gusting to 18mph so far.

Rain shield is about 30 miles away from DC - going to move in in about 2 hours and then won't stop for a while...

Is there a washington monument cam?
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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.


No power is the worst and if you aren't part of grid that has emergency services such as a hospital you could be out for days or weeks.

After Andrew we had no power for 2 weeks and we did NOT see the full force of his wrath. Wilma made us powerless for 10 days and again she was not a major system blowing through my area. (Broward County/Ft. Lauderdale for both systems).
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I don't think Irene after all shes been through with shear,ungodly amounts of dry air,ULL's tugging,pulling,shearing, is going to say"ok i give up now and im going to dissapate because I went over 2-3 15ft high barrier islands,perhaps a few miles of land, im saying uncle". I'm not betting the house on that!!!.....lol
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Morning everyone! Reporting from NE NJ...

It's so freaking humid here, it's like the air has a thickness...

Clouds have started moving up from the south.

The KDIX radar (Southern NJ) is down due to technical difficulties, as if it couldn't have chosen a better time to break. Hopefully they have that up soon, in the meantime KOKX (Long Island) and the terminal weather radars in JFK and Newark are optimal for radar tracking once the storm gets up here.

Haven't gotten any rain yet though I see on radar a small squall has developed to our south.

Town maintenance was going around clearing storm drains yesterday afternoon. We also got a reverse 911 call from the borough hall warning us that they expect the power to go out and that they've set up a shelter at the local high school, probably for the neighboring towns which are in danger of flooding from the Passaic River which historically has overflowed very easily.
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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.
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Winds are NE 8mph in DC - gusting to 18mph so far.

Rain shield is about 30 miles away from DC - going to move in in about 2 hours and then won't stop for a while...
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Seaside Heights, New Jersey, most of you know it due to the show, thank you. We are a barrier island. The ocean is ROARING. Firetrucks are driving by ordering us to leave or we are on our own. I'm not going until about noon-ish. The water is expected to overflow this island. Oh, it's just a one and no big deal, say the people who refuse to leave: and I'm Justin Bieber!
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Complete Update

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI





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Wind Fields for Irene
Last Updated On 8/27/2011 7:55:34 AM



From BoatUS
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Quoting spayandneuter:


He is cracking me up! I could listen his prater all day!
Hope Oz doesn't fall asleep on the shore there. He said, he's rolling his seat back and going to relax and enjoy the moment of lapping water and birds chirping.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting TampaSpin:



Need to watch south of Puerto Rico.......very high Convergence there.
I was looking at that this morning. Seems to be a decent flare up of convection. Didn't see it mentioned so I didn't think it was possible for anything to develop there.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Brother Doug. Sounds like Oz might be about to fall asleep.


Good evening Mate!!! I think you are correct.. snoring to follow shortly.. :)
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Quoting P451:


Morning, Gro, nice image.

Going to be quite an interesting 36 hours up here.


Looks that way. The model has it going over right where I was born. I still have a little over 300 relatives on Long Island and a other places up there. A lot of people don't realize that a Cat 1 hitting that area moving so slowly can be much worse than us getting a Cat 2 in Florida. The flooding will be unbelievable. You stay safe. (and dry)
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Quoting Neapolitan:
WU's Weather Historian Christopher C. Burt has a great new blog entry listing all the tropical cyclones that have affected New England over the centuries.

Thanks. :)
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Quoting Tampa77:
I agree with some comments about the general feeling of the storm's impacts, and I am worried people up north won't be as concerned. My personal opinion of what I am watching unfold on TV/Live feeds, they are not really showing significant surge, wind, or flood in NC. I am not saying it is not happening outside of these news feeds, but people generally will look at what they see on TV...and might think this isn't so bad. Personally, I would have expected to see more surge. I hope no one let's their guard down. This thing is far from over.


From what I'm seeing on Facebook they're starting to get a little scared - which is good for the people who should leave where they are. I have some friends in Hoboken and they are being urged to leave. They really should just because the city is going to be very flooded.

I'm glad I left Wilmington as New Hanover County won't have power until at least tomorrow, apparently.
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Quoting indianrivguy:
sooo, was that brother Doug, or P-cola Doug talking to the Ozman

Brother Doug. Sounds like Oz might be about to fall asleep.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting OceanMoan:



Oh yeah, I forgot about the pole. I thought for sure that was coming down.

The light on it was swinging madly but it to didn't fall.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15979
Quoting AussieStorm:
Long Beach, NY Cam.

Southern Chesapeake Bay.


Atlantic City

Thank you for the long beach cam. My cousin wedding is supposed to be here in 2 weeks. Hopefully it will still be.
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sooo, was that brother Doug, or P-cola Doug talking to the Ozman
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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.

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