Hurricane Irene Weakens on its Approach to North Carolina

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

Share this Blog
9
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 142 - 92

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22Blog Index

Quoting WxLogic:
Good Morning...


morning WX
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
50-55 mph gusts here. Reports from friends downeast of up to 8-10 ft surge up in the western end of the Neuse river towards New Bern. End of the Atlantic Beach pier has collapsed. 4-6 ft of water over the road down in Sealevel close to where storms making landfall. Power went out here for a while this morning but is back on. Reports of 175,000 without power from Progress Energy in eastern NC. We are 115 miles from the coast!
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24
140. HCW
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
watch this free 960 ground pressure http://www.ustream.tv/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I've never had luck trying to post links on this site.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 884
Quoting pottery:
Where is Presslord.
Is he sleeping through The Tempest????



Im not :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


looks a bit better
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hell.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 884
Man,Irene a tough lady,dry air ate 1/2 of her during the night and he mb dropping still, now 951mb,HHcoming into her center soon it appears,maybe she drops again? Shes got a set on her,Dry air all the way and look at her!!Nature can do som amazing things!! is 951mb a record for a cat 1 storm?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:
Where is Presslord.
Is he sleeping through The Tempest????



i get the same way when a cane is around. i get super super tired.....dunno why, it makes me wanna sleep like rip van winkle.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for the link, guys.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Aussie- thanks from me too!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


he left or stayed,do you know?


I think he left and went to Raleigh where his daughter(?) lives.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:


Link
thanks mate!! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


he left or stayed,do you know?

not sure last time he was on he was mad he put his shutters up for a fish storm then I haven't seen him on in last 24 hrs.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting breald:
Can someone send me an email with a link to OZ?


Me too, please.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
can u link it please, i watched him last night hes funny!!!!!!!!! i forgot to book it


Link
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Where is Presslord.
Is he sleeping through The Tempest????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jtownboy:

yes grandpa


he left or stayed,do you know?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Hey Mate!, How are ya, I'm watching Oz on stream right now.
can u link it please, i watched him last night hes funny!!!!!!!!! i forgot to book it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Ok, whatever dude, what you want, a medal?


i do do lolol i just love medals....lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting odinslightning:



that is not a bad idea. i also think the current coding system implies danger for only 2 facets of the reality hurricanes impose. i also believe miseducation and carelessness by most americans leads to misinformation. they hear cat 1, they have been shellshocked by smaller cat 1's and 2's in the GOM (like Gustav, that dont get me wrong affected a ton of good folks throughout South Central Louisiana (I worked claims around the Sunshine Bridge and other places too, effects were felt clear into La Place to Baton Rouge...) and then in the news one day, out to the back page the next, they have been shellshocked into believing "cat 1=nbd"....other factors are gonna come into play with this as well, especially if she comes into NYC proper with sustained cat winds. In Katrina around downtown there was absolute wind devastation above the top crest flood/crest line because the tall buildings pinched winds through alleys. it causes downbursts and increases wind speed dramatically. there are variables involved with n.j./nyc/boston/philly that aren't experienced as much in the deep south.....Not to mention the lax IRC building codes up the seaboard. Down here in the GOM we have to build way stronger due to the eventual peril we will experience.....Up there stuff is old, dilapidated, and isn't built nearly as strong....

so when you combine the variables....winds will have more of an effect of creating projectiles from dilapidated structures and less strict IRC building code, and the vertical structure of the populated cities is also going to cause more damage. I wouldnt wanna be on the 30th story of a building with the windows out in absolutely calm conditions at ground level, let alone during a t.s. or cat......



Exactly. The SS scale is just too limiting, I think.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 884
Quoting JustSouthofEquator:
Wow, for storm that is travelling the northeastern seaboard she is very slow


yup,13mph now,she gonna dump some rain on some folks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Can someone send me an email with a link to OZ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting odinslightning:




they would rather come in and think they are Alister Crowley with a protractor at the neck of a billy goat with the power of god in their wishes......they never fail to amuse me......lmfao
*Snort* I love a good Crowley joke.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Morning,
I just go up and had to check the cam to see if Topsail Pier was still there.

The atlantic beach people should talk to the Topsail people. That topsail pier is still there. Wow!
Topsail webcam Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FYI:

Product: NOAA Temp Drop (Dropsonde) Message (UZNT13 KWBC)
Transmitted: 27th day of the month at 10:19Z
Aircraft: Lockheed WP-3D Orion (Reg. Num. N43RF)
Storm Number: 09
Storm Name: Irene (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 32
Observation Number: 05

Part A...

Date: Near the closest hour of 10Z on the 27th day of the month
Highest Mandatory Level For Which Wind Was Reported: 850mb
Coordinates: 34.3N 76.6W
Location: 31 miles (49 km) to the SSE (164°) from Morehead City, NC, USA.
Marsden Square: 116 (About)

Level Geo. Height Air Temp. Dew Point Wind Direction Wind Speed
951mb (28.08 inHg) Sea Level (Surface) 27.6°C (81.7°F) 26.6°C (79.9°F) 165° (from the SSE) 8 knots (9 mph)
1000mb -449m (-1473 ft) Other data not available.
925mb 247m (810 ft) 26.0°C (78.8°F) 25.5°C (77.9°F) 190° (from the S) 7 knots (8 mph)
850mb 992m (3,255 ft) 22.8°C (73.0°F) 22.2°C (72.0°F) 185° (from the S) 8 knots (9 mph)

Information About Radiosonde:
- Launch Time: 10:08Z
- About Sonde: A descending radiosonde tracked automatically by satellite navigation with no solar or infrared correction.

Remarks Section...

Dropsonde Location: Dropped in eye.

Release Location: 34.31N 76.61W
Release Time: 10:08:55Z

Splash Location: 34.31N 76.61W
Splash Time: 10:12:05Z

Mean Boundary Level Wind (mean wind in the lowest 500 geopotential meters of the sounding):
- Wind Direction: 190° (from the S)
- Wind Speed: 6 knots (7 mph)

Deep Layer Mean Wind (average wind over the depth of the sounding):
- Wind Direction: 180° (from the S)
- Wind Speed: 6 knots (7 mph)
- Depth of Sounding: From 751mb to 950mb

Average Wind Over Lowest Available 150 geopotential meters (gpm) of the sounding:
- Lowest 150m: 160 gpm - 10 gpm (525 geo. feet - 33 geo. feet)
- Wind Direction: 195° (from the SSW)
- Wind Speed: 6 knots (7 mph)

Part B: Data For Significant Levels...

Significant Temperature And Relative Humidity Levels...
Level Air Temperature Dew Point
951mb (Surface) 27.6°C (81.7°F) 26.6°C (79.9°F)
943mb 27.2°C (81.0°F) 26.6°C (79.9°F)
895mb 24.6°C (76.3°F) 24.2°C (75.6°F)
751mb 18.6°C (65.5°F) 18.1°C (64.6°F)

Significant Wind Levels...
Level Wind Direction Wind Speed
951mb (Surface) 165° (from the SSE) 8 knots (9 mph)
947mb 205° (from the SSW) 5 knots (6 mph)
854mb 180° (from the S) 9 knots (10 mph)
751mb 180° (from the S) 7 knots (8 mph)
The highest wind observed in the "Significant Wind Levels" section is noted in bold.

---
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Bogue inlet pier is gone
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NHC might call it Beaufort NC for landfall.TWC showong they lost part of the pier in atlantic beach
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
gonna be atlantic beach for landfall?


Just East of Cape Lookout
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
didnt we have someone on here from atlantic beach?

yes grandpa
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Good Evening, Aussie!

Hey Mate!, How are ya, I'm watching Oz on stream right now.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
didnt we have someone on here from atlantic beach?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
gonna be atlantic beach for landfall?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
pressure drop,irene strengthening?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Ok, whatever dude, what you want, a medal?

Good Evening, Aussie!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dewfree:
Irene appears to be comming ashore right in the middle of the area i told you it would 905 miles out lol . maybe there will not be so much about the troll stuff on this blog . you can quote all the data you wont to and may be able to explain something about it but, a gift is just that .have a good day bloggers and thanks again to DR.Masters for this Blog.
Dew


Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow, for storm that is travelling the northeastern seaboard she is very slow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like what there is of an eye, is about to make landfall near Harkers Island, NC in about 30 min.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dewfree:
Irene appears to be comming ashore right in the middle of the area i told you it would 905 miles out lol . maybe there will not be so much about the troll stuff on this blog . you can quote all the data you wont to and may be able to explain something about it but, a gift is just that .have a good day bloggers and thanks again to DR.Masters for this Blog.
Dew

Ok, whatever dude, what you want, a medal?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting dewfree:
Irene appears to be comming ashore right in the middle of the area i told you it would 905 miles out lol . maybe there will not be so much about the troll stuff on this blog . you can quote all the data you wont to and may be able to explain something about it but, a gift is just that .have a good day bloggers and thanks again to DR.Masters for this Blog.
Dew


Why don't you go find the highest pedestal and jump off head first.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's ironic about TWC too.....people send in videos and they say "Good God...what are THEY doing out there right now....But Thanks John Doe from Moorehead, VA, you are on national television and thanks for doing what we told u not to do.....go outside....


Don't do that people, but if u choose to be stupid send your videos to "Screw It, Go Out There, Tape It".....you may get your video on T.V. and get 15 min of fame..... o.0 lmfao


the Top 10 entries from this hurricane will make it to the next round of voting for inclusion in the new 'Hurricane Week' specials we will tape here in Atlanta during the offseason. Just remember, we said the disclaimer, DONT GO OUT THERE.....kk back to you Al.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Irene appears to be comming ashore right in the middle of the area i told you it would 905 miles out lol . maybe there will not be so much about the troll stuff on this blog . you can quote all the data you wont to and may be able to explain something about it but, a gift is just that .have a good day bloggers and thanks again to DR.Masters for this Blog.
Dew
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting odinslightning:



that is not a bad idea. i also think the current coding system implies danger for only 2 facets of the reality hurricanes impose. i also believe miseducation and carelessness by most americans leads to misinformation. they hear cat 1, they have been shellshocked by smaller cat 1's and 2's in the GOM (like Gustav, that dont get me wrong affected a ton of good folks throughout South Central Louisiana (I worked claims around the Sunshine Bridge and other places too, effects were felt clear into La Place to Baton Rouge...) and then in the news one day, out to the back page the next, they have been shellshocked into believing "cat 1=nbd"....other factors are gonna come into play with this as well, especially if she comes into NYC proper with sustained cat winds. In Katrina around downtown N.O. there was absolute wind devastation above the top crest flood/crest line because the tall buildings pinched winds through alleys. it causes downbursts and increases wind speed dramatically. there are variables involved with n.j./nyc/boston/philly that aren't experienced as much in the deep south.....Not to mention the lax IRC building codes up the seaboard. Down here in the GOM we have to build way stronger due to the eventual peril we will experience.....Up there stuff is old, dilapidated, and isn't built nearly as strong....

so when you combine the variables....winds will have more of an effect of creating projectiles from dilapidated structures and less strict IRC building code, and the vertical structure of the populated cities is also going to cause more damage. I wouldnt wanna be on the 30th story of a building with the windows out in absolutely calm conditions at ground level, let alone during a t.s. or cat......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Good morning Pott. It is hard to believe we may have nothing to track come next week.

True.
And then by Thursday we may have 4 systems going.....
Weird season!

It has been strangely dry here. A little worrying for sure.
Record rainfall in June and up to second week in July, but since then we are below average by a good way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
what i worry about the most is idiots out in the streets of the major cities trying to get stuff filmed with cell phones and cameras when something goes flying and......then horrific bodily injury occurs. things can be replaced (for the most part, just make sure to protect the things that can't be replaced....) but your body is fragile.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwart:
Good morning, all.

With Irene, I was thinking maybe the NHC might think about updating/changing their warning system. Instead of just issuing the Saffir-Simpson scale for a storm when it begins to threaten land, perhaps they should issue a second rating, a "Threat Scale" as it were.

That scale could take into account the size, forward speed, direction, tides, barometric pressure, land features ahead of landfall, where the eye will be (landfalling or over water), etc. Maybe just a color code, i.e. Cat 1, Threat Red.

Some kind of married warning system would give a better picture to folks that just a SS scale would. Because this CAT 1 storm certainly will do more damage than say some small, fast-mover coming across the GOM and watering a dry Texas.



that is not a bad idea. i also think the current coding system implies danger for only 2 facets of the reality hurricanes impose. i also believe miseducation and carelessness by most americans leads to misinformation. they hear cat 1, they have been shellshocked by smaller cat 1's and 2's in the GOM (like Gustav, that dont get me wrong affected a ton of good folks throughout South Central Louisiana (I worked claims around the Sunshine Bridge and other places too, effects were felt clear into La Place to Baton Rouge...) and then in the news one day, out to the back page the next, they have been shellshocked into believing "cat 1=nbd"....other factors are gonna come into play with this as well, especially if she comes into NYC proper with sustained cat winds. In Katrina around downtown there was absolute wind devastation above the top crest flood/crest line because the tall buildings pinched winds through alleys. it causes downbursts and increases wind speed dramatically. there are variables involved with n.j./nyc/boston/philly that aren't experienced as much in the deep south.....Not to mention the lax IRC building codes up the seaboard. Down here in the GOM we have to build way stronger due to the eventual peril we will experience.....Up there stuff is old, dilapidated, and isn't built nearly as strong....

so when you combine the variables....winds will have more of an effect of creating projectiles from dilapidated structures and less strict IRC building code, and the vertical structure of the populated cities is also going to cause more damage. I wouldnt wanna be on the 30th story of a building with the windows out in absolutely calm conditions at ground level, let alone during a t.s. or cat......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmosweather:
Huge swath of extreme rainfall already in parts of SE NC.


There are inch an hour rain fall totals inland. 8+inches for storm totals. I Wonder if this storm will be measured in ft. before it's done
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

Good Morning!
Looks pretty quiet out there in the Trop. Atl. and the rest of the Basin.
Except for Irene, of course.
I am a little surprised at that, for August 27th!


Good morning Pott. It is hard to believe we may have nothing to track come next week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

Good Morning!
Looks pretty quiet out there in the Trop. Atl. and the rest of the Basin.
Except for Irene, of course.
I am a little surprised at that, for August 27th!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 142 - 92

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
68 °F
Overcast