Irene sends 4.5 foot storm surge up Chesapeake Bay

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:45 AM GMT on August 28, 2011

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The eye of Hurricane Irene is back over water, after the hurricane completed a 11-hour crossing of eastern North Carolina. Irene came ashore over Cape Lookout, North Carolina at 7:30 am EDT this morning as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. The Cedar Island Ferry Terminal measured sustained winds of 90 mph, gusting to 115 mph at 7:19am, as measured by a Department of Transportation official. I suspect this measurement came when a thunderstorm near Irene's center collapsed, sending a powerful downburst to the surface. A trained spotter on Atlantic Beach, NC measured sustained winds of 85 mph, gusting to 101 mph at 10:35 am. The Hurricane Hunters measured 80 mph winds over water at the time of landfall. However, no regular weather station or buoy has measured sustained hurricane force winds in Irene, with the highest winds being 67 mph at the Cape Lookout, North Carolina buoy as Irene made landfall. Winds have peaked along the coast of Virginia, where sustained winds of 61 mph were observed at 6 pm EDT at Chesapeake Bay Light. Irene's passage over land weakened the storm slightly, and satellite loops show more dry air has wrapped into the storm. The radar presentation of Irene visible on the Norfolk, VA radar is still very impressive--Irene is dropping torrential rains over a huge area--but there is much less rain over the storm's southeastern quadrant, over water. Radar-estimated rainfall shows a 50 mile-wide band of 8+ inches of rain has fallen from where Irene made landfall at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, northwards to Dover, Delaware. Some isolated amounts of 15+ inches may have fallen, according to the radar estimates. Bunyan, NC has received 14.00" so far, and the towns of Washington, New Bern, Grifton, Newport-Croatan, Wonona, NC, all received more than ten inches. Norfolk, Virginia had received 7.73" as of 7pm EDT, and Suffolk, Virginia, 8.00".


Figure 1. True-color MODIS image of Hurricane Irene over North Carolina taken at 11:35 am EDT August 27, 2011. At the time, Irene was a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Storm surge damage from Irene
The storm surge and wave action from Irene is likely to cause the storm's greatest damage. High tide is near 7 - 8 pm EDT tonight, meaning that the storm surges occurring now will be some of Irene's most damaging. The highest surges measured at any of NOAA's regular tide gauges at 8 pm were 4.5 feet at Sewells Point in Norfolk Virginia and Oregon Inlet, NC. Higher surges are occurring father inland where narrow inlets funnel the storm surge to higher elevations. It remains unclear if the ocean will overtop Manhattan's sea wall at The Battery Sunday morning during the 8 am high tide. Latest storm surge forecasts from SUNY Stony Brook predict a peak water level of 2.4 meters above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) at 7:15 am Sunday, which would put the ocean right at the top of the sea wall. Presumably, waves from the hurricane's winds would then push some water over the top of the wall, but it is uncertain whether or not this would cause significant flooding. The storm surge was already 1 foot at 8 pm tonight. Storm surge flooding continues to be a major concern all along the coast of Long Island Sound; I recommend the SUNY Stony Brook storm surge page for those interested in looking at observed and predicted storm surge levels along coast New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.


Figure 2. Storm surge at Sewell's Point in Norfolk, Virginia as of 8 pm EDT Saturday August 27, 2011. The green line is the storm surge, which is the difference between the observed water level (red line) and what the water level should have been without the hurricane (blue line). At 8 pm, the storm surge was 4.5 feet. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.


Figure 3. Distribution of Irene's wind field at 6:30 pm EDT Saturday August 27, 2011, as observed by the Hurricane Hunters, land stations, and buoys. The right front quadrant of the hurricane had all of the storm's shrinking hurricane-force winds (yellow and orange colors.) Tropical storm-force winds (heavy black like bounding the light blue area) extended out 290 miles from the center of Irene over water, but very few areas of land were receiving tropical storm force winds. Image credit: NOAA/AOML/HRD.

Wind damage
The emergence of Irene's eye over water will slow the storm's rate of weakening, but the storm is under too much wind shear to allow it to intensify. The latest wind distribution map from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (Figure 3) shows that all of Irene's hurricane-force winds are on the storm's east side, and also the large majority of the tropical storm-force winds. When Irene makes its 2nd landfall on Long Island, NY on Sunday, coastal locations to the right of the eye will likely experience top sustained winds of 50 - 60 mph. Coastal areas of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and the New York CIty area will mostly see top winds in the 40 - 55 mph range, since they will be on the weaker left side of the storm. Winds on the upper floors of skyscrapers will be up to 30% higher, but I expect there will be only isolated problems with New York City skyscrapers suffering blown out windows. The winds from Irene in New York City will be no worse than those experienced during some of the city's major Nor'easter winter storms of the past twenty years.

Tornadoes
Four tornadoes have been spawned by Irene, two in coastal North Carolina last night, and two in coastal Virginia today. At least two homes have been destroyed, and ten others damaged by the tornadoes. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for all of coastal Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Links
Our Weather Historian, Christopher C. Burt, has an excellent post on Historic Hurricanes from New Jersey to New England.

For those of you wanting to know your odds of receiving hurricane force or tropical storm force winds, I recommend the NHC wind probability product.

Wunderground has detailed storm surge maps for the U.S. coast.

The National Hurricane Center's Interactive Storm Surge RIsk Map, which allows one to pick a particular Category hurricane and zoom in, is a good source of storm surge risk information.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Neapolitan:

TWC is bad--but not that bad. ;-)

Personally, I feel the 'W' in TWC has as much to do with weather as the 'M' in MTV has to do with music.



1000


Also, notice how commercial programming on TWC is generally standard day to day......they downcast alot but as soon as they flip the switch on and go into CONUS landfall mode they pull out the "special" commercial betamax tapes.....its State Farm, Serv-Pro, and hotel commercials.....Once they turn the red light on and Def Con 4 has been determined for a hurricane they completely tailor the channel to sell crap to adjusters.....
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Quoting Gorty:


If they do, then what will happen with every named storm after Jose?


Nothing, the rest of the season is unchanged.

Storms have been removed in 1950 and 1966, as they believed afterwards they were non-tropical.

'Mike' was the last in 1950 and 'Kendra' was the penultimate in 1966. Lois, the storm afterwards in 1966, did not change names or anything.
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Quoting Gorty:
Idk why the WMO replaced Katrina with such a scary name... Katia. lol.




....so we shall never forget.....
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Quoting Xyrus2000:
The Weather Channel: The Fox News of weather coverage.

TWC is bad--but not that bad. ;-)

Personally, I feel the 'W' in TWC has as much to do with weather as the 'M' in MTV has to do with music. In both cases, that was the initial premise, but things have moved far astray...
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Quoting txag91met:
47 mph wind gust LGA, 54 mph at JFK---I guess I lose.

was predicting 54 LGA, 65 JFK. I had the pressure right, 963 mb.



Any pressure records?
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Quoting odinslightning:



that's very well possible. All of us in the insurance industry understood that it wouldn't take big wind to do exterior damages to structures. Lax IRC code, dilapidation, and overpopulation were destined to create a cat with 5-10B+ damage across all states affected.

The Carolinas build for strong winds, they simply don't in the northeast.


But the carolinas didn't start the codes until after Hugo...been lurking for a bit...leaving...the complaining that people didn't get slammed like predicted is just nuts...only GOD knows everything, the fact that the storm weakened (thanking God) and did not innundate 10 states is a blessing but something that the models did not see...i think the deaths that are confirmed (Darwin or not) don't matter anymore...i am over it...hope that no one else dies from storms this year...whether it is 1,000 or just one...it did make a difference in SOMEONES life
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Quoting NavarreMark:
Poor Stephanie's gettin blown around on that boardwalk by the wind. Rather see her wearing a dress though.

Just sayin.



Stephanie isn't hot i don't think. Now get Jen Carfagno out there like Marilyn Monroe and I would be down with that lol
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Overnight Jose did have some good convection, and likely at that time T-numbers rose to 2.0 and it was then classified...at this point though, Jose looks to be pushing the limits with just very limited convection.
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1380. tkeith
Quoting aislinnpaps:
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/08/27/do-real ly -need-national-weather-service/

Wu is mentioned as being better than the NWS in predicting temps towards the bottom.
That page would not open for me, but turning NWS/NOAA to privately run, for profit companies, is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of.
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1379. Gorty
Idk why the WMO replaced Katrina with such a scary name... Katia. lol.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


heck, I coulda told you yesterday that NYC wasn't going to get hurricane force winds, all you had to do what stop by and ask ;)

Once Irene pulled away from NC, it pretty much lost all its hurricane force winds, but I think the really low pressure made them fear of hurricane force winds being brought down to the surface in bands.


What I don't understand, is that a 40 to 50 mph storm that has strong hurricane force winds just above the surface doesn't make it a hurricane. I'm not sure why the NHC kept Irene as a hurricane for so long just because those strong winds "COULD" be brought back down to the surface. Irene really weakened to T.S. status as it departed off the coast of N.C. if you ask me.




Let me tell you something, I live in Tampa Bay, and in 2004 we had hurricane Frances and Jeanne hit the east coast of Florida as strong hurricanes, but by the time they crossed the state the NHC downgraded them to a T.S.

Well, winds here maxed in the 50 to 60 mph sustained with gusts of 70 to 80 mph. Which is pretty much what maximum winds were after Irene made landfall.


I will stress again, strong hurricane force winds must be felt at the surface layer to classify a storm as a hurricane. A tropical storm with hurricane force winds just above the surface that could mix down is not the definition of a hurricane, which is essentially what the NHC used for a while to keep it a hurricane.

Why, I do not know, maybe for safety reasons in case the wind mixed down. However to most people, I think it will come back to bite the NHC because most people know it was not producing hurricane force winds for a while when they were still calling it a hurricane. You can't blame people for questioning and being upset, I can't blame you.



Extratropical storms typically have their strong winds just above the surface, so in transition the skyscrapers of NYC could get hurricane-force. But I think Irene has been downgraded.
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Quoting 900MB:


Exactly, wtf! I trust the NHC for accurate portrayal of weather conditions. This trust is broken.


I just visited, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/, and they are calling it a Tropical Depression. You might be dealing with update issues between private websites and the NHC official designation. Plus there is a lag between conditions on the ground and the NHC's updates.

I've read enough about cyclone forecasting to know that the greatest uncertainties are with intensity. NHC doesn't hide that fact. The track and rainfall amounts are coming in around what they predicted.

I am glad for the information they gave me over the last few days. My property is prepared and I am likely to avoid having water damage to my house.

I thank the NHC for the great work they are doing.
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Quoting islander101010:
negativity sells tickets how about this think of all the babys being started@!



now there's a good thought. People have some "quality" time with their lovers, and boredom equates to only 1 thing.....9 months from now there is a mini baby-boom across the Tri-State area.

There truly is a silver lining with everything in this world....

LMFAO!
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1372. Gorty
Quoting Cotillion:


I mean post-season. Storms have been removed from the TC database before.

Of course they won't, but the option is there if they decide to take up on it.


If they do, then what will happen with every named storm after Jose?
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The problem is when forecasters use words like "catastrophic" and "Storm of the Century" to describe a storm and it ends up being a 60 mph Tropical Storm people lose trust in forecasts.

Then the next time there's a storm they just blow it off.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Gov of New Jersey just said damage in the billions due to winds.



that's very well possible. All of us in the insurance industry understood that it wouldn't take big wind to do exterior damages to structures. Lax IRC code, dilapidation, and overpopulation were destined to create a cat with 5-10B+ damage across all states affected.

The Carolinas build for strong winds, they simply don't in the northeast.
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1369. zawxdsk
Looks like due to tidal influences, water at Battery Park will only go down at this point. Good news for them! Topped out at 9.51ft above normal.
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negativity sells tickets how about this think of all the babys being started@!
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Quoting breald:
Trying to get in touch with my family and every cell phone, home phone I call has no answer. :(

Use texting!
Member Since: July 24, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 156
Just another day in the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
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Quoting 900MB:


Exactly, wtf! I trust the NHC for accurate portrayal of weather conditions. This trust is broken.


heck, I coulda told you yesterday that NYC wasn't going to get hurricane force winds, all you had to do what stop by and ask ;)

Once Irene pulled away from NC, it pretty much lost all its hurricane force winds, but I think the really low pressure made them fear of hurricane force winds being brought down to the surface in bands.


What I don't understand, is that a 40 to 50 mph storm that has strong hurricane force winds just above the surface doesn't make it a hurricane. I'm not sure why the NHC kept Irene as a hurricane for so long just because those strong winds "COULD" be brought back down to the surface. Irene really weakened to T.S. status as it departed off the coast of N.C. if you ask me.




Let me tell you something, I live in Tampa Bay, and in 2004 we had hurricane Frances and Jeanne hit the east coast of Florida as strong hurricanes, but by the time they crossed the state the NHC downgraded them to a T.S.

Well, winds here maxed in the 50 to 60 mph sustained with gusts of 70 to 80 mph. Which is pretty much what maximum winds were after Irene made landfall.


I will stress again, strong hurricane force winds must be felt at the surface layer to classify a storm as a hurricane. A tropical storm with hurricane force winds just above the surface that could mix down is not the definition of a hurricane, which is essentially what the NHC used for a while to keep it a hurricane.

Why, I do not know, maybe for safety reasons in case the wind mixed down. However to most people, I think it will come back to bite the NHC because most people know it was not producing hurricane force winds for a while when they were still calling it a hurricane. You can't blame people for questioning and being upset, I can't blame you.

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47 mph wind gust LGA, 54 mph at JFK---I guess I lose.

was predicting 54 LGA, 65 JFK. I had the pressure right, 963 mb.

Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 750
Quoting Catoctin7753:


Massapequa is on Long Island, about 1/4 down the island's length, on the side facing the Atlantic. As for the exact location of the camera...that, I'm afraid I don't know, but I'd speculate it's likely looking over South Oyster Bay.


Pop culture ref -

The location was briefly mentioned in this movie: Link

Massapequa, New York - Wikipedia
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Gov of New Jersey just said damage in the billions due to winds.

O_O
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It may not have been as bad as predicted but it is almost certain that Irene's name will be retired she was after all a multi billion dollar storm that caused 10 plus deaths and close to 3,000,000 power outages and that still has the potential to cause hundreds of millions more in fresh water flooding damages I would put the odds at 10000 to 1 that she is not on the list in 2017
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The Weather Channel: The Fox News of weather coverage.
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Quoting Gorty:


I doubt they will change their minds. They know what they are doing.

Plus, changing their minds wont do any good because then what will they do with Katia if they change their minds with Jose?


I mean post-season. Storms have been removed from the TC database before.

Of course they won't, but the option is there if they decide to take up on it.
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1358. 900MB
Quoting zoomiami:
If the water is standing in the streets in NYC, wouldn't that mean that the subways are all flooded?

Curious as to the affect of this type of flooding there.


It has rained between 5" and 6" in NYC. We had record rainfall a couple weeks ago of 8" in one day and the subways were fine. BTW, the subways flood on a regular basis and the tracks, when properly maintained (which they are not) have drainage. Now, can I get my freggin subways back here?
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Gov of New Jersey just said damage in the billions due to winds.
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3141
Quoting zoomiami:


I agree with you Nea, so many are looking for the "ultimate" damage, that anything less is nothing.

I'm sure that the many people without power, with trees in their homes, and those who have been injured don't believe that this storm is nothing.


If people want ultimate damage, they can go to the cinema and see the shiny animation effects.

Afterwards, you can still eat your popcorn, feel dry and have a home to go to.
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1355. Dakster
Quoting Sfloridacat5:



I've just haven't figure that out yet. For quite some time there hasn't been 74 mph sustained winds with this s tsystem.
I guess you don't need 74mph sustained winds to classify a storm as a hurricane.

I would say the sustained winds are around 40mph with gust to 70 mph with this system. a Met said the highest winds with the system are well away from the center and gusting in the 60-70mph range. That should not be classified as a hurricane.



I thought that was the definition of a baroclinic low or extra-tropical or post tropical system.

NHC said that was going to happen yesterday.
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1354. Gorty
Quoting Cotillion:


Low pressure and tropical storm force winds occur in extratropical systems, mesocyclones etc etc etc.

There are other classifications as well. The NHC illustrated it believed there is sufficient deep convection for it to be upgraded.

That's debatable, at best.

However, the NHC has chosen to upgrade it and that's that. It can always change its mind at the end of the season if it so chooses.


I doubt they will change their minds. They know what they are doing.

Plus, changing their minds wont do any good because then what will they do with Katia if they change their minds with Jose?
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Quoting breald:
The wind was never going to be the real issue for the North. I hope all our Northern bloggers are safe.


I don't understand what you're saying. The wind is being a real issue for the north. Look at the number of people who are without electric because of downed trees, which are down because of the wind. We don't even know what the wind has done to areas outside NYC yet.
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3141
If the water is standing in the streets in NYC, wouldn't that mean that the subways are all flooded?

Curious as to the affect of this type of flooding there.
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Quoting zoomiami:


I agree with you Nea, so many are looking for the "ultimate" damage, that anything less is nothing.

I'm sure that the many people without power, with trees in their homes, and those who have been injured don't believe that this storm is nothing.


Yeah a got a little frustrated earlier. A few people I know on FB are posting things like : "NYC overreacting to Cat 1." Well 10 people are dead because of that Cat 1... I think that's kind of a big deal..
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Quoting Catoctin7753:


Massapequa is on Long Island, about 1/4 down the island's length, on the side facing the Atlantic. As for the exact location of the camera...that, I'm afraid I don't know, but I'd speculate it's likely looking over South Oyster Bay.


Watching the cam for a bit now. An hour ago the dock was above water and nothing over the sea wall. They should have bubble wrapped that plant. Lol
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1347. 900MB
I am in the middle of Manhattan. In a high rise, 10 stories above ground (shudder to think, according to TWC, it must be a hurricane at these high levels). Let's just say, you know it's not a hurricane when...
There is a dry patch on your terrace...when you have your windows open to try to get a breeze...when winds are gusting in the 30's!

Oh, and if I hear "it's a Cat 1, but it has a cat 4 storm surge" one more time...!!!!
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Quoting Neapolitan:

I guess for a ratings-driven entity such as TWC, that's the case. But the NHC isn't concerned about ratings or hype or whatever; from what I've seen--and I've visited the center more than once and gotten to know some of the people--it's just a bunch of professionals trying to do the a sometimes thankless and very difficult job as best they can with the tools at their disposal. They don't get bonuses for the number of storms they classify; they don't profit off of ads in each TWO; they don't have corporate sponsors pushing to have storms named ("This weekend: Hurricane Irene, brought to you by the good folks at Procter & Gamble!").

I received a WU Mail this morning accusing the NHC of being "domestic terrorists", since they scared the you-know-what out of everyone "for no reason at all". Egads...


yea...the word 'terrorist' is rapidly becoming meaningless
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TROPICAL STORM IRENE TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011
900 AM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011

...CENTER OF IRENE MOVES OVER NEW YORK CITY...

REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT AND NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATE THAT THE CENTER OF IRENE
MOVED OVER NEW YORK CITY AROUND 900 AM EDT...1300 UTC. IRENE HAS
WEAKENED TO A TROPICAL STORM AND THE ESTIMATED INTENSITY AT
LANDFALL WAS 65 MPH...100 KM/H.

SUMMARY OF 900 AM EDT...1300 UTC...INFORMATION
------------------------------------------------- -
LOCATION...40.7N 74.0W
ABOUT 0 MI...0 KM N OF NEW YORK CITY
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 20 DEGREES AT 26 MPH...43 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...965 MB...28.50 INCHES

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
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1344. breald
The wind was never going to be the real issue for the North. I hope all our Northern bloggers are safe.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
According to the New York Times and other NYC-based media, there are numerous major thoroughfares under several feet of water. Hundreds of thousands are without power. Countless trees have been toppled. The public transportation system is down. Some floodwalls have been breached. And so on.

It's human nature, I guess, that a) we are warned of a possible disaster; b) we make preparations to protect life and property; c) the event passes, and damage is minimal due to all the preparation; and then d) we whine and complain about how overhyped the whole thing was since damage to life and property was minimal.

I hope this isn't a dangerous new paradigm we're getting into: that unless a particular hurricane causes Katrina-level death and destruction, it's been "over-hyped". Now that would be a tragedy.


I agree with you Nea, so many are looking for the "ultimate" damage, that anything less is nothing.

I'm sure that the many people without power, with trees in their homes, and those who have been injured don't believe that this storm is nothing.
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9 AM advisory out now....Irene officially downgraded to tropical storm.


TROPICAL STORM IRENE TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011
900 AM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011

...CENTER OF IRENE MOVES OVER NEW YORK CITY...

REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT AND NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATE THAT THE CENTER OF IRENE
MOVED OVER NEW YORK CITY AROUND 900 AM EDT...1300 UTC. IRENE HAS
WEAKENED TO A TROPICAL STORM AND THE ESTIMATED INTENSITY AT
LANDFALL WAS 65 MPH...100 KM/H.

SUMMARY OF 900 AM EDT...1300 UTC...INFORMATION
------------------------------------------------- -
LOCATION...40.7N 74.0W
ABOUT 0 MI...0 KM N OF NEW YORK CITY
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 20 DEGREES AT 26 MPH...43 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...965 MB...28.50 INCHES

$$
FORECASTER PASCH


Anthony

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1341. aquak9
thanks for the answers about the mssapequa cam.
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1340. ncstorm
why did TWC just said they felt letdown because Irene wasnt a hurricane at landfall..Letdown?? most asinine statement they could ever make!
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15664
Quoting Dakster:


I do not trust any media outlet on it's own...


Trust but verify; it's too easy for someone's political and social bias to come through (not to mention their penchant for oversensationalizing to incerase readers/viewers).
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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.