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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Amazing, Irene made it to NYC as a Hurricane! Might be downgraded to a TS at 11 a.m. but still a Hurricane in NYC currently.
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1237. Seastep
Quoting charlottefl:
NHC said the water at battery park was 8.6 ft. Does that mean flooding is occurring down there?


That's weird because it says 9.5ft here.
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Quoting milo617:
Not sure if this was posted on here earlier, but on Fox "News" there is an article on killing the NWS.


FOX LINK



OMG

TWC is a viable alternative to the NWS?? This site "competes" with the NWS?

OMG

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
FWIW, Caribbean damage from Irene could total 3.1 billion. That includes damages to the islands, Bahamas (not Caribbean), and Puerto Rico. That in itself warrants retirement. The fact that NYC had to evacuate, as well did a big chunk of the NE coastline had to aswell.. Irene should be retired based on that as well. And it seems to be that Irene caused a pretty sizable amount of damage to NC and NJ apparently, so that will also probably warrant retirement.


I'd say the chances are close to certain. Klaus got retired after doing approximately a million in 1990, Paloma got retired after half a billion or so. Marilyn did 1.5 billion in 1995.

The only countries that wouldn't retire a billion dollar storm would be the US and Mexico as a billion, while still a lot, doesn't hold the weight it once did. A billion damage to Caribbean islands is high. Let alone 3.1 billion, if it gets that high. Have been a couple of storms to get above that, Luis comes to mind, but they're all rightfully retired.
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1233. zawxdsk
Sandy Hook NJ is reporting water 5 feet higher than the highest tide of the month or a total of 10' of extra water.
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1232. Lidio
Its 9.49 at the Battery...
I was under the impression that would mean it has gone over the barrier?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
just a gust front now with some rain if it was winter would of been a good fall of snow maybe when winter comes we can name a blizzard after p451we could call it blizzardcane 451


Yeah, the winds were similar with this past year's Christmas blizzard up here on the beach. I'm a bit relieved obviously. At high tide (7:16am) the winds were still from almost due east which helped us. The beach is oriented East-West so a southerly wind would have been worse.
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Quoting Zaphod:
Did the surge overtop any major floodwalls in LI or NYC?

On the today show they reported that in long beach island the ocean has meet the bay. but seems to be very little on the pics I see
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Does NHC get funded to hire a twit to run their Department of Obscure Geography? ???LittleEggHarborInlet??? as the NewJersey landfall point. That ain't even land.
And to get there, a hurricane's center would have to pass through either OceanCity or Longport. Or make an S-curve within 0.03degrees (a couple of miles) of travel.
AIY is AtlanticCity's (now closed) airport

The 4 line-segments represent (Hurricane then)TropicalStormIrene's path.

Looks like Irene is making the extra effort to make a tour through NewYorkCity itself.
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1225. MZT
Check out this road damage in Charlotte yesterday:



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Oh, except.....
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It was caused by a water main break, not Irene directly! 8-)
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Quoting Zaphod:
Did the surge overtop any major floodwalls in LI or NYC?


no
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Quoting milo617:
Not sure if this was posted on here earlier, but on Fox "News" there is an article on killing the NWS.


FOX LINK



reason # 60,540,201 why Fox News is terrible, and never to be taken as fact
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Quoting P451:


Yes, yes, that's well and nice and all. But nobody cares about all that.

There is one very important question and really only one question of value: Will it hit NOLA?

TIA






Absolutely positivey, prolly not.
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1220. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting osuwxguynew:
I'm a Long Beach, NY resident and I walked around earlier out and along the boardwalk. There is minor flooding in the first row of condos along the beach, but the rest of the island stayed dry. The wind seems to be peaking now, but there is only minor tree damage and we still have power obviously...
just a gust front now with some rain if it was winter would of been a good fall of snow maybe when winter comes we can name a blizzard after p451we could call it blizzardcane 451
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1218. Zaphod
Did the surge overtop any major floodwalls in LI or NYC?
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1217. milo617
Not sure if this was posted on here earlier, but on Fox "News" there is an article on killing the NWS.


FOX LINK

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Quoting Gearsts:
I cant belive this:A sólo un día de que se cumpla una semana del paso del huracán Irene por la Isla, unos 32,600 abonados de la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE) aún se encuentran sin el servicio energético, según los números oficiales de la corporación pública.

El director de la AEE, Miguel Cordero, dijo ayer en declaraciones escritas que de 1,569,769 de clientes, unos 1,537,169 ya tienen luz. Eso equivale a 98% de los abonados de la AEE. “El personal sigue en la calle trabajando duro para normalizar el sistema eléctrico lo antes posible”, dijo.

Su oficial de prensa, Carlos Monroig, estimó que hoy domingo podrían completar la reconexión completa, pero “si las condiciones del tiempo lo permiten”. “Si acaso quedara algo a principios de semana, pues se atenderá pero será mínimo. La meta es completarlo en el fin de semana si las condiciones del tiempo lo permiten”, reiteró Monroig.

People STILL don't have power?! #$@%!
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I'm a Long Beach, NY resident and I walked around earlier out and along the boardwalk. There is minor flooding in the first row of condos along the beach, but the rest of the island stayed dry. The wind seems to be peaking now, but there is only minor tree damage and we still have power obviously...
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Quoting odinslightning:



i agree we have had 10 deaths....unfortunately according to reports many of these could have been avoided. people outside when they shouldn't have been, out driving cars/trucks when a tree fell on them, etc....it truly is a pity.

that's my point, next time people will be more apathetic to large hurricanes and the death toll from stupidity could be dramatically higher.

i don't want a body count, i don't want too much hype but i always want people to be safe.....it's a hard balance to strike when people involved rarely have to deal with the decision making process many of us in the deep south are used to dealing with.

I also think that TWC and news services have to do a better job of controlling traffic around the areas where they are going to have live shots.....when you have a cat 1 (which is dangerous) and you allow public access to the area your shooting of course some idiots are gonna say "Hey Marge, lets go get famous and get on TV.....henceforth the drunks running around the guy down in Virginia while he was telecasting.....

I also have to say that in a strange way TWC says on the one hand...DONT go outside....but on the other side they say (and sometimes no later than 30 seconds later after saying don't go outside) if you happen to get Eyewitness Video e-mail it to this e-mail addy and you may also be famous.....So like a lot of our screwed up government they tell you to not do something but then they reward you if you go ahead and disobey their wishes......Kinda illogical if you ask me.
very true couldn't agree more
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1212. ncstorm
Good Morning Everyone..

I hope everyone in the path of Irene is staying safe! I hear Battery Park is already over flooding stages..
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FWIW, Caribbean damage from Irene could total 3.1 billion. That includes damages to the islands, Bahamas (not Caribbean), and Puerto Rico. That in itself warrants retirement. The fact that NYC had to evacuate, as well did a big chunk of the NE coastline had to aswell.. Irene should be retired based on that as well. And it seems to be that Irene caused a pretty sizable amount of damage to NC and NJ apparently, so that will also probably warrant retirement.
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1210. Gearsts
I cant belive this:A slo un da de que se cumpla una semana del paso del huracn Irene por la Isla, unos 32,600 abonados de la Autoridad de Energa Elctrica (AEE) an se encuentran sin el servicio energtico, segn los nmeros oficiales de la corporacin pblica.

El director de la AEE, Miguel Cordero, dijo ayer en declaraciones escritas que de 1,569,769 de clientes, unos 1,537,169 ya tienen luz. Eso equivale a 98% de los abonados de la AEE. %u201CEl personal sigue en la calle trabajando duro para normalizar el sistema elctrico lo antes posible%u201D, dijo.

Su oficial de prensa, Carlos Monroig, estim que hoy domingo podran completar la reconexin completa, pero %u201Csi las condiciones del tiempo lo permiten%u201D. %u201CSi acaso quedara algo a principios de semana, pues se atender pero ser mnimo. La meta es completarlo en el fin de semana si las condiciones del tiempo lo permiten%u201D, reiter Monroig
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Long range question... What is popping up in the GOM in 5 days? There was a model run that had something in the north GOM and now I see a rain model that shows something more than just large thunder storms.

I'm in Houston and watching Irene closely... Watch, listen and learn.
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1206. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
p451 sounds upset what you not happy with your little wind and rain storm
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Quoting stillwaiting:
,why would they put anemometrs in areas that would be obstructed,ive seen hgh wind reports in westchester during late falk cold fronts and nor'easters,if it quaks like aduck then its aduck,and irene aint no cane anymore and they dont want to deal with just ats hitting nyc,ithas to be declared a cane so the nhc doesnt feel like idiots,once again,can anyone show me a ofgical surface ob of hurricane forced winds,you cant because they dont exist!!


Wasn't referring to official observing stations..
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92L a threat to Bermuda and Newfoundland, says "new" GFS.
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Quoting P451:


Winds 50 gusting 60s right now ~30 miles north of the city.


However, see post 1069.


And thanks for the replies to it by some others already.

It really is a curious question that seems to be there frequently.


,i know where your at,remembr mygrandmas your neibor,didnt you have high wind warnings with higher gusts last fall or winter,my grandma told me their where trees down everywhere(cold front)??
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Just so you know ATCF got things straight:

AL, 11, 2011082812, , BEST, 0, 309N, 657W, 35, 1008, TS, 34, NEQ, 45, 45, 0, 0, 1012, 90, 30, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, JOSE, S,
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Irene has made many landfalls (Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cape Lookout, Little Egg Inlet, and now NYC). I wonder what the aftermath will be like in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
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Quoting P451:


Yes, yes, that's well and nice and all. But nobody cares about all that.

There is one very important question and really only one question of value: Will it hit NOLA?

TIA




As I see it,
the only question of value is: Will it hit any land, period?
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1197. IMA
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Its.. Jose now. Great scott, that caught me with my pants down around my ankles.

So you were the one mooning on TWC?
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Quoting charlottefl:


I think part of the wind issue may be anemometer obstruction, and /or improper mounting height. I know that can greatly reduce the winds that are displayed vs what is actually occurring.
,why would they put anemometrs in areas that would be obstructed,ive seen hgh wind reports in westchester during late falk cold fronts and nor'easters,if it quaks like aduck then its aduck,and irene aint no cane anymore and they dont want to deal with just ats hitting nyc,ithas to be declared a cane so the nhc doesnt feel like idiots,once again,can anyone show me a ofgical surface ob of hurricane forced winds,you cant because they dont exist!!
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Listening to Nassau and Suffolk County Police and Fire Department radios.......Flooding starting in Nassau county, roads closed.

LOTS of trees down and wires down, fires in transformers, guy stuck in rising water in truck, can't move because of tree down........more trees down on houses now........it's hopping there.
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Quoting P451:


Yes. It's so they could then upgrade TD11 to Katia when the time comes and model it to NOLA.


rofl
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Quoting Jtownboy:

so far the death toll is at 10 from a weak cat 1 so I would remind them of that fact.



i agree we have had 10 deaths....unfortunately according to reports many of these could have been avoided. people outside when they shouldn't have been, out driving cars/trucks when a tree fell on them, etc....it truly is a pity.

that's my point, next time people will be more apathetic to large hurricanes and the death toll from stupidity could be dramatically higher.

i don't want a body count, i don't want too much hype but i always want people to be safe.....it's a hard balance to strike when people involved rarely have to deal with the decision making process many of us in the deep south are used to dealing with.

I also think that TWC and news services have to do a better job of controlling traffic around the areas where they are going to have live shots.....when you have a cat 1 (which is dangerous) and you allow public access to the area your shooting of course some idiots are gonna say "Hey Marge, lets go get famous and get on TV.....henceforth the drunks running around the guy down in Virginia while he was telecasting.....

I also have to say that in a strange way TWC says on the one hand...DONT go outside....but on the other side they say (and sometimes no later than 30 seconds later after saying don't go outside) if you happen to get Eyewitness Video e-mail it to this e-mail addy and you may also be famous.....So like a lot of our screwed up government they tell you to not do something but then they reward you if you go ahead and disobey their wishes......Kinda illogical if you ask me.
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Just saw Jim Cantore in New York on The Weather Channel on The Weather Network in Canada.

Some outflow clouds, a brisk, cool wind gusting at times to 30 km/h in Southern Ontario, but very little texture and no rain, suggesting perhaps altostratus.

Irene still a hurricane despite beginning of extratropical transition, passing over New Jersey and its hurricane-force winds nearing NYC.

Once again, the formation of TS Jose was predicted days ago by GFS, which now predicts disintegration in Irene's outflow, despite a threat to Bermuda.

In the West Pacific, Typhoon Nanmadol is nearing a landfall on Southern Taiwan after weakening from a 155 mph Super Typhoon.
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Quoting Cotillion:
NHC do a very difficult job in often testing circumstances. Every call is hung on by millions of people. They often don't get enough credit.

However, it doesn't mean you can't scratch your head at some of the things they do.

Even other meteorological agencies do at times.

Oh, I'm not saying the folks at the NHC are above reproach or question; I'm just saying that the endless accusations against them of incompetence or hanky-panky are unwarranted in almost every case. That's all.
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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.