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 WatchingThisOne:


That should be about 15 miles SSW of Atlantic City, not SSE.


No that's correct according to radar. SSE...if it was SSW the middle of her center would be on the coastline.
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So hurricane irene is turning out to be bad news for those of us on long island, but in a different sort of way.

Irene has really pulled its punch for us. We've barely received 2 inches of rain when we were forecasted to get 6 to 10. The wind hasn't been that bad. I can't say much about storm surge and waves, except that it hasn't reached me a mile inland (phew). Problem is, everyone now has a false sense of security and thinks they can ride out any hurricane.
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Just to illustrate how there are still tropical storm force winds extending down in the clear portion of the southern side of Irene...a C-MAN station just off the coast of Virginia Beach is still measuring SUSTAINED winds of 50+ mph with higher gusts. That's almost 150 miles south of the center folks.
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985. JLPR2
91L had a bump on it's %.


2. UPDATED...SHOWER ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE SMALL LOW PRESSURE
AREA LOCATED ABOUT 160 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF BERMUDA HAS
INCREASED THIS MORNING. WHILE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE NOT FAVORABLE
FOR SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT...THERE IS A CHANCE FOR THIS SYSTEM TO
BECOME A TROPICAL CYCLONE TODAY BEFORE CONDITIONS BECOME EVEN LESS
FAVORABLE. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES
GENERALLY NORTHWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WITH SOME GUSTY WINDS COULD AFFECT
BERMUDA TODAY...AND INTERESTS ON BERMUDA SHOULD MONITOR THE
PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.



28/0615 UTC 29.6N 65.4W T1.5/1.5 91L
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.
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HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES...205 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 320
MILES...520 KM. LA GUARDIA AIRPORT IN NEW YORK CITY RECENTLY
REPORTED A SUSTAINED WIND OF 41 MPH...67 KM/H...AND A WIND GUST OF
64 MPH...104 KM/H. A SUSTAINED WIND OF 40 MPH...65 KM/H...AND A
WIND GUST OF 58 MPH...93 KM/H...WERE ALSO RECENTLY REPORTED AT JOHN
F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN NEW YORK CITY.

WATER LEVELS HAVE BEEN RISING RAPIDLY IN ADVANCE OF THE CENTER OF
IRENE...WITH RECENTLY OBSERVED STORM SURGE VALUES OF 3.9 FEET AT
SANDY HOOK NEW JERSEY...3.8 FEET AT NEW YORK HARBOR...AND 3.1 FEET
AT CAPE MAY NEW JERSEY.
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BULLETIN
HURRICANE IRENE ADVISORY NUMBER 32
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011
500 AM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011

...IRENE MOVING ALONG THE JERSEY SHORE...EXPECTED TO MOVE NEAR NEW
YORK CITY AND INLAND OVER SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND TODAY...


SUMMARY OF 500 AM EDT...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...39.2N 74.5W
ABOUT 15 MI...25 KM SSE OF ATLANTIC CITY NEW JERSEY
ABOUT 115 MI...190 KM SSW OF NEW YORK CITY
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 20 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...958 MB...28.29 INCHES
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Galloway police station (about 10 miles to the northwest of Atlantic City, NJ) just reported a pressure of 964.1 mb...and that is 30 miles NW of the center of Irene. Incredible for a storm with barely borderline hurricane force winds.
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5 AM update from NE NJ
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RECON just went into her center again, and still can't find real hard evidence of hurricane force winds occurring at the surface. Yet the pressures were still down around 956-957 mb...it's almost impossible, even with Irene transitioning to a mid-latitude type of system.
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Astoundingly nasty would be the words I would use to describe how this storm's ongoing landfall has turned out. Looks pretty bad, hopefully they can get power restored pretty quickly as it finishes passing.
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As reported on WABC News in New York, there are now 411,000 people without power just in the state of New Jersey.
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What I wouldn't give for a working webcam in Cape May, NJ right now...

Eye appears to be due east, pressure is way down, reports of water already across the beachfront road...

VERY good thing my mom evacuated. Where she is in Pennsylvania lost power late last night..
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
Quoting BoyntonBeachFL:
Just woke up to a Tornado Warning in Baldwin, LI, NY. As of 4 a.m., winds east at 43 gusting to 59 mph, pressure 29.14" and falling rapidly, 3.50" of rain, and 87,000 homes without power on LI.


Please be safe!

So I see that Irene is still packing a major punch in the NE. Appears as if the worst weather is occuring along the coast of New Jersey, southeastern New York, Long Island and portions of Connecticut...well to the north of the center as would be expected from Irene's convective organization. JFK airport is now receiving sustained 40 mph winds with gusts to near 60 mph. Based on RECON the storm is still a hurricane and is maintaining a pressure below 960 mb, which is just remarkable in so many ways. In fact, the southwestern side of the storm as noted by the hurricane hunters is unbelievably dry at almost all levels of the atmosphere. It's just an amazing phenomenon and I hope that the post-season analysis report can shed at least a little light on what could have possibly kept her pressure that low without an true inner core for almost 36 hours.
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H.Irene's_6amGMT_ATCF : Starting 27August_6amGMT and ending 28August_6amGMT

The 4 southern line-segments represent HurricaneIrene's path
and the northernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 12amGMT then 6amGMT :
H.Irene's travel-speed was 17.3mph(27.9k/h) on a heading of 21.5degrees(NNE)
H.Irene was headed toward passage over BeachHaven,NewJersey ~4hours from now

Copy&paste 33.4n76.6w-34.7n76.6w, 34.7n76.6w-35.5n76.3w, 35.5n76.3w-36.7n75.7w, 36.7n75.7w-38.1n75.0w, oce, aiy, 36.7n75.7w-39.555n74.241w, nj24 into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 28August_12amGMT)
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Quoting yonzabam:
Pouring rain in NYC already. This Times Square webcam is one of the best I've seen.


Link


Thanks, that's terrific!!!
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Has anyone else heard anything on the nuclear reactor shutting down in Maryland?

CNN's anchors had a bit of a freakout over it (and I don't blame them), because a reactor shut down because of high wind and part of an aluminum structure becoming lodged in the transformer of that reactor - per CNN.

The nuclear power company says everything is fine, though I'm sure they have to say that.

Just curious if anyone has been watching the news and heard anything in the last hour.
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Pouring rain in NYC already. This Times Square webcam is one of the best I've seen.


Link
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Quoting victoriahurricane:
Hey guys anyone know how long until Irene's center comes to NYC? Want to get some sleep, but wondering when to wake up lol


I finally convinced my mother in NYC to get some sleep but I am supposed to wake her up when she should get away from the windows...sigh...is anyone online here now in NYC? She is on Upper East Side of Manhattan and I am a wreck, usually she is watching storms coming for us in Jamaica not this way around.
I can be contacted at negriltracy@aol.com if anyone in the city has updates for me, I am too tired to keep reading all the posts here :(
Thanks guys!!!
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Quoting PCBBum:
Leave it to FOX news to be so concerned about how much money the casinos have lost!!!!!!!



Business is busines. It's not a dirty word.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 571
Just woke up to a Tornado Warning in Baldwin, LI, NY. As of 4 a.m., winds east at 43 gusting to 59 mph, pressure 29.14" and falling rapidly, 3.50" of rain, and 87,000 homes without power on LI.
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St. Mary's Dam Update

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/DC-Storm- Damage-Across-DMV-128535988.html


%u201CThe dam itself at St. Mary%u2019s River Park is holding well,%u201D said Christy Bright. %u201CThere is no imminent danger or possible danger with the dam itself. What is happening is that the level of the lake is rising, which is going to cause water to enter a spillway, which is a proactive measure to safeguard the residents from the dam and also keep the potential weight off the dam."

There is still a long way to go before the water crests and goes over the spillway. In that event, 28 residents could be affected. Those that can evacuate should. Those that can%u2019t should go to an upper level of their homes.
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Quoting KrazyKaneLove:


KK..that is good news


Speaking of reporting, I was looking back into the history of it and I think Dan Rather was the first to try and stand and report during a hurricane. I am not sure why he chose to do that but since then all of the reporters like to stand in puddles of water during storms and try and let the wind blow them away and encounter streakers. Sometimes you just to have to ask yourself why. After watching the TWC people all day yesterday standing in water being blown around, I was just wondering if Dan Rather inspired them to do that. I am glad that we have reporters but I think I would just set up the camera and stay inside until the danger passed.

Good luck to all of those affected by Irene.
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TORNADO WARNING
NYC047-059-081-280815-
/O.NEW.KOKX.TO.W.0008.110828T0748Z-110828T0815Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
348 AM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN UPTON NY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN NASSAU COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK...
QUEENS COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK...
KINGS (BROOKLYN) COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK...

* UNTIL 415 AM EDT...

* AT 348 AM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 8 MILES
SOUTHEAST OF LIDO BEACH...OR 10 MILES SOUTH OF MASSAPEQUA...MOVING
NORTHWEST AT 55 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
FREEPORT...LONG BEACH...OCEANSIDE...BALDWIN...ATLANTIC BEACH...
LYNBROOK...HEMPSTEAD...CEDARHURST...WOODMERE...VAL LEY STREAM...
GARDEN CITY...MINEOLA...ELMONT...KENNEDY AIRPORT...HOWARD BEACH...
JAMAICA...MANHASSET...LITTLE NECK...OZONE PARK...CLEARVIEW
EXPRESSWAY...GREAT NECK...FOREST HILLS...BAYSIDE...WHITESTONE...
FLUSHING...JACKSON HEIGHTS...LAGUARDIA AIRPORT AND ASTORIA

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A
WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS
AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN
INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO
COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 500 AM SUNDAY MORNING FOR
SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT AND NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST NEW YORK.
Member Since: November 17, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 527
Rackets get broken.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:

From: BethanyWoowoo


To: ShenValleyFlyFish
Date: 2011-08-28 00:33:55 (12:33 AM EDT)
Subject: Blog comment

Your blog comment is just disgusting. Co-worker abuse is never acceptable and certainly should not be bragged about on a blog. I am just very disturbed. I have read the blog for a long time and I respected you until that comment was made. You sir, are a criminal.

@@@@@@@@@@
MissippyWx

D@^^N you're clairvoyant! Got the #s for tomorrows Power-Ball?


from ealier, you seem fixed on Bethany?
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The latest http://live.reuters.com/Event/Hurricane_Irene3
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Manhattan, including Wall Street, could face further blackouts.........
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Irene cuts power to 2 mln, shuts refineries, nukes


2 million customers without power along East Coast

* Refineries, nuclear plants reduce operations, shut

* Storm threatens wider disruptions to New York City area (Adds ConEd quote, updates number of customers without power)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/28/storm-i rene-energy-idUSN1E77R00K20110828
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Wichita Falls, Tx

Cut and pastes from http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2011/aug/27/r ecord-breaking-temperatures-for-hottern-hell/

As a meteorologist at the National Weather Service told me a few weeks ago — this is ridiculous.


Presuming it hits 100 degrees today (a pretty safe assumption) this will be the 90th day in 2011 the temperature has reached or exceeded 100 degrees. Ninety days equates to about three months, or a fourth of a year.


We've hit 111 degrees a few days this season.
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How Does Global Warming Make Hurricanes Like Irene More Destructive?

Climate science suggests that global warming will make hurricanes like Irene more destructive in three ways (all things being equal):
Sea level rise makes storm surges more destructive.
“Owing to higher SSTs [sea surface temperatures] from human activities, the increased water vapor in the atmosphere leads to 5 to 10% more rainfall and increases the risk of flooding,” as NCAR Senior Scientist Kevin Trenberth put it in an email to me today.
“However, because water vapor and higher ocean temperatures help fuel the storm, it is likely to be more intense and bigger as well,” http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/27/306044/h ow-does-global-warming-make-hurricanes-like-irene- more-destructive/
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Looks like we might have a Labor Day storm too.

Link
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Quoting jamesrainier:


Using Firefox, right click, Copy Image Location, come to this box, click Image, Paste in box, OK, Post Comment



Exactly what I did, didn't work.
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Quoting scooster67:


Around 9am


It says 7 am on the blog, so what would it be blog time?
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954. JLPR2
Time to compare the...

EURO:

And the GFS:
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Quoting victoriahurricane:
Hey guys anyone know how long until Irene's center comes to NYC? Want to get some sleep, but wondering when to wake up lol


Around 9am
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Quoting txag91met:


IAH has had almost no rain this month---that is how... I live NW Houston and my davis got to 107.4F.
I live in Copperfield.. didn't even bother going outside today...
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Hey guys anyone know how long until Irene's center comes to NYC? Want to get some sleep, but wondering when to wake up lol
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Looks like night shift here. Gonna turn in. Goodnight all. Be Safe
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949. JLPR2
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Then it unrealistically turns it towards the ENE. BAM suite is pretty...off lol.


BAM suite is nuts. XD

Although the BAMD is pretty close to the SHIPS.
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948. JLPR2
Quoting Twinkster:


Round 2???


You got to save the image upload it to a image hosting site and then post it, we cant see them, that site disabled remote linking.

This is what we see:
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
How ju du dat?


Using Firefox, right click, Copy Image Location, come to this box, click Image, Paste in box, OK, Post Comment

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Quoting Twinkster:
Remote link disabled message on a black rectangle.
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All that hot dry Air from Texas is poofing Irene out.
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Round 2???
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Quoting JLPR2:
SHIPS's location of 92L in 120hrs is the opposite of the GFS's.

9.8N
37.6W
Then it unrealistically turns it towards the ENE. BAM suite is pretty...off lol.
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Quoting jamesrainier:


I just posted a map that was a png.
How ju du dat?
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.
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:
Strange. You see it in preview but it won't post. Guess you're right; WU apparently won't allow png files. That makes it complicated! But at least the link still works.


I just posted a map that was a png.
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Quoting LillyMyrrh:
Does anyone have an idea of what the conditions are like around the area of McGuire AFB, NJ? I have family there.

Mesonet Obs show as of 2:31AM EST McGuire AFB, NJ is reporting East winds of 24mph and 39mph gusts. SLP of 982.3mb
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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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