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 reedzone:
What's really awkward is that Katrina hit New Orleans 6 years ago today.. Now the Northeast is getting hit with another historic storm.
not today, Monday. She came ashore on the 29th.
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09L/TS/I
MARK
41.08N/76.05W forecast point





ALWAYS FOLLOW NHC/TPC FORECASTS FOR ALL WARNINGS REGARDING THIS STORM
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Quoting reedzone:


Your right, my mistake.. East of New Orleans


It's not your fault. It's the fault of the media for basically acting like Mississippi isn't even here. It's okay, though. We recover regardless and we don't need the pity of anyone.
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735. P451
Quoting dogsgomoo:

Any news from Seaside Heights area? The people I know started posting updates and pics earlier today and said they would go on through the night, but stopped about 4 hours ago. I'm hoping the silence is due to power being out and them wanting to conserve cell phone battery power. Oi vey. *shakes head*


Major outages down there I am sure. This map ends just north of them but I don't doubt it.

https://www.firstenergycorp.com/outages/outages.d o?state_code=NJ

Member Since: December 16, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 10202
wanted to note after watching CNN that VA got hit bad today from Irene..they said that their power could be off for a week..
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Quoting FloodingDownInTexas:
Link There is a decently sized region south of dover, delaware that is showing radar estimates of over 10 inches with extremely small spots of 15 inches in there, i haven't heard anything about delaware yet though, does anybody know what's going down over there?


National Weather Service reports show heavy rain and gusty winds across the entire state of Delaware right now...
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732. JLPR2
Should get interesting in the coming days.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Lol I wouldn't put any stock in the GFS 15 day run. Although to be fair the Euro locked on to Irene nearly 15 days ago, but it is the Euro.

What's the Euro showing now (does its forecast extend to 15 days?)
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Quoting j2008:

Igor looked alot like this and they kept him as a TC for a while, they have to make fully sure that a storms ExtraTropical. I think Irene is still Tropical and she will be till just after landfall in NY, shortly after that she should be classifyed ExtraTropical. Plus I dont think the NHC will classify her ExtraTropical before landfall because of the great danger factor in the storm. Nobodys gonna take an ExtraTropical storm seriously. JMO though.


ok
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729. TXEER
Good grief..if you watch TV...you'd think this was the worst hurricane in the history of the world...its a CAT 1 for crying out loud!!
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Quoting JohninRal:


Can you tell us newbies how to find those models?


Google hurricane models... There is a page from FSU, but I don't have it memorized. WUnderground will also have them as the system gets initialized. There's also a raliegh wx page, but again, have it bookmarked and can't remember it. Been here 5 years and STILL learning :)
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Quoting Tazmanian:
MississippiWx Irene really looks like its EXTRATROP now am not sure what the nhc is seeing


She's still warm-cored. She's not at that point yet and won't be until she's in Canada, most likely.
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726. BDAwx
Irene is really reminding me of Igor in terms of radar presentation, and low pressures but also unexpectedly low winds.

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Quoting MississippiWx:


Katrina didn't hit until the 29th.

And for the last time...Katrina did NOT hit New Orleans. New Orleans was affected for sure, but she went well east of New Orleans. Came ashore in Buras, LA and made final landfall in MS where she wiped the MS Coastal area off the map.


Your right, my mistake.. East of New Orleans
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Which model was the best with Irene? I am guessing the Euro??
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Quoting Chicklit:

The low-level center is now south of the convection!

SHEAR SHEAR!
Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 750
Quoting JohninRal:


Can you tell us newbies how to find those models?


Well I'd be careful not go get too hooked on the long range model runs...I mean the GFDL model was way off in the beginning with Irene taking her into the Gulf of Mexico in the beginning...not even close....
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721. j2008
Quoting Tazmanian:
Irene really looks like its EXTRATROP now am not sure what the nhc is seeing

Igor looked alot like this and they kept him as a TC for a while, they have to make fully sure that a storms ExtraTropical. I think Irene is still Tropical and she will be till just after landfall in NY, shortly after that she should be classifyed ExtraTropical. Plus I dont think the NHC will classify her ExtraTropical before landfall because of the great danger factor in the storm. Nobodys gonna take an ExtraTropical storm seriously. JMO though.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


I believe Katrina made landfall on the 29th (a memorable day for me) and although this storm could be damaging it's no Katrina.


It may not be Katrina.. but this is (according to the experts) a historic storm, storm of a lifetime. It's not every Hurricane Season you see a Hurricane head straight for NYC. Pressure at Category 3 strength = very intense system. Don't focus on the winds, focus on the size and power of Irene. Likely to be retired and go into the record books along with Gloria, Bob, and the Great Atlantic Hurricane.
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MississippiWx Irene really looks like its EXTRATROP now am not sure what the nhc is seeing
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718. JLPR2
Quoting BrockBerlin:


Lol I wouldn't put any stock in the GFS 15 day run. Although to be fair the Euro locked on to Irene nearly 15 days ago, but it is the Euro.


If I remember correctly the GFS was the first one to show Irene.
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Press,

Still no word from our friend living near Rich's Inlet, NC??? I hope the flooding was not more than expected for them.

Try texting them. Sometimes that will get through when voice doesn't.
Member Since: July 24, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 156
The all clear will be given for the GOM at 1am CDT.
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Quoting NOVArules:


The models predict that the "K" storm of this year will hit Louisiana as a major! And this is the K storm that is replacing Katrina, nature is a troll.


Louisiana politely declines the invitation.
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3159
Quoting BrockBerlin:


Lol I wouldn't put any stock in the GFS 15 day run. Although to be fair the Euro locked on to Irene nearly 15 days ago, but it is the Euro.


Euro has been predicting something for the past 3 days, and isn't showing much of a curve... Shushing again :)
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Quoting reedzone:
What's really awkward is that Katrina hit New Orleans 6 years ago today.. Now the Northeast is getting hit with another historic storm.


Katrina didn't hit until the 29th.

And for the last time...Katrina did NOT hit New Orleans. New Orleans was affected for sure, but she went well east of New Orleans. Came ashore in Buras, LA and made final landfall in MS where she wiped the MS Coastal area off the map.
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Quoting NOVArules:


The models predict that the "K" storm of this year will hit Louisiana as a major! And this is the K storm that is replacing Katrina, nature is a troll.


Can you tell us newbies how to find those models?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
Irene really looks like its EXTRATROP now am not sure what the nhc is seeing
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Quoting NOVArules:


The models predict that the "K" storm of this year will hit Louisiana as a major! And this is the K storm that is replacing Katrina, nature is a troll.


Lol I wouldn't put any stock in the GFS 15 day run. Although to be fair the Euro locked on to Irene nearly 15 days ago, but it is the Euro.
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Quoting P451:
A couple of texts from Monmouth County NJ where I grew up and lived mostly until moving this past year to NY.

Torrential downpours and winds in the 60s and 70s with tree damage occurring. Power on and off.

Up here in NY - Ossining/Croton border it's heavy rain gusting in the 30s to near 40 occasionally.


Per the observations I summarized in comment 673...not surprising....the wind field with this storm is gigantic...the entire state of NJ will get swamped by this wind field...they are deep in the midst of this one....NYC and then further up the coast (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and into Canada) next in line...
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Quoting reedzone:
What's really awkward is that Katrina hit New Orleans 6 years ago today.. Now the Northeast is getting hit with another historic storm.


The models predict that the "K" storm of this year will hit Louisiana as a major! And this is the K storm that is replacing Katrina, nature is a troll.
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Link There is a decently sized region south of dover, delaware that is showing radar estimates of over 10 inches with extremely small spots of 15 inches in there, i haven't heard anything about delaware yet though, does anybody know what's going down over there?
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Quoting txag91met:


It is just weather...1938, 1944 storm were worse...1938 was a CAT 3! How did that happen over 75F water!


I believed it moved very fast hence the name "The Long Island Express"
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Quoting presslord:


if you're referring to Charity Navigator etc...we're on some...not others...it's up to them to list us...

No, the 1's that verify dollars in and dollars out. Red cros was the biggest violator for many years, but now they know how to cook/alter disseminate funds.
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Irene really looks like its EXTRATROP now am not sure what the nhc is seeing
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MA Nature - she is a powerful mistress, full of surprises.
Quoting txag91met:


It is just weather...1938, 1944 storm were worse...1938 was a CAT 3! How did that happen over 75F water!
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Quoting P451:
A couple of texts from Monmouth County NJ where I grew up and lived mostly until moving this past year to NY.

Torrential downpours and winds in the 60s and 70s with tree damage occurring. Power on and off.

Up here in NY - Ossining/Croton border it's heavy rain gusting in the 30s to near 40 occasionally.

Any news from Seaside Heights area? The people I know started posting updates and pics earlier today and said they would go on through the night, but stopped about 4 hours ago. I'm hoping the silence is due to power being out and them wanting to conserve cell phone battery power. Oi vey. *shakes head*
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http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/summit.php

Today is the calm before the storm, as Hurricane Irene gears up for a strike on New England tomorrow. The summits will be in and out of fog today as a weak cold front drops southward, which could spark off afternoon rain showers. In the meantime, Hurricane Irene will ride up the eastern seaboard today and tonight, opening the floodgates for a steady stream of tropical moisture overnight. Fog will return, and Irene's outer rain bands will reach the area overnight, with the storm's center just off the Jersey shore. Irene will continue its north-northeastward movement and weaken to a tropical storm as it makes landfall Sunday afternoon on the Connecticut coastline, producing torrential rains across the higher summits tomorrow. Extremely high rainfall totals are fully anticipated, with amounts in excess of 6-8" possible. Winds, which will remain relatively light through the first 24 hours of the forecast period, will rapidly accelerate tomorrow, gusting in excess of hurricane force by afternoon as Irene's center makes an extremely close pass to the summits tomorrow evening.

Hurricane Irene remains a dangerous threat to the area, and should not be taken lightly. While the primary danger tonight and tomorrow is heavy rain, wind will move to the forefront as the major danger across the higher summits later tomorrow and tomorrow night, with wind gusts approaching 100 mph by tomorrow night. The exact track and intensity is still somewhat in question, so there still may be slight alterations to the forecast. However, torrential rains and high winds are highly likely at this point, so be sure to take the necessary steps to avoid this treacherous event.

In anticipation of these events, the White Mountain National Forest has been effectively shut down Saturday night and Sunday. All trails and campgrounds will be closed until conditions improve. In addition, all New Hampshire State Parks, Forests, and Trails will close at 6 p.m. tonight, and do not plan to reopen again until Tuesday. DRED has already stated that Search and Rescue operations will not be possbile during the height of the storm on Sunday.

Mike Carmon

Observer
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Quoting txag91met:
I can't believe I have seen one "so - called" meteorologist on TV say that IRENE is not looking good on satellite. Are they blind?
lol. Looks GREAT!

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Quoting reedzone:
What's really awkward is that Katrina hit New Orleans 6 years ago today.. Now the Northeast is getting hit with another historic storm.


It is just weather...1938, 1944 storm were worse...1938 was a CAT 3! How did that happen over 75F water!
Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 750
697. JLPR2
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


But poorly organized...92L has some work to do if it wants to become a tropical cyclone...


If it keeps firing over the center it should continue to organize, needs a little while to get itself together, it just emerged today.
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Quoting JohninRal:
Anyone care to guess what it will be like on Mount Washington as this system blows through?

I'd say just check the HH altitude level information and interpolate. It will translate up there as well.

The surface level winds are so much lower than the flight-level information due to the friction between the air and the ground. Tall buildings and mountains get higher velocities since the air does not get impeded by any friction prior to approaching the higher elevations.
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Quoting reedzone:
What's really awkward is that Katrina hit New Orleans 6 years ago today.. Now the Northeast is getting hit with another historic storm.


I believe Katrina made landfall on the 29th (a memorable day for me) and although this storm could be damaging it's no Katrina.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
thanks
hi all I am brand new here as of yesterday..I got a report from a friend who lives in Martin's point N.C .It is a spit of land just before you go over the bridge which leads to Nag's Head,Kitty hawk..and North of there Duck and Corolla N.C. This afternoon she reported the water on the sound side (east) was travelling north and seemed to be "emptying" she was concerned about what would happen when the tide came back in.I spoke to her 2 hours ago and the sound water had breached her backyard bulkhead and was steadily approaching the house.Her home sits on 5-6 foot stilts but the garage on the ground is now flooded w/2-3 feet..whole neighborhood under 2-3 feet but elevated house dry.I was trying to search for tide tables in the area but I haven't been able to find info.She was calm but not very happy.Son's car swamped in the garage.I have been in her two car garage and she stores lots of great tools there including the generator which is now under water and she has no power.As a seasoned stormer I wish I could have been there.I would have had that geni ready..oh well live and learn.Any body know about the tides in the corolla outer banks area? thanks ps sorry New and posted this on the last page now am trying to get it some attention here..sorry about that
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Quoting JLPR2:
92L is firing up nicely.


But poorly organized...92L has some work to do if it wants to become a tropical cyclone...
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I can't believe I have seen one "so - called" meteorologist on TV say that IRENE is not looking good on satellite. Are they blind?
Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 750
I've not heard a word either....
Hope all is well.
Hearing reports of some serious flooding in that area. Hope all is ok there. Keep me posted.

Night all -- and feel free to antagonize Press regarding his dress....

Quoting presslord:
Beach...not yet...gonna try to connect tomorrow
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What's really awkward is that Katrina hit New Orleans 6 years ago today.. Now the Northeast is getting hit with another historic storm.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Has anyone heard from our Bahama friends since Irene went through there?
I have not seen BahaHurican post in over 36 hours, but I haven't been here all the time, either.

EDIT: But, others have apparently talked to her.
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Quoting presslord:


yes...have talked with Baha...she's OK


pretty well I think
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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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