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 presslord:


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


pretty well I think
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Anyone care to guess what it will be like on Mount Washington as this system blows through?
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Quoting presslord:


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


Great...How did her property fare?
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Quoting oceanbug:


Nice leg! And I love the cigar with that rock of a ring and slit skirt! Quite a fashion statement there, Press. ;-)


Agreed!! Great legs!!
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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.
That was how it was for college station before a week ago and two days ago, literally not any rain for two months, and tiny amounts few and far between before that. ANY rain that falls doesn't soak far in before the 110 degree heat destroys all moisture :/
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Has anyone heard from our Bahama friends since Irene went through there?


yes...have talked with Baha...she's OK
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
681. JLPR2
92L is firing up nicely.
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Beach...not yet...gonna try to connect tomorrow
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Has anyone heard from our Bahama friends since Irene went through there?
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.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 (WEST) 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
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Current Weather Conditions:
KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT , NY, United States
NWS Point Forecast for KJFK
(KJFK) 40-38N 073-46W 9M
Conditions at 2011.08.28 0251 UTC

Wind from the E (080 degrees) at 23 MPH (20 KT) gusting to 38 MPH (33 KT)
Visibility 6 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Rain
Mist
Precipitation last hour 0.34 inches
Temperature 75.9 F (24.4 C)
Dew Point 73.0 F (22.8 C)
Relative Humidity 90%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.55 in. Hg (1000 hPa)
Pressure tendency 0.10 inches (3.3 hPa) lower than three hours ago
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Wind shear now having an impact on Irene...it is getting weaker and weaker...the mid-level center is not located above the low-level center now.

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

I keep hearing about making this blog a pay-only service. Good to hear! I'd certainly pay to lose the trolls and get to enjoy this high-brow entertainment :P!


Buhahahahaha!
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Quoting IFuSAYso:


Ill get the info and wmail you


if you're referring to Charity Navigator etc...we're on some...not others...it's up to them to list us...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/avn-l.jpg

Irene closing in on Jersey Shore...

Newport News VA, Richmond VA (North wind at 40 mph sustained with Gust to 61!!!!), Fredericksburg VA, Windsor NC, Ocean City MD, Salisbury MD, Atlantic City NJ, Dover DE, Newark NJ, Allentown PA, Washington DC all reporting gusty or significant winds right now based on National Weather Service reports. New York City's winds are starting to pick up a bit as well....

This is ONE LARGE STORM! I was very impressed with how high the wind was reported as far inland as Richmond, VA recently...
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Quoting jitterboy:

Quoting previous, make this a pay for site, proceeds to portlight.


That's a brilliant idea actually.
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Press,

Still no word from our friend living near Rich's Inlet, NC??? I hope the flooding was not more than expected for them.
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Quoting Dennis8:


Not off topic..the highs occurred because of IRENE
True... and if the high really does subside it would be nice to get one of those drencher tropical storms i.e. hermine, erin, edouard that come around every so often. it appears it should be more possible for storms to spin up in the gulf in the next month. a weak tropical storm is alot to ask for, but i will say that if a storm has to hit the gulf let it hit texas, the rain is needed more than ever.
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Quoting jdjnola:


The former: true. The latter: TX Gov doesn't need to be functionally effective, Gov is the figurehead (with nice hair), Lt Gov does all the work.


Funny, Beelzebub claims the same thing about Hell. Satan gets all the glory, he does all the work.

Oh, and so I'm on topic. Raleigh area saw some minor tree damage. Lots of reports on Twitter about soundside flooding in the Northern OBX. MOstly residents live on the sound side, and those neighborhoods evidently flooded while the cameras were pointed out to sea. The Weather Channel evidently didn't understand winds from the SW would push the giant body of water to the South and West up against the islands.
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Quoting presslord:



I am to dancing what the English are to fine cuisine...


English cuisine: boiled meat, s*** on a shingle, corned beef and cabbage. Yummmm...
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Quoting IFuSAYso:


Ill get the info and wmail you

501c is a tax exemption, not vetting.
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Quoting Dennis8:


Not off topic..the highs occurred because of IRENE
I don't think so. It may have shifted a bit because of Irene, but the high has pretty much set up shop over North Texas for much of the summer.
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Oh dear god, did not need that reminder. Press, don't EVER do that again or if you do, don't tell anyone or keep evidence of it.
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Quoting oceanbug:


Nice leg! And I love the cigar with that rock of a ring and slit skirt! Quite a fashion statement there, Press. ;-)



well...there's a back story about that cigar some of you may not know...

after we raised the ten grand...my daughter bought the outfit..and she, my son (in the pic) and my wife took a bunch of pics...then I walked out on the porch to fire up that cigar...and they locked me outta the damned house and called all the neighbors to come over an have a look
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting presslord:
God, I make me hot!
Quoting hurricanejunky:



They both suck but Jeb is the lesser of two evils...kind of like the measles are better than yellow fever.


Hmmm...Rick Perry/Yellow Fever

I was thinking nmore along the lines of Rick Perry/Raging Dysentery, but Yellow fever will do
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Quoting Dennis8:


I was driving to Brenham up 290 around 3-4pm and hit 110 on my car and it is a car that gives accurate outside readings. I was getting 98-100 on the way home 8pm. Looks like another day tomorrow. H L and P is loving this.

I live in Tomball, and my honda got to 108F, my Davis was 107.4F.

Sept 2000 I reached 110F...but this is RIDICULOUS!
Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 750
I can vouch for that... I have a copy, autographed plus I've met Press & his lovely wife. : ) IT IS PRess!
Quoting jdjnola:


So is this formal admission that the photo IMA posted is of you???
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...ST. MARYS COUNTY...
RIDGE 8.96 1000 PM 8/27 TRAINED SPOTTER
2 W CALIFORNIA 8.34 953 PM 8/27 LARGE TREES DOWN
2 ENE PATUXENT RIVER 5.83 752 PM 8/27 AWOS
LEONARDTOWN 4.44 649 PM 8/27 MESONET

_________________________________________________ ___

Big water in bay county, md.
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Quoting Floodman:


You know, he is sort of cute in a testosterone laced, hirsute sort of way
Umm, no, he looks like he should be a witch in a modern version of MacBeth.
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Quoting presslord:


What do you mean by 'vetted'? We've been around since 1997....we're a 501c3...I have no idea what you mean...

Quoting previous, make this a pay for site, proceeds to portlight.
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Quoting presslord:


What do you mean by 'vetted'? We've been around since 1997....we're a 501c3...I have no idea what you mean...


Ill get the info and wmail you
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ROFL - let me know, I've got his number too! heheheehee
Quoting TampaSpin:


Since i got your Cell number is it ok to post that pic and Phone number on a couple of sites that might get you a little more attention than on here?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Since i got your Cell number is it ok to post that pic and Phone number on a couple of sites that might get you a little more attention than on here?


dude...I long ago quit caring who saw this have at it ;-)
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Irene is still a Hurricane, not a TS

Winds@ 80 mph.
Pressure@ 954 mlb. = Category 3 strength

Still a dangerous and historic storm.
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Quoting IMA:


Taaa daaaa


Nice leg! And I love the cigar with that rock of a ring and slit skirt! Quite a fashion statement there, Press. ;-)
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Quoting presslord:
God, I make me hot!


So is this formal admission that the photo IMA posted is of you???
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Quoting FloodingDownInTexas:
Thanks for the link. It is surprising that Houston made it higher than Aggieland today, the somewhat northerly breeze is quite a switch up. Howdy to you too, fellow aggie.


IAH has had almost no rain this month---that is how... I live NW Houston and my davis got to 107.4F.
Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 750
Quoting IFuSAYso:
Has Portlight worked on getting vetted, the last time I mentioned as much it appeared to be an attack. Vetting opens allot of doors, private/fed.


What do you mean by 'vetted'? We've been around since 1997....we're a 501c3...I have no idea what you mean...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting presslord:



I am to dancing what the English are to fine cuisine...


All of this and graceful too!
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Quoting presslord:
God, I make me hot!

I keep hearing about making this blog a pay-only service. Good to hear! I'd certainly pay to lose the trolls and get to enjoy this high-brow entertainment :P!
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The Irene system is going to dump a huge amount of heat in the Arctic and should give us an all time record low of ice cover. It is already almost as low as 2007.
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Has Portlight worked on getting vetted, the last time I mentioned as much it appeared to be an attack. Vetting opens allot of doors, private/fed.
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Quoting presslord:
God, I make me hot!


Since i got your Cell number is it ok to post that pic and Phone number on a couple of sites that might get you a little more attention than on here?
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting Floodman:


You know, he is sort of cute in a testosterone laced, hirsute sort of way


Nope, my inner man died.
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Quoting JohninRal:


Hell is probably cooler, and has a more effective governor.

(sorry)


The former: true. The latter: TX Gov doesn't need to be functionally effective, Gov is the figurehead (with nice hair), Lt Gov does all the work.
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Quoting IMA:


Taaa daaaa
Quoting IMA:


Taaa daaaa


You know, he is sort of cute in a testosterone laced, hirsute sort of way
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YeeHaw!!!

Flood - Yes! Scarring & Scary! hehehe

However -- FYI -- Press did the Dress (for his personal pleasure) to increase donations to Portlight - If you can donate, please do! They have done good things & are first responders to an often forgotten community!
Portlight - helping in a time of need!
Quoting IMA:


Taaa daaaa
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About

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