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 WeatherNerdPR:

Have you seen THIS?

Would be cool to have it on the Wiki page.


Will do ;)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32064
Quoting largeeyes:
Link

How do they get the boat down?


Chainsaws...and gravity.
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PAT MICHAELS: ‘IT IS DOUBTFUL HURRICANE IRENE WILL COUGH UP EVEN EIGHT BODIES’ http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/08/27/306153/ pat-michaels-it-is-doubtful-hurricane-irene-will-c ough-up-even-eight-bodies/

disgusting
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1985. IMA
Quoting Torgen:
I come in here to check on damage in New York and New England because I have friends there, and the blog is AGAIN filled with self important, braying right wing jackasses telling everyone how awesome and all-knowing they are and how everyone else is SO pathetic. Until the blog actually starts getting policed, I'm gone.


Must not have read very much before you gave up, plenty of left-wing know-it-alls, too. lol

On another note:
I don't ever remember putting this many people on my ignore list after a storm has made landfall (not you, Torgen - just didn't want to do a separate post). I thought I was supposed to mellow as I aged! Stupidity has been on the rise, though, so the ratio must still be the same.
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Quoting odinslightning:
i feel bad for people responsible for evac'ing people (the governors, the weathermen, etc). it seems like a no win situation. if they try to protect people and the event isnt as bad as feared they are considered stupid and blamed for wasting everyones time. if they downplay events then when a bad one happens everyone is gonna blame em for all of the injured parties......how do you win in that scenario?



You win by doing what you believe is best for the affected people. There will always be bitter, critical and sarcastic people no matter what you do. Ignore them. The "critics" are not serving any beneficial function. Poof, they're gone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1983. 996tt
Quoting Torgen:
I come in here to check on damage in New York and New England because I have friends there, and the blog is AGAIN filled with self important, braying right wing jackasses telling everyone how awesome and all-knowing they are and how everyone else is SO pathetic. Until the blog actually starts getting policed, I'm gone.


Welcome to the Internet.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
in the early days if a forecaster got a forecast wrong they could be killed for it and even further back if you even tried to predict the weather you be considered a witch and be burned at the stake

so ya been that way along time

except now they just get bashed



well, at least society is making progress, eh? lol


ty for helping me see the glass half full keeper.
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1980. ncstorm
138 Hours
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1979. 996tt
Quoting Levi32:
I really wish you guys would quit downplaying Irene and talking about how much she was overhyped and overforecasted. She's likely to be a multi-billion dollar disaster.....what did you want? She's going down on the list of great storms to move up the eastern seaboard. She counts, and people there will tell you that. My goodness.


Not downplaying. Putting it into proper perspective. Flood waters will recede quickly and power will be restored quickly. Unlike a serious hurricane, infrastructure remains in tact. This is all great news. Hurricanes I been through leave you without power for weeks and infrastructure is gone so even if house okay, no place to get gas, food or water. That is the type if damage some were leading people to believe. Nothing historic but hype or potential for devastation that existed.

Doesn't matter what people say in here, someone will twist to suit their purpose. We had horrible floods in Midwest and unprecedented tornado destruction. A bullet was dodged with Irene. Many or perhaps most of the knowledgeable mets pegged ultimate intensity Friday and early Saturday. Some just don't listen.

Next time upper east coast in cross hairs, people may not listen now.
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Quoting ncstorm:
126 Hours


Looks like it's got a friend trying to come off cape verde too.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Bet you guys haven't seen this :)


Have you seen THIS?

Would be cool to have it on the Wiki page.
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1975. ncstorm
126 Hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1974. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting odinslightning:
i feel bad for people responsible for evac'ing people (the governors, the weathermen, etc). it seems like a no win situation. if they try to protect people and the event isnt as bad as feared they are considered stupid and blamed for wasting everyones time. if they downplay events then when a bad one happens everyone is gonna blame em for all of the injured parties......how do you win in that scenario?
in the early days if a forecaster got a forecast wrong they could be killed for it and even further back if you even tried to predict the weather you be considered a witch and be burned at the stake

so ya been that way along time

except now they just get bashed
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1973. Oct8
Quoting Walnut:
Amen


Well sure Capitalism funds socialism and Socialism funds capitalism.

Look at all the investment in China. Communist workers there are funding/fueling Global growth. Have you heard of a "Chicken or the Egg" discussion. 33% of GDP is Gubbermint spending. Some used to call that investment. Today we call is "stupid." lol

There is no way to separate business interests from public infrastructure. I do understand drug development. It is my job, but you underestimate the billions of dollars in ideas that start in an Academic research lab in the US, Canada, and Europe. You are at best being naive about how drugs are produced. There is a substantial basic level of research that is required for any drug to make it. That work is funded by the National Institute of Health and their European counterparts -- hold back your head and howl. You have no idea.

Also your proclamation that drugs are not developed in Europe is well silly,since you must not know who Bayer, Roche, Novartis, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, et al. are. I will clue you in -- they are private companies in Europe that develop drugs and make money doing so.
Member Since: August 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
Link

How do they get the boat down?
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Bet you guys haven't seen this :)

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32064
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Quoting odinslightning:
i feel bad for people responsible for evac'ing people (the governors, the weathermen, etc). it seems like a no win situation. if they try to protect people and the event isnt as bad as feared they are considered stupid and blamed for wasting everyones time. if they downplay events then when a bad one happens everyone is gonna blame em for all of the injured parties......how do you win in that scenario?


Egg on your face is far better than a hundred bodies.
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Explosive season so far.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Looks like:

I guess they are updating it...or Dominion Power threw a switch and it got all better.
(Map got cleared.)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
92L has a ch too be a long track hurricane and do a vary good job for the ACE
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115116
Reporters still trying to hype the storm. The local reporter is trying to act like the storm is "fierce" while everyone is playing and having a fun time walking on the beach.
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1964. Walnut
Quoting odinslightning:
i feel bad for people responsible for evac'ing people (the governors, the weathermen, etc). it seems like a no win situation. if they try to protect people and the event isnt as bad as feared they are considered stupid and blamed for wasting everyones time. if they downplay events then when a bad one happens everyone is gonna blame em for all of the injured parties......how do you win in that scenario?
Really no choice after Katrina. Better safe than sorry!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1962. ncstorm
117 Hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
i feel bad for people responsible for evac'ing people (the governors, the weathermen, etc). it seems like a no win situation. if they try to protect people and the event isnt as bad as feared they are considered stupid and blamed for wasting everyones time. if they downplay events then when a bad one happens everyone is gonna blame em for all of the injured parties......how do you win in that scenario?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Torgen:
I come in here to check on damage in New York and New England because I have friends there, and the blog is AGAIN filled with self important, braying right wing jackasses telling everyone how awesome and all-knowing they are and how everyone else is SO pathetic. Until the blog actually starts getting policed, I'm gone.

So far, possibly $400 million in damages to New Jersey.
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Quoting Walnut:
umm... actually China is Communist. Anyway, most standards are set by private organizations (like ASTM, UL, Intertek, SAE, etc) with governmental liaisons. I'm all for a private organization to attempt to compete with the NWS. The more data the better! (oh and I am one of those so-called "right-wing scientists").
lol. Me too. (Not right-wing, but slightly right-of-center, might be the better description).
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1958. ncstorm

105 hours
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
looks to me like steering may be a bit weaker than normal in the CATL, as from what I see 92L not moving very quickly westward




thats not good
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115116
1956. Walnut
Quoting Tazmanian:
lol we have 11 more names too go
We could use a decent tropical storm to help bust the drought here in Texas. No canes though. And no TS Alison either.
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Quoting Walnut:
Dr. Greg Forbes is great unless he has one of the other twits with him kind nudging him towards sensationalism. Watch his facial expressions when Cantore is with him during tornado season. Kinda funny really... I still like Cantore for his commitment...but the guy has just gone Geraldo lately.


Yeah, Dr. Forbes has schooled Jim on some of his comments before. Jim is a nice guy, but TWC is kinda foolish for making him the face of their network.
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1954. ncstorm
Bill Read Director of NHC on CNN..explaining the uncertainties in intensity forecast..related back to Floyd..still get an A+ in my book
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1951. Melagoo


92L
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1950. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
it is what it is nothing more nothing less
be happy it was not as bad as it could of been
or it would of been a lot worse
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
looks to me like steering may be a bit weaker than normal in the CATL, as from what I see 92L not moving very quickly westward

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1948. Walnut
Quoting Oct8:


I never said road construction should be private, but you bet the safety standards and engineering constraints are conformed to governmental standards. Same goes for flying a plane. It is just common sense that there are standards. Thank God for that. Can you imagine Company X deciding to use Chinese low grade steel because it is cheaper when the standard calls for a quality material? LOL You want that right?

Hey you want competition with the US government's weather prediction ability -- where perfect weather prediction is basically an intractable problem. You perhaps want competition with government itself. Well China is working hard to compete with the US. They have minimal safety standards for businesses. The rivers are well industrial waste. The air is largely smog ridden. But they are the manifestation of the "pro-capitalism" environment you speak of.

It is called balance. Demonize dedicated Americans all you'd like. You have any comprehension of the complexity of a civilization and the concept of leaving a little for your children and their children.
umm... actually China is Communist. Anyway, most standards are set by private organizations (like ASTM, UL, Intertek, SAE, etc) with governmental liaisons. I'm all for a private organization to attempt to compete with the NWS. The more data the better! (oh and I am one of those so-called "right-wing scientists").
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1947. TXEER
Storm Update: All is well here in Houston...except its over 100 again and no rain!
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lol we have 11 more names too go
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115116
1944. ncstorm
93 Hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
With Jose done and over, I really do believe that we will finish 2011 in the Greek Alphabet.

11 named storms left and counting...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32064
Report from Friend who evacuated from Cape May:

yup. Wind not as high, they eye was filling in just as it hit NJ so nw it's a tropical mush - but flooding is bad and there are still two more high tides that will be bad. They won't let us back in until at least after the afternoon high tide today. And there's no power down there. Which in my house also means no water.

So it was intense of for some folks. NYC should be counting their blessings it was not worse than it was.

Better safe than sorry when it comes to preparing for these things.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Looks like:


Fairax area where my daughter lives. She lost power about 3:30 this morning. Said winds and rain weren't too bad. She's not venturing out to see the area. LOTS of trees in Reston where she lives and Dominion Power expects assessment by noon Monday. All their video games. phones/computers were plugged in all night. With 2 young boys, she's no dummy. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
for everyone who is disappointed in such a "minor event" just hold your horses given the prevalent long term conditions now you may not have long to wait to get some "excitement".....::::shakes head::::


with all the forecast-bashing of Irene in a sick way I am now missing the bickering and arguing in here regarding the long-term tracks of invests.....
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1938. Melagoo
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney
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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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