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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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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Quoting presslord:
God, I make me hot!



That is soooo disturbing, and hilarious!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
tropical storm irene is increasing forward speed now



*Hurricane Irene*
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God, I make me hot!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Getting some pretty serious rain here in NYC now. These gusts gotta be at least 30mph.
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Quoting presslord:



now...I could put the dress, the wig and the rack back on....and pretend I'm Ginger Rogers....


Weekend gig?
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Quoting TStormSC:


This doesn't sound like the man who promotes this cause like you do! :)
3
Problem is we'd have to film it without breaking the camera and keep people interested enough to send donations without being sick.

Come to think of it, it sounds like English cuisine.
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Let's go to Jeff on the beach, Jeff what are you seeing?
Thank you Stephanie- it is windy, definitely windier than a few hours ago. Let's pan over to the trees and you can clearly see the wind. Back to you.
Thanks Jeff. Let's bring in our hurricane expert Greg and talk about the wind, Greg?
Thanks Stephanie, if you look at the radar here you can make out the eye. These bands of rain are the outer rain bands. As the rain moves towards the eye, it creates wind. Back to you.
Thanks Greg. Let's go to Jim on the beach, Jim what are you seeing?
Thanks Steph, clearly the wind is picking up as one of those bands Greg just described is moving in. Quite often you will see wind associated with these bands. Back to you.
Thanks Jim, stay safe and remember to wear your goggles. Stay with us for more in depth coverage as our special in depth coverage continues.
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Quoting IMA:


Taaa daaaa


Lolwut.
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Quoting IMA:


Taaa daaaa



lol my eyes my eyes



but hey am not the one that post it so no ban for me YAY YAY YAY
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Quoting hurricanejunky:



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



Sure showing you are a DEM...........ROFLMAO
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting TStormSC:


This doesn't sound like the man who promotes this cause like you do! :)



now...I could put the dress, the wig and the rack back on....and pretend I'm Ginger Rogers....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting presslord:



...oh, Lord...
Quoting presslord:



...oh, Lord...


Hey you put on a dress and parade around, that image is scarring...many of us will never recover
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting kctinney:


Don't let Casey Anthony hear you say that!!!


Too soon.
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Quoting presslord:



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


This doesn't sound like the man who promotes this cause like you do! :)
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Quoting FloodingDownInTexas:
AHHH. So H and CS are both hitting the tied all time. Thanks for this man, the blog is a great place for getting information (though i hope i didn't get it too far off topic) i'll have to learn how to do this once i get off the newbie status lol.


Not off topic..the highs occurred because of IRENE
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Quoting Dennis8:

.THE COLLEGE STATION CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR AUGUST 27 2011

VALID TODAY AS OF 0500 PM LOCAL TIME.

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1902 TO 2011

WEATHER ITEM OBSERVED TIME RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
VALUE (LST) VALUE VALUE FROM YEAR
NORMAL
................................................. .............

TEMPERATURE (F)
TODAY
MAXIMUM 109R
411 PM 104 1990 95 14 99
MINIMUM 77 508 AM 65 1997 74 3 72
AVERAGE 93 85 8 86

PRECIPITATION (IN)
TODAY 0.00 1.35 1977 0.10 -0.10 0.00
MONTH TO DATE 0.23 2.24 -2.01 0.28
SINCE JUN 1 3.20 8.83 -5.63 8.82
SINCE JAN 1 10.86 25.08 -14.22 20.25

SNOWFALL (IN)
TODAY 0.0
MONTH TO DATE 0.0
SINCE JUL 1 0.0
AHHH. So H and CS are both hitting the tied all time. Thanks for this man, the blog is a great place for getting information (though i hope i didn't get it too far off topic) i'll have to learn how to do this once i get off the newbie status lol.
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Quoting civilbull:

What is 92?


It is a trpoical wave out by Africa that has some potential for development over the next days...the Navy has tagged this disturbance Invest 92L...
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Quoting TStormSC:

I was going to set you up, but the dollar obviously doesn't go as far in the Lowcountry as it does in the Upstate. ;-).

We may have to do this later, but who wants to see Press take dance lessons for donations to Portlight?



I am to dancing what the English are to fine cuisine...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
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.
Yeah, this cold front-induced heat sux.

At least I'm not out tending to cotton fields between CLL and Snook this summer. That was pretty horrible when we hit 102 a few days. Nah, that was pretty horrible for the whole summer, to be honest.

The things one does to help pay for college...
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Quoting hahaguy:


Agree completely. Scared to see what the creature rick scott will do if we get hit.



They both suck but Jeb is the lesser of two evils...kind of like the measles are better than yellow fever.
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I do..... I keep waiting for you to become rich & famous so I can blackmail you! hahahah
Quoting presslord:



you have an autographed print copy if I'm not mistaken
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Quoting Floodman:


Call it stress relief, but the image of Vinnie from the BRonx shrink wrapping Fido to a yew hedge is, well, I have tears running down my cheeks...LOL

ahahahaha, I needed that.
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Quoting JohninRal:


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

(sorry)


Now I will give you the governor part
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
09L/TS/I
MARK
41.08N/76.05W forecast point





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


Is it me or does the eye (center) seem to be staying off land?
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Confession can't save you! LOL
Quoting presslord:



...oh, Lord...
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Quoting presslord:


good to know

I was going to set you up, but the dollar obviously doesn't go as far in the Lowcountry as it does in the Upstate. ;-).

We may have to do this later, but who wants to see Press take dance lessons for donations to Portlight?
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Quoting TerraNova:
One last update for the night.

And a question for the more hurricane-preparedness-savvy...is duct taping large, storefront windows really that effect? Driving around today I saw lots of that.


From someone who's taped windows in the past... all it does it keep some of the glass together, in larger shards, when the window breaks. (Which is why I did it whenever we prepped the beach house for a storm.)

It doesn't do anything to prevent loss of the window's integrity. (That's what storm shutters are for, be they plywood, or steel.)
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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 Beachfoxx:
I actually have a print copy --- guess I will have to scan it in and save it for a future opportunity.



you have an autographed print copy if I'm not mistaken
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting IMA:

Can't find them! It's been driving me crazy. I figure he used one of contacts to hack into the computers/on-line photo storage of anyone who may have had them, to assure all copies were destroyed.


it's somewhere in the WU photo stash...and on my FaceBook page....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
I actually have a print copy --- guess I will have to scan it in and save it for a future opportunity.
Quoting IMA:

Can't find them! It's been driving me crazy. I figure he used one of contacts to hack into the computers/on-line photo storage of anyone who may have had them, to assure all copies were destroyed.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
It keeps *some* of the glass shards together after the windows break so that all of the glass shard don't have to be lonely, just most of them.


:-)
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


That sounds nice. The end part I mean. :)


lol...yes, it does sound nice. :)
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Can you post one of the pics of Press in a Dress??? hahaha



...oh, Lord...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting P451:


Without even looking........




.......NOLA?




And, yes, the WMO or NHC or whomever are really ridiculous for choosing Katia for Katrina and Rina for Rita.

It's so bad it has to be purposeful and has to be a joke. Otherwise any bright individual would instantly catch that and say BAD IDEA that's insensitive. Instead they let it go through?

Intentional...
They're toying with us.
It started last year with IGOR!!
Who names a storm IGOR?
What's next, GODZILLA!
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599. IMA
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Can you post one of the pics of Press in a Dress??? hahaha

Can't find them! It's been driving me crazy. I figure he used one of contacts to hack into the computers/on-line photo storage of anyone who may have had them, to assure all copies were destroyed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dennis8:

.THE COLLEGE STATION CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR AUGUST 27 2011

VALID TODAY AS OF 0500 PM LOCAL TIME.

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1902 TO 2011

WEATHER ITEM OBSERVED TIME RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
VALUE (LST) VALUE VALUE FROM YEAR
NORMAL
................................................. .............

TEMPERATURE (F)
TODAY
MAXIMUM 109R
411 PM 104 1990 95 14 99
MINIMUM 77 508 AM 65 1997 74 3 72
AVERAGE 93 85 8 86

PRECIPITATION (IN)
TODAY 0.00 1.35 1977 0.10 -0.10 0.00
MONTH TO DATE 0.23 2.24 -2.01 0.28
SINCE JUN 1 3.20 8.83 -5.63 8.82
SINCE JAN 1 10.86 25.08 -14.22 20.25

SNOWFALL (IN)
TODAY 0.0
MONTH TO DATE 0.0
SINCE JUL 1 0.0
Ah ha! I knew someone would find a detailed summary before I did.
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Quoting presslord:
I suspect animalrsq knows I'll immediately forward any info I get...my response was in reference to an earlier post about New Yorkers shrink wrapping their shubbery


Call it stress relief, but the image of Vinnie from the BRonx shrink wrapping Fido to a yew hedge is, well, I have tears running down my cheeks...LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
tropical storm irene is increasing forward speed now

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Quoting JohninRal:


Then I suggest you leave Texas. I have seen the future and it looks like this summer. :(


Who would leave Texas? Where would anyone want to go? :>)
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Officially, the high at Easterwood Field was 108 F, unless a higher event was record in between the hourly listings here: http://www.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KCLL.html

Howdy, btw.
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.
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Quoting TerraNova:
One last update for the night.

And a question for the more hurricane-preparedness-savvy...is duct taping large, storefront windows really that effect? Driving around today I saw lots of that.
It keeps *some* of the glass shards together after the windows break so that all of the glass shard don't have to be lonely, just most of them.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Channel 12 Beaumont,TX

The dogs days of summer has quickly transcended into the pitbull days of summer, we saw a record high today of 105 here in Beaumont/Port Arthur, with heat indices approaching 116 this afternoon. Is there any relief? Yes! Finally there is! We'll have to wait until Sept. 1st however. In fact records were also set in Houston (109), College Station (109), Huntsville (108), Austin (110), San Antonio (106) to name a few.

For tomorrow, expect potentially another record breaking day of extreme heat with forecast highs of 103-104, same for lakes. Heat indices will get above 110 again. The current record high is 100, we will beat it tomorrow.

However, some major changes may be in store by the end of next week, with a trough, tropical moisture combining for a potentially wet early and cooler September.


That sounds nice. The end part I mean. :)
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Quoting TerraNova:
One last update for the night.

And a question for the more hurricane-preparedness-savvy...is duct taping large, storefront windows really that effect? Driving around today I saw lots of that.


The thought is it will keep the glass intact if something large crashes into the window, and potentiall protect against rain in that scenario. But really.... It just gives one something to complain about while taking the tape off.

Shrink-wrap - the new duct tape.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Officially, the high at Easterwood Field was 108 F, unless a higher event was record in between the hourly listings here: http://www.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KCLL.html

Howdy, btw.

.THE COLLEGE STATION CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR AUGUST 27 2011

VALID TODAY AS OF 0500 PM LOCAL TIME.

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1902 TO 2011

WEATHER ITEM OBSERVED TIME RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
VALUE (LST) VALUE VALUE FROM YEAR
NORMAL
................................................. .............

TEMPERATURE (F)
TODAY
MAXIMUM 109R
411 PM 104 1990 95 14 99
MINIMUM 77 508 AM 65 1997 74 3 72
AVERAGE 93 85 8 86

PRECIPITATION (IN)
TODAY 0.00 1.35 1977 0.10 -0.10 0.00
MONTH TO DATE 0.23 2.24 -2.01 0.28
SINCE JUN 1 3.20 8.83 -5.63 8.82
SINCE JAN 1 10.86 25.08 -14.22 20.25

SNOWFALL (IN)
TODAY 0.0
MONTH TO DATE 0.0
SINCE JUL 1 0.0
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Quoting P451:


It's more plausible than saying they are brain dead idiots for not picking up on the similarities of the names and the disgust they would cause isn't it?


I want to believe. ;)
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Quoting MrNatural:


It was 110 degrees in downtown Austin. They're promising more of the same tomorrow. Personally, I'm tiring of the 100+ degree days.


Then I suggest you leave Texas. I have seen the future and it looks like this summer. :(
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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.