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 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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Quoting jdjnola:


Shrinkwrap is the new duct tape.


Don't let Casey Anthony hear you say that!!!
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Can you post one of the pics of Press in a Dress??? hahaha
Quoting IMA:

Like this:

BTW, made me snort with that comment, Press
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Probably so.......but, we will see in about 7 days

What is 92?
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:
Posting here from Raleigh, NC...

Irene finished her business here....it was a bit gusty at times...no damage in my neighborhood...occasional tree down here and there in Wake County. Rain wasn't too bad either...

From a line from Rocky Mount, Wilson, Goldsboro, Greenville, damage was very significant with several trees getting knocked down based on a lot of photos sent in to local news. Roof in a mall in Goldsboro destroyed....

Down at the coast...Irene dished out damage on piers...storm surge...etc...can't get the best sense yet how bad the storm surge caused damage on the NC coast...


Wow...this comment got a few + marks...am I the first to report what happened in NC? LOL
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583. MZT
I was listening to the WRAL radio news on the way home tonight. It seems like the unexpected story with Irene in N.C. has been that the track caused overwash from the "sounds."

For non-Carolinians, the sounds are lagoons on the back side of the outer banks barrier islands. It's the "intercoastal waterway" in most states but in NC this spreads out into a much wider channel.

Normally the sounds are very placid, and nothing like the ocean. Irene blew them first into the swamps and then back towards the islands.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 793

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
IRENE SPOTTER REPORTS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
1044 PM EDT SAT AUG 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING ARE UNOFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS TAKEN DURING THE PAST 23 HOURS
FOR THE STORM THAT HAS BEEN AFFECTING OUR REGION. APPRECIATION IS EXTENDED
TO HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS...COOPERATIVE OBSERVERS...SKYWARN SPOTTERS
AND MEDIA FOR THESE REPORTS. THIS SUMMARY IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON OUR
HOME PAGE AT WEATHER.GOV/NYC

********************STORM TOTAL RAINFALL********************

LOCATION STORM TOTAL TIME/DATE COMMENTS
RAINFALL OF
/INCHES/ MEASUREMENT

CONNECTICUT

..FAIRFIELD COUNTY

DANBURY AIRPORT 0.85 909 PM 8/27
BRIDGEPORT AIRPORT 0.49 903 PM 8/27

..NEW HAVEN COUNTY

NEW HAVEN 0.45 918 PM 8/27

NEW JERSEY

..BERGEN COUNTY

TETERBORO 1.43 932 PM 8/27
RIDGEWOOD 0.55 800 PM 8/27

..ESSEX COUNTY

NEWARK AIRPORT 1.52 911 PM 8/27
CALDWELL AIRPORT 1.38 855 PM 8/27
MAPLEWOOD 1.08 916 PM 8/27

..PASSAIC COUNTY

CLIFTON 1.10 900 PM 8/27
HAWTHORNE 1.01 859 PM 8/27

NEW YORK

..KINGS COUNTY

GRAVESEND 1.48 909 PM 8/27

..NEW YORK COUNTY

CENTRAL PARK 1.25 931 PM 8/27

..ORANGE COUNTY

MONTGOMERY 0.20 1035 PM 8/27

..QUEENS COUNTY

NYC/JFK AIRPORT 1.25 930 PM 8/27
NYC/LA GUARDIA 1.00 931 PM 8/27

..SUFFOLK COUNTY

EAST FARMINGDALE 0.68 912 PM 8/27
ISLIP AIRPORT 0.55 928 PM 8/27
WESTHAMPTON BEACH 0.37 912 PM 8/27
SHIRLEY AIRPORT 0.20 920 PM 8/27

..WESTCHESTER COUNTY

YONKERS 1.00 848 PM 8/27
WHITE PLAINS 0.41 914 PM 8/27
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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



Guess I should have read thru the comments a bit more carefully.
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Quoting IMA:

Like this:

BTW, made me snort with that comment, Press


Same here, I literally laughed out loud, which prompted my husband to ask me what could possibly so funny on a weather blog.
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Quoting LAlurker:

They could have picked Karita and Ritrina!


Awful. Just awful....shaking head....
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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.
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She's really lookin like she's full-on starting the extratropical process. Looks like all the rain/wind is being pulled to the north, as is typical.
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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.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:
AOL news thinks Nyan Cat will take the edge off Irene....I was like WTH?!

LOL
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5630
Quoting P451:


Nope, you need a list of names that begin with K and R?

Or are Katia and Rina the best and only out there?


They could have picked Karita and Ritrina!
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Quoting FloodingDownInTexas:
Dang... I wonder if any towns/cities got official high temperatures that are like this. I live in college station but i can't really figure out what the high for today was since i was gone all day. it may have broken the all time record of 109 but i don't know where to find the data until tomorrow.
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.
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AOL news thinks Nyan Cat will take the edge off Irene....I was like WTH?!
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570. JRRP

L
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Quoting P451:


You should probably rely on the NWS/NHC first.... and this blog like uhm 30th maybe.

Planning disaster response for New York City based off of armchair wish/down/west/south/up/doom/nola casters on a dysfunctional argumentative public blog that relies on 384 hour model runs to forecast the weather?

Yeahhhhhh....not feeling your decision making process.



Thanks for the advice but I am. Working off about 20+ resources. Been on here for 5 years and well aware of the pitfalls and personalities, verify all info from here by another source. But it still can be a good resource.
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Quoting RukusBoondocks:
92 will be a major


Probably so.......but, we will see in about 7 days
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567. IMA
Quoting presslord:



Thank you for bailing me outta that, dear...

No problem - if I still had good photo-editing software, I'd have added a pet LOL
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-
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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.
Dang... I wonder if any towns/cities got official high temperatures that are like this. I live in college station but i can't really figure out what the high for today was since i was gone all day. it may have broken the all time record of 109 but i don't know where to find the data until tomorrow.
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heavy t storms in se ct as of right now.
i need some sleep, got the iphone next to me for any possible tornado warnings. GN all
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92 will be a major
Member Since: February 13, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 294
562. hamla
you will see tee shirts with

KATIARINA
on the front and back

someone will get a lot of sales if they both come in the GOM and do what haPPENED IN 2005

HOPE AND PRAY THIS WONT HAPPEN
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Can anyone post the latest model runs for Irene? I live near Albany, New York, and over the past days, including this morning, some models had Irene still hanging left and moving west of me, while others have been closer to New Hampshire. Some of the members here generally post the computer model runs, but I haven't seen any since Irene approach Morehead City, so was wondering what each were estimating for the track, along with their general consensus.

I'm mainly worried about the rain, as the basement here flooded badly during Floyd, after we'd gotten about 4-5 inches.

Jo
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:
Posting here from Raleigh, NC...

Irene finished her business here....it was a bit gusty at times...no damage in my neighborhood...occasional tree down here and there in Wake County. Rain wasn't too bad either...

From a line from Rocky Mount, Wilson, Goldsboro, Greenville, damage was very significant with several trees getting knocked down based on a lot of photos sent in to local news. Roof in a mall in Goldsboro destroyed....

Down at the coast...Irene dished out damage on piers...storm surge...etc...can't get the best sense yet how bad the storm surge caused damage on the NC coast...


Thanks! Our guys are going in there now...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
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


Thanks, press!
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Quoting IMA:

Like this:

BTW, made me snort with that comment, Press


Shrinkwrap is the new duct tape.
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Just added the Invest 91 and 92L with the models up on the site.......Invest 92L looks to be heading due west by Models.
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NEXRAD seems to be having some issues currently but it looks like the NYC area is in for some highly rotational storms in the next hour as the band coming onshore to new jersey moves north near the vicinity. some individual cells that are north the main band full of heavy thunderstorms have a very prominent hook to them.
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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.


I hear that
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How many times can Oceania win the war against Eurasia? Please note: your answer is subject to rectification.

Back to Irene!

lol, excellent...we are certainly edging closer to 1984; well, perhaps a combination of Brave New World and 1984. I want off the ship. ;)

OK OK, sorry, for taking the bait..I'll refrain from further off-topicness. Doom all around.
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Posting here from Raleigh, NC...

Irene finished her business here....it was a bit gusty at times...no damage in my neighborhood...occasional tree down here and there in Wake County. Rain wasn't too bad either...

From a line from Rocky Mount, Wilson, Goldsboro, Greenville, damage was very significant with several trees getting knocked down based on a lot of photos sent in to local news. Roof in a mall in Goldsboro destroyed....

Down at the coast...Irene dished out damage on piers...storm surge...etc...can't get the best sense yet how bad the storm surge caused damage on the NC coast...
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Quoting IMA:

Like this:

BTW, made me snort with that comment, Press



Thank you for bailing me outta that, dear...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
Quoting P451:


The power goes out on this hill when a deer farts.

I'm surprised it's still on in the face of the MiseryCane's now 30-40 mph gusts in this rainband.

Chances are I won't be around for a spell as this thing plays out however.

G'Night!


And, yeah, these rainfall totals of 12-15+ inches from NC through DE and heading north. Going to be some pretty sad looking photos of flooding tomorrow.


Good luck.
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Sure hope those NY City Skyskraper windows will take 100mph winds.....thats what they are about to get!
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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.


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


press, you may not know me but I feel like I know you and...you certainly have been grumpy today!


you ain't the first person to tell me that...and I will be glad to shoot you any info I get...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
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...

Hey, just don't go down the rabbit hole...the world becomes a much darker place when you do.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL. RI index for 92L on the 00z SHIPS:

Prob of RI for 25 kt RI threshold= 999% is 999.0 times the sample mean(12.8%)
Prob of RI for 30 kt RI threshold= 999% is 999.0 times the sample mean( 8.4%)
Prob of RI for 35 kt RI threshold= 999% is 999.0 times the sample mean( 5.0%)
Prob of RI for 40 kt RI threshold= 999% is 999.0 times the sample mean( 3.4%)



what dos that mean
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114756
Quoting jdjnola:


How many times can Oceania win the war against Eurasia? Please note: your answer is subject to rectification.

Back to Irene!
lol, re-reading that book in between tropical events that tend to keep my attention.
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540. IMA
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

Like this:

BTW, made me snort with that comment, Press
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Quoting presslord:


should be pretty easy...they all just shrink wrapped their pets to their shubbery...


press, you may not know me but I feel like I know you and...you certainly have been grumpy today!
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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.