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:


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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the center has been moving away for hours but it is getting windier. what gives? when will this stop for tidewater va?
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Keeping Irene a hurricane is the biggest joke in Hurricane History. There is no fact out there for several hours that Irene is even close to cat. 1 strenght hurricane. Can anybody prove this wrong?
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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%)
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last post for me til tomorrow

hope to see you with power then p451

@wunderground
Weather Underground
Rain accumulation update: 12-15 inches so far south of Dover, Delaware: wxug.us/ejhv
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Quoting Ldog74:



At least the guy's got a sense of humor.



Hopefully 92L will strengthen pretty rapidly and thus head out to sea. Or, seemingly less likely, it could just dissipate.


We have to laugh.. I remember 9-4-2000 when we hit 109 before and I was in an apartment that the A/C could not cool down..things have gotten better since then...:>)
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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
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Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 28th day of the month at 03:12Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 304)
Storm Number & Year: 09L in 2011
Storm Name: Irene (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 34
Observation Number: 21
A. Time of Center Fix: 28th day of the month at 2:59:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 37°22'N 75°18'W (37.3667N 75.3W)
B. Center Fix Location: 57 miles (92 km) to the NE (50°) from Virginia Beach, VA, USA.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,691m (8,829ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 53kts (~ 61.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 21 nautical miles (24 statute miles) to the ENE (75°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 165° at 91kts (From the SSE at ~ 104.7mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 95 nautical miles (109 statute miles) to the ENE (65°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 955mb (28.20 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 10°C (50°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,054m (10,020ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 13°C (55°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 13°C (55°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 91kts (~ 104.7mph) in the northeast quadrant at 2:27:50Z
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Quoting presslord:


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



What?????
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Quoting FloodingDownInTexas:
That's just great, the temperatures will plummet down to 100 to 106 xD. I was north of houston today in Tomball getting legit 111 degree reading's on the thermometer of the van. (not just heat from being parked)


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.
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527. flsky
That's a big help - sheesh....

Quoting presslord:


should be pretty easy...they all just shrink wrapped their pets to their shubbery...
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About that lack of hurricane-force wind in the official obs discussion...

Besides the issues of land roughness (drag), the time averaging of the official surface obs, etc. the actual landfall of Irene presented the peak wind velocity area to a spot in between the official observation sites.

The sustained wind speeds as per the SFMR, available surface obs (with some corrections for some of the above factors), dropsondes, hurricane hunter radar (adjusted to surface), and some persistence are shown in the below plot. Yellow is 65 knots, plus, "warmer" is higher by 5 knot increments. Also shown, with 3 red circles, are the 3 closest official observation sites.

From 13:30 UTC (this morning):

(Click for full size)

The data embedded:

(Click for full size)


Now, is it possible that all of the adjustments of radar downward, surface obs to one minute, etc. are overdone? Or, maybe, SFMR found erroneously high wind due to island shoaling? Maybe the real sustained peak wind speed at 13:30 UTC was 70 knots, rather than 75 knots? Sure, but if you were there you might not be able to tell the difference.

Either way, Irene bobbed and weaved around our official ob sites.
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Quoting flsky:
Definitely agree.



I agree. He really did bring a sense of calm to chaotic situations.
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Quoting jdjnola:
::Facepalm::

One of the reporters on CNN just said, "I didn't even know you could have a bunch tornadoes in the middle of a hurricane" or something.

Um, it's a huge spinning bunch of rain and strong thunderstorms, genius.


Most of them always have that, Deer in the headlights look.
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Quoting Dennis8:
CONSEQUENCE OF IRENE'S CIRCULATION BRINGING IN DRIER AIR TO OUR DROUGHT STRICKEN AREA. It is 95 degrees right now at my home 3 miles north of downtown Houston at 10 pm.

DISCUSSION...
ALL TIME RECORD HIGH OF 109 HAS BEEN TIED AT IAH (PREVIOUSLY SET
ON 9/4/2000) @ 244 PM. TEMP SPIKED THEN WENT BACK DOWN. STILL HAVE
A FEW HOURS TO BREAK THAT. SADLY...DON`T SEE MUCH OF A CHANGE
TOMORROW WITH A REALLY DRY AIRMASS REMAINING IN PLACE. WRF/NAM12
SHOW ABOUT THE SAME READINGS AS TODAY. (GLS MIGHT SEE A SLIGHTLY
EARLIER START W/ SOUTH WINDS THEREFORE LOWER TEMPS). A LIGHT S/SE
FLOW RESUMES AREAWIDE MONDAY ALLOWING TEMPS TO PLUMMET BACK DOWN
TO 100-106.



At least the guy's got a sense of humor.



Hopefully 92L will strengthen pretty rapidly and thus head out to sea. Or, seemingly less likely, it could just dissipate.
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Irene slowly weakening...I think 962-965 mb at impact NYC. Still though that is a very low pressure for NYC. Wind should gust over 65 mph at JFK, 55 mph at LGA.


Member Since: January 30, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 746
Quoting presslord:


check your WU mail


Done and done!
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Quoting jdjnola:
::Facepalm::

One of the reporters on CNN just said, "I didn't even know you could have a bunch tornadoes in the middle of a hurricane" or something.

Um, it's a huge spinning bunch of rain and strong thunderstorms, genius.


I was like ....duh????...Hahahahaha...let me become a reporter:0
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Quoting animalrsq:
Want to thank everyone for pertinent info. I'm tasked with sending upates to my superiors involved in disaster response in NYC. Any current NY weather and logistics info is much appreciated.


should be pretty easy...they all just shrink wrapped their pets to their shubbery...
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516. DVG
Quoting Birthmark:


As many times as it takes, I hope.


The SEALS will have their way!
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Quoting Dennis8:
CONSEQUENCE OF IRENE'S CIRCULATION BRINGING IN DRIER AIR TO OUR DROUGHT STRICKEN AREA. It is 95 degrees right now at my home 3 miles north of downtown Houston at 10 pm.

DISCUSSION...
ALL TIME RECORD HIGH OF 109 HAS BEEN TIED AT IAH (PREVIOUSLY SET
ON 9/4/2000) @ 244 PM. TEMP SPIKED THEN WENT BACK DOWN. STILL HAVE
A FEW HOURS TO BREAK THAT. SADLY...DON`T SEE MUCH OF A CHANGE
TOMORROW WITH A REALLY DRY AIRMASS REMAINING IN PLACE. WRF/NAM12
SHOW ABOUT THE SAME READINGS AS TODAY. (GLS MIGHT SEE A SLIGHTLY
EARLIER START W/ SOUTH WINDS THEREFORE LOWER TEMPS). A LIGHT S/SE
FLOW RESUMES AREAWIDE MONDAY ALLOWING TEMPS TO PLUMMET BACK DOWN
TO 100-106.
That's just great, the temperatures will plummet down to 100 to 106 xD. I was north of houston today in Tomball getting legit 111 degree reading's on the thermometer of the van. (not just heat from being parked)
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Irene ain't no Katrina, thank God!
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Yep, I heard that stupid comment too... what planet is he from?
Quoting jdjnola:
::Facepalm::

One of the reporters on CNN just said, "I didn't even know you could have a bunch tornadoes in the middle of a hurricane" or something.

Um, it's a huge spinning bunch of rain and strong thunderstorms, genius.
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Quoting TStormSC:

Press, not that there are any Katias there, but the Fred Astaire instructors in West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant are very talented and impressive. :-)


good to know
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Want to thank everyone for pertinent info. I'm tasked with sending upates to my superiors involved in disaster response in NYC. Any current NY weather and logistics info is much appreciated.
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Quoting P451:


Al Zawahiri (or whatever) the Egyptian "doctor".

Whom we supposedly almost killed in a Pakistan strike...but he kinda wasnt there for hours or days before the strike...and we kinda killed kids and families or something.

:/



That's where they hide on purpose. And then sneak out.
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::Facepalm::

One of the reporters on CNN just said, "I didn't even know you could have a bunch tornadoes in the middle of a hurricane" or something.

Um, it's a huge spinning bunch of rain and strong thunderstorms, genius.
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Hurricane Surfing

NOT what you think!
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Quoting Tazmanian:




they sure are ridiculous for picking that name


Agree... Get a baby book and read all the K names, for goodness sakes!!
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Quoting chsstormgirl:


North Chucktown. Work in Mt. P. Mom lives in West Ashley, Grandma (nana) lives on Sullivan's. Born and raised here... Including CofC :)


check your WU mail
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Gov Jeb Bush was one cool, calm, collected person during hurricanes.
i know he was,why didnt he pass his talents to his older brother?
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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...

Need a tin foil hat?
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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 sure are ridiculous for picking that name
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114055
He done good!
Quoting hahaguy:


He's got my vote.
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Quoting presslord:
on an utterly unrelated not...I just heard a news story which makes me wunder.......How many times can we kill the 'number 2' guy in Al Qaeda?!?!?!?!?!

As long as there is more than one person in the organization.
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Quoting KingofNewOrleans:


Some famous Katias--according to all-knowing Wikipedia

Italian Soprano Katia Ricarelli
Greek Supermodel and occasional actress Katia Zygouli
Brazilian Soccer Star Katia
Robotics Research Professor Katia Sycara


Most interestingly, porn aside, French Volcanists Katia Krafft who died with her husband and 41 journalists in a pyroclastic flow on Mount Unzen that jumped out of a channel and overran the ridge they were all on.

Press, not that there are any Katias there, but the Fred Astaire instructors in West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant are very talented and impressive. :-)
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@cnnbrk
CNN Breaking News
Storms damaged 30-40 homes in Lewes, Del., fire department says #Irene on.cnn.com/nNZItz
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Thanks Dan --- I too have searched. No word.
Quoting PcolaDan:

I have searched all over after you first asked and haven't been able to find anything.
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Quoting presslord:


What part of town are you in?


North Chucktown. Work in Mt. P. Mom lives in West Ashley, Grandma (nana) lives on Sullivan's. Born and raised here... Including CofC :)
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Quoting presslord:
on an utterly unrelated not...I just heard a news story which makes me wunder.......How many times can we kill the 'number 2' guy in Al Qaeda?!?!?!?!?!


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

Back to Irene!
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Quoting hahaguy:


He's got my vote.


Charlie Christ was better than both. Just saying. :-)

Anyways...
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HOUSTON NWS AFD

THERE IS HOPE.

LOW & MID LEVEL RIDGES PUSH EAST OF THE AREA BY MIDWEEK. BOTH
GFS/ECMWF SHOW A SLUG OF DEEP TROPICAL MOISTURE MOVING UP FROM
THE CARIBBEAN AND BAY OF CAMPECHE INTO SE TX - ARRIVING WED NIGHT
AND QUITE POSSIBLY PERSISTING WELL INTO THE WEEKEND. BOTH MODELS
SHOW AN INVERTED TROF OR WEAKNESS IN THE MID LEVELS SITUATED JUST
TO OUR WEST WHICH IS HISTORICALLY A GOOD SIGN FOR SUMMERTIME RAIN.
EXPECT SCT SHRA/TSRA EACH DAY - POSSIBLY EVEN WIDESPREAD AT TIMES
IF THE ECMWF IS ON TARGET WHICH SHOWS SOME SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS
ACROSS THE CWA (SEVERAL INCHES). WILL NUDGE POPS UPWARDS DURING
THE 2ND HALF OF THE WEEK AND SUSPECT THEY MIGHT NEED TO CONTINUE
TO BE BUMPED UP AS FCST CONFIDENCE INCREASES. 47
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Any word from his area? Rich's Inlet? I'm getting a bit concerned...

I have searched all over after you first asked and haven't been able to find anything.
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About JeffMasters

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