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 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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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Can we get Jeb back??? He did good for FL.


He's got my vote.
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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.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Push for no insurance rate limitations and demand Citizens be sold to highest private bidder?

Seems about right for him.
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Quoting chsstormgirl:


Oy. That won't make Press happy. Longest they say we went between storms was 12 years, with an average of getting one every 3 years. Enough said... I'm sushing now :)
However, good to know Portlight is near...


What part of town are you in?
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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?!?!?!?!?!

There is always a replacement. But who is number one now?
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Any word from his area? Rich's Inlet? I'm getting a bit concerned...
Quoting presslord:



nope ...gonna try to send some guys to his place tomorrow....
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Quoting V26R:



And as for Bloomberg Speaking Spanish, yes it is kind of funny, but many of the people who he is responsible for speak only Spanish, so He is doing the best he can

my girlfriend is puerto rican, and fluent in spanish. she confirms the mayor's spanish is pretty funny. but his effort is widely appreciated.
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Quoting bappit:

That plot does not agree with either the map of wind speeds in the Doctor's blog or the hurricane hunter reports posted by Orca.

IRENE HAS CHANGED LITTLE IN APPEARANCE IN SATELLITE IMAGERY...BUT
THE RADAR DEPICTION HAS DEGRADED OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS. AN AIR
FORCE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INVESTIGATING THE HURRICANE THIS
EVENING HAS FOUND 700 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS OF 92 KT AND SFMR WINDS
OF 66 KT IN A SMALL AREA MORE THAN 100 NMI EAST OF THE CENTER.
BASED ON THIS INFORMATION...THE INTENSITY OF IRENE IS BEING
MAINTAINED AT 70 KT FOR THIS ADVISORY. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE
WIND FIELD GRAPHICS BASED ON THE FOUR-QUADRANT RADII WILL DEPICT AN
UNREALISTICALLY LARGE AREA OF HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS
.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting MississippiWx:
The Texas ridge is leaving at the wrong time of the season for the GOM states. However, I'm sure for Texas, anytime is good for it to leave.

Yeah, not a good setup for the US in the 8-10 day range:

Local weatherman here in se texas said it would move off finally to the north east by the end of next week.
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Quoting presslord:


only in Russian porn


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.
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Can we get Jeb back??? He did good for FL.
Quoting hahaguy:


Agree completely. Scared to see what the creature rick scott will do if we get hit.
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Quoting Vero1:
You can go here to find out local probibilities for hits in 60 mile of you: http://www.hurricanecity.com/cities.htm


Oy. That won't make Press happy. Longest they say we went between storms was 12 years, with an average of getting one every 3 years. Enough said... I'm sushing now :)
However, good to know Portlight is near...
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Tornado warning issued for Mercer and Monmouth counties in NJ until 11:30pm. Mainly targeted for Jackson and Allentown NJ.

Delaware River predicted to be above flood stage tomorrow evening.

Central Jersey may not be directly on the shore, but the rain is coming down and the wind is starting to pick up.
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Quoting Beachfoxx:
Hey Press in or w/out a Dress... any word from our friend????



nope ...gonna try to send some guys to his place tomorrow....
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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 many times as it takes, I hope.
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472. flsky
Definitely agree.

Quoting PcolaDan:


Gov Jeb Bush was one cool, calm, collected person during hurricanes.
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Quoting hahaguy:


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


Push for no insurance rate limitations and demand Citizens be sold to highest private bidder?
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Well, you don't see this every day.

That plot does not agree with either the map of wind speeds in the Doctor's blog or the hurricane hunter reports posted by Orca.
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9 confirmed dead already according to CNN. We'll see how many more are added to the count tonight and tomorrow. So tragic. :(
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Quoting FLdewey:
A heart felt salute to the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As always they'll be out all night.



Thanks Dewey for bringing this point up with picture. They are the true Neither Rain, nor Sleet, Nor Gloom of Night.
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Hey Press in or w/out a Dress... any word from our friend????
Quoting presslord:


you're right...but...shush ;-)
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Dover, Maryland

10:55 PM 75.4 °F 73.9 °F 95% 29.13 in 2.5 mi NE 31.1 mph 42.6 mph 0.14 in Rain Light Rain
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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?!?!?!?!?!
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Quoting Orcasystems:



Great graphic showing how the strongest winds are over the ocean east of the center!
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Quoting AussieStorm:
46th & Broadway streaming cam.


Very nice quality.
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Quoting chsstormgirl:


I did read a couple days back that someone on here said strike locations were cyclical; GOM would have them for a couple of years, then Florida... Gotta admit, Press, we're overdue for a major. They usually come about every 20 years.



I say we start a new trend, and go 100 years in between hits.
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Quoting FloorManBroward:


Awesome a hurriquake

Only a 2.0 magnitude this morning listed on the USGS site
must be an aftershock
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Quoting blsealevel:
Earth Quake again in Dc not confirmed yet


Awesome a hurriquake

Only a 2.0 magnitude this morning listed on the USGS site
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457. Vero1
Quoting chsstormgirl:


I did read a couple days back that someone on here said strike locations were cyclical; GOM would have them for a couple of years, then Florida... Gotta admit, Press, we're overdue for a major. They usually come about every 20 years.
You can go here to find out local probibilities for hits in 60 mile of you: http://www.hurricanecity.com/cities.htm
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Well, you don't see this every day.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Strong thunderstorms and heavy rain in Secaucus, NJ - wondering about the Hakensack river.
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46th & Broadway streaming cam.

Time Square from Above.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15962
Quoting MississippiWx:
The Texas ridge is leaving at the wrong time of the season for the GOM states. However, I'm sure for Texas, anytime is good for it to leave.

Yeah, not a good setup for the US in the 8-10 day range:

That wave off of Africa needs to be watched as it will be out there at that time.
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Quoting chsstormgirl:


I did read a couple days back that someone on here said strike locations were cyclical; GOM would have them for a couple of years, then Florida... Gotta admit, Press, we're overdue for a major. They usually come about every 20 years.


you're right...but...shush ;-)
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Did anyone see the latest Dropsonde?
Product: Air Force Temp Drop (Dropsonde) Message (UZNT13 KNHC)
Transmitted: 28th day of the month at 02:31Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 304)
Storm Number: 09
Storm Name: Irene (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 34
Observation Number: 19

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Quoting PcolaDan:


Gov Jeb Bush was one cool, calm, collected person during hurricanes.


Agree completely. Scared to see what the creature rick scott will do if we get hit.
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Quoting Dennis8:
Washington, DC

10:09 PM 73.4 °F 69.8 °F 88% 29.32 in 2.5 mi NNE 35.7 mph 50.6 mph 0.11 in Rain Heavy Rain
Well my kids have been through blizzards in the mountains so they shouldn't be to scared.Their with their dad.He just called and said that some houses on the same street are without power.
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EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED TORNADO WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ 1056 PM EDT SAT AUG 27 2011

Link
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...IRENE DRENCHING THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES WITH HEAVY RAINS AS IT SKIRTS THE DELMARVA PENINSULA...
11:00 PM EDT Sat Aug 27
Location: 37.3°N 75.4°W
Max sustained: 80 mph
Moving: NNE at 16 mph
Min pressure: 954 mb
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
Quoting tazzer06:
Can someone explain what the mean when they say the storm is hybrid! TIA

It may be a form of wish casting in this case, but hurricanes moving quickly in the direction of the wind shear can maintain some of their intensity. If they go extratropical, then the sort of processes that fuel nor'easters can contribute to the storm. Then again, nor'easters are also fueled by moisture off the ocean--not just temperature differences--so it can go both ways.

Edith in (I think) 1970 came ashore in southwest Louisiana and surprised people by the speed with which it moved northeast and the intensity of the wind gusts as it passed over Baton Rouge. Edith was not extratropical. Despite the surprise, the power was back on where I lived by about 9 PM that evening. It had been a category two hurricane just prior to landfall and had given a hurricane hunter flight a very bad ride.

Hilda in October, 1964 (peak wind gust of 138 mph) went extratropical as it exited Louisiana. A somewhat chilly NW wind blew through southern Lousiana as it moved out. I was outside playing football at the time. There were unexpectedly strong wind gusts (over 50 mph) over Lake Pontchartrain the afternoon it departed.

Wilma over south Florida would be another example. It was somewhat of a surprise I think though I don't think it went extratropical. [while over south Florida]
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Quoting floridaT:
alot of tornado warnings. anyone know of any tornado damage tonight?

Link
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 667
OK, I just got back here after doing some unrelated research, and it's all gone silly. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I still have a major tropical event breathing up my windpipe, so goodnight to all and will check in tomorrow, if I can.
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Quoting presslord:


shush


I did read a couple days back that someone on here said strike locations were cyclical; GOM would have them for a couple of years, then Florida... Gotta admit, Press, we're overdue for a major. They usually come about every 20 years.
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Quoting flsky:
Just watched a very succinct, informational news conference with NY's Bloomberg. Remained on point, no sensationalism, good recommendations, etc., etc. Even some comments in Spanish. He also responded to questions from reporters admirably. Please know I don't have any political interests in New York's situation, but being from Florida, I've seen many news conferences of this sort and I think he did an excellent job. I certainly hope NY and every other state affected by this storm get thru it with the least amount of trouble. Be assured, most of us who follow these thing will not just focus on NY, but every other location affected. Good luck everybody.


Gov Jeb Bush was one cool, calm, collected person during hurricanes.
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alot of tornado warnings. anyone know of any tornado damage tonight?
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Washington, DC

10:09 PM 73.4 °F 69.8 °F 88% 29.32 in 2.5 mi NNE 35.7 mph 50.6 mph 0.11 in Rain Heavy Rain
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Quoting MississippiWx:
The Texas ridge is leaving at the wrong time of the season for the GOM states. However, I'm sure for Texas, anytime is good for it to leave.

Yeah, not a good setup for the US in the 8-10 day range:




Like I said not good. That should allow the A/B high to push the Cape Verde storm tracks much farther West. Watch for a dramatic shift in the models folks:0
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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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