Irene sends 4.5 foot storm surge up Chesapeake Bay

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:45 AM GMT on August 28, 2011

Share this Blog
22
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 438 - 388

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42Blog Index

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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Philadelphia, PA


9:54 PM 73.0 °F 71.1 °F 93% 29.37 in 1.5 mi NE 29.9 mph 51.8 mph 0.70 in Rain Heavy Rain
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
hey guys im back. power went out. keeps on going out and on. probably out tonight. seeya guys tomorrow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
435. 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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
no weather station orbouys reported sustained hurricane gusts,still expecting 60mph winds max in nyc,they sure got lucky imo
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Irene slowly turning into a 955 mb Nor'Easter... albeit, a very large one... with tornadoes.
Play safe!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A animated progression of all dynamical modeling on Irene after named:


(Click for full size)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:


tonight at mass a nun friend said I seemed grumpy...when the nuns think you're grumpy....well...


LOL 12 years worth here. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Titoxd:
GFS, 384 hours out. This would be Katia… :O

De Ja Vue!! and to look at this on the upcoming anniversary of our devasting Katrina. Not a good picture. Hope and pray this never developes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm headed out for the night guys...Irene kept me up last night with her winds and rain.

#goodnightbloggers
#goodbyeirene
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
Quoting jdjnola:


KatiaRina MoRitaMorFreeman? oh my head hurts

A little odd, but I like it!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


Someone could blame it on the hurricane.

Then someone can blame Global Warming for the hurricane.


It would be perfect.

Global Warming causes Earthquakes.

no,it's sucking the oil out of the ground that causes earthquakes. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
423. Vero1
Quoting OceanMoan:



I was kind of hoping that no more storms would form and we could be done for the season. :-)
Like 2006 when we ended with an "I" storm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting chsstormgirl:


Kman, that means more opportunities for a SE landfall?



I was kind of hoping that no more storms would form and we could be done for the season. :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


I would post a "Grumpy Old Men" picture her, but...


tonight at mass a nun friend said I seemed grumpy...when the nuns think you're grumpy....well...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting TStormSC:

The Electric Company (Rita Moreno/Morgan Freeman) would be very interested in this.


KatiaRina MoRitaMorFreeman? oh my head hurts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WaterWitch11:

People are posting fake eqs on here? Why would someone do that? The real ones are already too much to contend with.


People reported to Did You Feel It

May have been a sonic boom.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NYC Central Park

10:37 PM 73.4 °F 73.4 °F 100% 29.59 in 1.8 mi ENE 17.3 mph 25.3 mph 0.20 in Rain Heavy Rain

rain today 1.29 in
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:


you're a sweetheart...nah...I'm OK...my bs threshold is just at a historic all-time low ;-)


I would post a "Grumpy Old Men" picture here, but...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NWS has issued from Mt Holly 11 tornado warnings in the past 2 hrs
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
90 kts flight level still, way far away from the center.

02:27:30Z 38.167N 73.550W 696.0 mb
(~ 20.55 inHg) 2,998 meters
(~ 9,836 feet) 985.4 mb
(~ 29.10 inHg) - From 165° at 90 knots
(From the SSE at ~ 103.5 mph) 9.8°C
(~ 49.6°F) 9.5°C
(~ 49.1°F) 91 knots
(~ 104.6 mph)
49 knots
(~ 56.3 mph)
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
Quoting chsstormgirl:


Kman, that means more opportunities for a SE landfall?


shush
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting kmanislander:


The models take it to 40W and then sugegst that it will pull up to the NW. Until we get a closed low the models don't mean much IMO. Too early to say but the AB high is not likely to stay as far offshore the SE US as it has so far this season.



Kman, that means more opportunities for a SE landfall?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Blog update:

Special Tropical Tidbit for Saturday Evening, August 27th, with Video


Grateful for your Furthur wisdom
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:



yea...I can send you some links
Hehehe.

No thanks. I'm a good guy. :D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chucktown:


No, the sick joke is that NHC retired Katrina and Rita from 2005 and replaced them with Katia and Rina - KatiaRina ??

The Electric Company (Rita Moreno/Morgan Freeman) would be very interested in this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado warnings in and around the Philidelphia area... Stay safe guys
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


It wasn't the National Hurricane Center's decision, it was the World Meteorological Organization's decision.


Haha thanks for the clarification. It's still a sick joke.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MoltenIce:
Umm...really?


Why not? We've read everything else.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
Quoting druseljic:
Some are, but you can NEVER talk some New Yorker's out of a good Broadway show. lol

Broadway Cam


there are no broadway shows tonight... they cancelled them all. I wonder how many of those people are "News People" who are working in the adjacent buildings, on break. "Let me out of this newsroom!"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jdjnola:


CNN has pretty good coverage.
I know I've been watching CNN or Fox .
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MoltenIce:
Umm...really?



yea...I can send you some links
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492


not much more to go
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
400. JLPR2
Quoting MoltenIce:
It's not the NHC, it's the WMO that determines names (I think).

Still, Katia also a proper female name.


I know a Katia. xD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jdjnola:


That's a sick joke. Oh God why did the NHC just remove the "r" and the "n"?


No, the sick joke is that NHC retired Katrina and Rita from 2005 and replaced them with Katia and Rina - KatiaRina ??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Evening. Just got back to North Florida after driving to Connecticut and leaving our oldest in College in New Haven on Wednesday. Been talking to her on the phone and all the kids (they all stayed) have been supplied with water and food to hunker down for the night and day tomorrow. Local police authorities in New Haven "shut down" a pending party at a local watering hole (The Toad) so the college kids can comply with their local dorm curfew. We took I-85-I-75 back down over the last two days and missed the weather and traffic on I-95 but saw lots of electric utility trucks from Atlanta Power headed North from Atlanta on I-75 yesterday.......The two deaths in Florida so far have been one surfer and a tourist obviously swimming/surfing in rough waters. People really need to stay away from the beach and indoor for the duration of the event even if the storm is not directly affecting you or headed your way.

Talk to Yall later in the week.....


A Yaley? Just tell her to get a pie from Pepe's and chill.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEHCharleston:

I know what you mean about the south being the nation's punching bag, but honestly Press, I do not think there is any disinterest from folks in the south.
1) I noticed the blog was slower and smoother the other day, and put it down to admin doing something about the worse of the trolls
2) Once the track was set in stone, we did not have as much of the impassioned arguments as to track. (I mean folks would really be setting themselves up for crow dinner)- hence fewer posts.
3) Folks from "off" do not realize that many of us were taught to comment when we have something to offer (observations, local conditions etc) and otherwise listen to others when it comes to areas we are not as familiar with.

You sound tired and discouraged. Not like you at all.

I think the timing of the storm and the weekend had a lot to do with this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
395. amd
Quoting P451:


Irene is no longer in the tropics and unlikely to be a purely tropical system anymore. She's gone baroclinic and is venting via the jet stream.

It's a very different process. She won't decay as you would expect a storm undergoing these influences within the deep tropics to decay.

She won't just maintain intensity she may very well deepen.



I do see that point, but there needs to be a surface mechanism to allow for that deepening. In the Igor example from last year, there was an amazing 50 degree Fahrenheit difference between the land areas located at the far northwest regions of Igor and the water temperatures located at the far southeast regions of Igor.

Also, this is a key component for rapidly developing noreasters, when there is a dramatic difference between the temperatures in the gulf stream and just east of it, and the much colder continental air mass.

But, what's the temp difference between the two different sides of Irene, 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe, it's 20 degrees max. I don't think the non-tropical aspects of this storm can help to maintain this system, especially in terms of winds on the west side.

Also, pressure has weakened according to recon 4 mb in a less than 2 hour period, which strongly suggests that the weakening process is well under way, IMO.

Anyway, good luck with the storm. I'm out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:


only in Russian porn
Umm...really?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jdjnola:
Bloomberg sure is NOT Ray Nagin. He's even warning people in Spanish. Even though the storm seems to be weakening, it's true: better to be safe than sorry.

And WOW the streets of NYC are empty! People are listening.
Some are, but you can NEVER talk some New Yorker's out of a good Broadway show. lol

Broadway Cam
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anyway, just a short stop in tonight. I will be back tomorrow afternoon to see what 92 is up to. Good night everyone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Well finally Irene's pressure rises....up to 955mb now. She should only gradually fill before hitting Long Island tomorrow, and may still be around 960-965mb by that time.


Or she may still be at 955 mb. lol.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528
389. V26R
Quoting FLWaterFront:
NYC hurricane prep work is probably a lot like Florida blizzard prep work.

On another note, I just heard NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg try to speak Spanish during a news conference. That was priceless.



You obviously have no idea the Prep work it would take to Evuacuate close to a Million people who live in a Storm Serge Area and considering most of the
Power cables for transportation and communication run underground
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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jdjnola:


That's a sick joke. Oh God why did the NHC just remove the "r" and the "n"?


It wasn't the National Hurricane Center's decision, it was the World Meteorological Organization's decision.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32528

Viewing: 438 - 388

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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