Hurricane Irene of 2011 now rated history's 6th most damaging hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:33 PM GMT on May 03, 2012

Share this Blog
32
+

New damage estimates released last month by NOAA now place the damage from 2011's Hurricane Irene at $15.8 billion, making the storm the 6th costliest hurricane and 10th costliest weather-related disaster in U.S. history. Irene hit North Carolina on August 27, 2011, as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds, and made landfalls the next day in New Jersey and New York City as a tropical storm. Most of the damage from Irene occurred because of the tremendous fresh water flooding the storm's rains brought to much of New England. Irene is now rated as the most expensive Category 1 hurricane to hit the U.S. The previous record was held by Hurricane Agnes of 1972, whose floods did $11.8 billion in damage in the Northeast. NOAA also announced that the name Irene had been retired from the list of active hurricane names. Irene was the only named retired in 2011, and was the 76th name to be retired since 1954. The name Irene was replaced with Irma, which is next scheduled be used in 2017.


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 winds. Image credit: NASA.

At last month's 30th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology of the American Meteorological Society, Paul Ruscher of Florida State University explained how Irene's storm surge came within 8 inches of flooding New York City's subway system, which would have caused devastating damage. At the current global rate of sea level rise of 3.1 mm/year, a repeat of Irene 65 years from now would be capable of flooding the subway system, if no action is taken. Since sea level rise is expected to accelerate as the planet warms in coming decades, an Irene-type storm surge would likely be capable of flooding the NYC subway system much sooner than that. To read more about New York City's vulnerability, see Andrew Freedman's analysis at Climate Central, Climate Change Could Cripple New York’s Transportation, or my November 2011 blog post, Hurricane Irene: New York City dodges a potential storm surge mega-disaster.

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: 286 - 236

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11Blog Index

286. Articuno
11:20 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Alright, one question I'd like to ask, I have always wanted know what state took more damage from Irene, North Carolina, or Vermont?
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2296
285. SherwoodSpirit
11:19 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting MississippiWx:
Have yet to see it mentioned, but today is the 13th anniversary of the Moore, Oklahoma F5 tornado.


I was living in Wichita Kansas on May 3rd, 99. That same system came north from Oklahoma and ripped up the south end of Wichita. When it passed over my house, the tornado was at treetop level. My ears popped as it passed overhead, and the noise it made was deafening. I heard large objects hitting the house above the scream of the wind.

When it was over, I went outside and every square inch of lawn, sidewalk and street, was covered with debris. Mostly ground up shingles, bits of wood and insulation, and assorted papers, but also I obtained two plastic lawnchairs, a roof cap and someone's aluminum shed (or what was left of it). In amongst the debris found by some of my friends were letters with addresses from Moore, Oklahoma. That debris traveled more than 50 miles in the storm to be dumped on us!

I have never been so frightened during a storm, but luckily the only damage I sustained was a large tree limb that dented the back of my car slightly. If my car had been a couple feet west, it would have been smashed flat. That, and pounds and pounds of bits of people's houses that had to be raked and shoveled out of my lawn.

Member Since: July 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 394
284. CaribBoy
11:06 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
GFS shows a very significant rain event in the already wet Eastern Caribbean islands

Model loop

Any thoughts?
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5969
281. Neapolitan
10:54 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:

RTS ~ how many other times has the Arctic been ice free?
As RTS answered, no one knows. But, based on fossil and sediment data, it's been at least 7,000 - 8,000 years, if not longer.

When the Arctic becomes ice-free for weeks or months out of the year, it's going to cause quite a lot of sociopolitical upheaval. For instance, new oil exploration areas are already being fought over--who owns what, and where? New trade and shipping routes will open for which there'll doubtless be cutthroat competition. And, of course, nations that have been safely separated by hundreds or thousands of miles of hostile ice will now have but a smallish ocean keeping them apart, so new levels of trust and cooperation will need to be achieved--and that's not easy even under the best circumstances.

There will be a lot of smaller but no less important effects of the new Arctic, as well: hundreds of thousands of tribal members currently earning a living from those waters will see that way of life severely disrupted or wiped out completely; there'll be major disruptions to wildlife in and around the area; and, of course, northern hemisphere weather patterns will be altered to a lesser or greater extent, and those alterations may have (and most likely already are having) an effect on everyone living on the planet.

That stuff is just the tip of the iceberg--so to speak. And that's just one location, mind you; wait until the climate change landslide really gets moving, and the entire globe is dragged along for the ride... :-\
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13462
280. aspectre
10:52 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
67 BobWallace: Those cold Pacific currents cool us off quite a bit along the coast...

...if one is talking about sufficiently far south along the NorthAmerican coast. The NorthPacificCurrent splits into two: the warmer closer-to-the-surface seawater mixes with continental freshwater then is windblown to head northward to form the AlaskaCurrent; which allows the cooler deeper seawater to surface and form the CaliforniaCurrent heading southward.

The warmth of the AlaskaCurrent and the accompanying Washington-thru-AleutianIslands AlaskaCoastalCurrent is essential in providing the heat that keeps the northern coastal*region warm enough and wet enough to support the world's largest TemperateZone rainforest.


* While high winds would snap tall trees, thus preventing the AleutianIslands from having forests as such, nonetheless their other characteristics match well with the PacificTemperateRainforest.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
279. presslord
10:51 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
NOAA job openingLink
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
278. MAweatherboy1
10:30 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:

Wow. Sure looks like it on radar. Where would you put the tornado on that radar? Near the pink in the heart of the debris ball?

Yep... Right in the pink or just NE of it
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7629
275. MAweatherboy1
10:26 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:
270:

F5?

One of the strongest ever actually:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7629
274. RTSplayer
10:26 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:

RTS ~ how many other times has the Arctic been ice free?


I wouldn't know, and honestly I don't think anyone "knows". They have geologic evidence, but that's as much guess work as science, and always has been.

The last time would be at least geologic time scales, based on fossil record and core samples.

It would have been ice free whenever dinosaurs were alive, then again, all the continents would have been about 1000 to 2000 miles different locations at that time, so local temperature records would say nothing about global norms...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
273. Tropicsweatherpr
10:26 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Here is the animation of the sst anomalies of the Weatern Hemisphere since January 1rst till present. You can see the warmups and coolings of both the Atlantic and Pacific basins in the different stages of the timeframe.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14050
272. MississippiWx
10:21 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:
270:

F5?


Yep. Doppler radar detected winds in excess of 300mph during the tornado.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
270. MississippiWx
10:16 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Have yet to see it mentioned, but today is the 13th anniversary of the Moore, Oklahoma F5 tornado.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
269. susieq110
10:04 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
I think somethings up. RAMSDIS moved there floater.
Member Since: June 6, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 94
268. TropicalAnalystwx13
9:53 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


Go back and read the question. It mentioned nothing about "record" storm, just the most storms. One hint, 2008 was third. TA, you must read things carefully to avoid an argument on the blog :)

2003?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
266. Grothar
9:51 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:

Someone is having fun today. Good. Chuckling is healthy.


It's OK. TropicalAnalyst and I are old friends. We always tease each other. I always tell him I have shoes older than he is.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
264. RTSplayer
9:47 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting aspectre:
92 BobWallace: Look at what is happening to the ice in the Great Lakes. It's just a matter of time before we see a decrease in the overall area that experiences all-winter freeze up.

blog2063comment0 Jeff Masters: Ice cover on North America's Great Lakes--Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario, and Erie--has declined 71% since 1973, says a new study published in the Journal of Climate by researchers at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The biggest loser of ice during the 1973 - 2010 time period was Lake Ontario, which saw an 88% decline in ice cover. During the same time period, Superior lost 79% of its ice, Michigan lost 77%, Huron lost 62%, and Erie lost 50%. The loss of ice is due to warming of the lake waters.
Winter air temperatures over the lower Great Lake increased by about 2.7°F (1.5°C) from 1973 - 2010, and by 4 - 5°F (2.3 - 2.7°C) over the northern Lakes, including Lake Superior.
Lake Superior's summer surface water temperature warmed 4.5°F (2.5°C) over the period 1979 - 2006 (Austin and Colman 2007). During the same period, Lake Michigan warmed by about 3.3°F (1.7°C), Lake Huron by 4.3°F (2.4°C), and Lake Erie showed almost no warming.



Just wait till 10 years from now.

Three of them will have no ice at all, maybe even four.

Will be interesting times, I'm sure.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
263. chizarlie
9:45 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That depends on whether or not the cap is able to break across Oklahoma completely on Saturday and the atmosphere can destabilize sufficiently. If it does, Oklahoma could see some Severe Weather as well.

The main event looks to be in Nebraska though.


Ha I've been interpreting CIN maps backwards this whole time.. I thought more negative meant less inhibition.
Member Since: June 8, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
261. Grothar
9:39 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

2005 is the only season that attained record activity in July...it doesn't share that title with any other season.

Nope, they don't know what that 13 in the handle means--or I should say, meant.

Wait, what?

Now Grothar, you know your much older than you just stated.


Go back and read the question. It mentioned nothing about "record" storm, just the most storms. One hint, 2008 was third. TA, you must read things carefully to avoid an argument on the blog :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
260. Barefootontherocks
9:38 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Saturday's Saturday. Nice heads up for central OK, though. Thanks.
:)

In the moment...
Click image for complete graphics and probabilities.

TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 232
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
420 PM CDT THU MAY 3 2012

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

WESTERN ILLINOIS

EFFECTIVE THIS THURSDAY AFTERNOON FROM 420 PM UNTIL MIDNIGHT CDT.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND
GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE
AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 70 STATUTE
MILES EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 35 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF
CHAMPAIGN ILLINOIS TO 65 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST OF MOLINE
ILLINOIS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE
ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU2).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 229...WW 230...WW 231...

DISCUSSION...STORMS ARE FORECAST TO DEVELOP WITHIN INSTABILITY AXIS
ORIENTED ALONG REMNANT OUTFLOW BOUNDARY ACROSS WRN IL. DEEP-LAYER
SHEAR WILL BE SUPPORTIVE OF STORM ORGANIZATION WITH SUPERCELLS
POSSIBLE. IN ADDITION...RELATIVELY STRONG LOW LEVEL FLOW...AND SOME
BACKING OF THE FLOW ACROSS CNTRL PORTIONS OF IL...MAY RESULT IN A
CORRIDOR OF STRONGER LOW LEVEL SRH THAT COULD ENHANCE THE CHANCE FOR
TORNADOES GIVEN THE MAGNITUDE OF EXISTING INSTABILITY.


AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 2 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 60 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 25025.

CARBIN
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18376
258. allancalderini
9:37 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Magnitude 5.2 - NORTH OF HONDURAS
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4049
257. TropicalAnalystwx13
9:34 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting chizarlie:


GFS agrees, too. Could be gnarly for central OK Saturday evening.

That depends on whether or not the cap is able to break across Oklahoma completely on Saturday and the atmosphere can destabilize sufficiently. If it does, Oklahoma could see some Severe Weather as well.

The main event looks to be in Nebraska though.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
256. chizarlie
9:32 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Look at CAPE...



Look at CAP (There isn't one)...



GFS agrees, too. Could be gnarly for central OK Saturday evening.
Member Since: June 8, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
255. TropicalAnalystwx13
9:30 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting Grothar:


Only because you can't answer it. It is not a trick question. Hey aren't you sorry you used 13 at the end of your handle. Now you will always be 13. Suppose I had put a 196 at the end of my name?

2005 is the only season that attained record activity in July...it doesn't share that title with any other season.

Nope, they don't know what that 13 in the handle means--or I should say, meant.

Wait, what?

Now Grothar, you know your much older than you just stated.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
254. jeffs713
9:30 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

300-500 m^2/s^2.


rut-roh.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
253. Grothar
9:29 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That's a trick question.


Only because you can't answer it. It is not a trick question. Hey aren't you sorry you used 13 at the end of your handle. Now you will always be 13. Suppose I had put a 196 at the end of my name?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
252. TropicalAnalystwx13
9:28 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Quoting jeffs713:

That is not a pleasant-looking hodograph there. Or CAPE map. Or CIN map.

Have you been able to find any helicity values for that area?

300-500 m^2/s^2.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
251. Grothar
9:27 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
There is an almost mistake in the Unisys records for 1954 and 1955. It is a trick question, but who can find the mistake first.

I will even give you the link.

Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
Quoting Grothar:
Question of the day. What year had the most July storms, other than 2005?

That's a trick question.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Look at CAPE...



Look at CAP (There isn't one)...


That is not a pleasant-looking hodograph there. Or CAPE map. Or CIN map.

Have you been able to find any helicity values for that area?
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Look at CAPE...



Look at CAP (There isn't one)...

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Yeah, those were preliminary. I'll go back and change them before June 1.


Speaking of polls,who will make a poll here? I remember Hydrus saying that when May starts,he would make it.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14050
Question of the day. What year had the most July storms, other than 2005?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


13,you have 11/7/3 in the poll of another site that I wont mention.

Yeah, those were preliminary. I'll go back and change them before June 1.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
The NAM is showing very favorable ingredients coming together for a tornado outbreak on Saturday across much of Nebraska, southern South Dakota, and western Iowa. EHI values spike to 12 and above, and STP values rise to near 7.

Could be an upcoming Moderate risk.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
Quoting StormTracker2K:


That's my thinking. I could be wrong but did 2002 have an active July? I think TX had a couple of landfalls that summer.


2002 only had one Tropical storm. YOU'RE WRONG :)

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Didn't know what to call it other than Me, so....



13,you have 11/7/3 in the poll of another site that I wont mention.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14050
The MCV is beginning to weaken from what I can tell on visible. If you look closely enough, you can see what little 850mb vort there is spinning off to the NW towards Lower Alabama. The MCV looks to be feeling the strong westerly shear now and the tops of clouds are being pushed to the east.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Tied with 2007 as a matter of fact.

Don't forget 2004 and 2010.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511
Quoting StormTracker2K:


LOL!! Hey I'm wrong a lot so don't feel bad ncstorm.


We're all wrong sometimes. It can be very embarrassing. I know, it happened to me once in 1962.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

2002 had record activity in September.


Tied with 2007 as a matter of fact.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Climate during the last glacial period was far from stable. Two different types of climate changes, called Heinrich and Dansgaard-Oeschger events, occurred repeatedly throughout most of this time. Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events were first reported in Greenland ice cores by scientists Willi Dansgaard and Hans Oeschger. Each of the 25 observed D-O events consist of an abrupt warming to near-interglacial conditions that occurred in a matter of decades, and was followed by a gradual cooling (Figure 4).

Here is the link for the whole story. Very few people are familiar with the Heinrich and Dansgaard-Oeschger Events.
Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25390
Quoting CybrTeddy:


2002 had a very active September, not so much July.

2002 had record activity in September.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31511

Viewing: 286 - 236

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11Blog 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.

Local Weather

Scattered Clouds
58 °F
Scattered Clouds