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

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

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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

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136. MTWX
Quoting MississippiWx:
First it was exceptional warmth and now most of the country is experiencing abnormally dry to drought conditions. I really believe it is hard to deny that our climate isn't in a highly variable state right now. You can blame the cause on whatever, but I believe it's hard for anyone to say it's not happening at this point. I'm not sure I've ever seen the drought monitor map look like this:



Our colors will start showing up here in MS too if we don't start getting some real rain soon! We has slightly above average rain for March, but April finished out 4-8" below average for the month! Looks like we are heading into another drought ridden summer!
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Quoting RitaEvac:


It's a slow death and just kills everything


The drought is taking a toll on the pine trees around here as they are dying left and right due to the pine beatle invasion.
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StormTracker2K how are the crape myrtles?
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Quoting RitaEvac:
There's an eye!

It looks similar to Tropical storm Claudette.
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Quoting etxwx:


Wait...was that a wobble??

Yeah, it was a wobble to the west
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And here comes 'wall of water' !
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2nd thunderstorm of the 2012 season nears my home. It's 8.10 PM,so it's quite dark and I see thunders very well :)
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
I tell you I know how those people in TX felt last year as some of the Oak trees in my complex are dying (or I should say wilting) because of the heat and extreme dryness.


It's a slow death and just kills everything
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128. etxwx
Quoting RitaEvac:
There's an eye!



Wait...was that a wobble??
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Quoting BobWallace:
Grothar -

A new development that you might have not yet seen. Researchers have been able to recover a blood sample from Oetzi. And have been able to determine that he lived for a while after being shot in the back with an arrow rather than dying soon after as was thought...


"The Oetzi DNA analysis presented in February also revealed that Oetzi had brown eyes and hair and was allergic to milk products...."

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/1206943 0-photo-worlds-oldest-blood-found-in-5300yearold-i ceman-mummy-oetzi?utm_source=stormpost&utm_medium= email&utm_campaign=Allvoices%20Newsletter


Here is the link - I think Grothar knew this guy?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4758
Quoting StormTracker2K:
I tell you I know how those people in TX felt last year as some of the Oak trees in my complex are dying (or I should say wilting) because of the heat and extreme dryness.

I know it sounds crazy but the Sabal Palms in our yard are doing the same thing....
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589

The animation shows a little blip in the Gulf wind patterns but nothing more....
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
I tell you I know how those people in TX felt last year as some of the Oak trees in my complex are dying (or I should say wilting) because of the heat and extreme dryness.
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Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting RitaEvac:
There's an eye!


Warnings posted in the next 3 hours....
Run for your lives!!!
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There's an eye!

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Quoting jeffs713:

nah, Texas has a neon sign over it saying "please rain here".


Lol. :)
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Quoting LargoFl:


Yeah the NWS in Melbourne says that we can expect a chance of rain everyday starting Saturday. Could be the rainy season setting in but I will believe it once rain starts falling at my place of residence.

NEXT WEEK...AMPLIFIED RIDGE DEVELOPING OVER THE CENTRAL GULF COAST WILL
INDUCE DOWNSTREAM HGHT FALLS OVER THE SE US COAST. A BACKDOOR SFC FRONT
IS ADVERTISED TO DROP SWD ACROSS THE GA/NE FL COAST ON SUN...BRINGING
FAVORABLE WLY STEERING AND INCREASED MOISTURE/INSTABILITY LOCALLY.
GFS APPEARS MOST BULLISH WITH FEATURE AND WL COMPROMISE WITH A SCENARIO
OF GENERAL HGHT FALLS AND PERHAPS A WEAK LOW EAST OF THE STATE SUN/MON.
HIGHEST RAIN CHC CURRENTLY SUN WITH SCT POPS AREAWIDE AND THUNDER.
WL KEEP A RATHER UNSETTLED SYNOPTIC PATTERN ACROSS THE AREA
PERSISTING INTO MIDWEEK.
ATLC RIDGE APPEARS TO BEGIN A TEMPORARY
RE-DEVELOPMENT AROUND MIDWEEK...HWVR POPS LOOK MENTIONABLE DUE TO
WEAK AT BEST RIDGE AND SUITABLE MOISTURE.

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Grothar -

A new development that you might have not yet seen. Researchers have been able to recover a blood sample from Oetzi. And have been able to determine that he lived for a while after being shot in the back with an arrow rather than dying soon after as was thought...


"The Oetzi DNA analysis presented in February also revealed that Oetzi had brown eyes and hair and was allergic to milk products...."

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/1206943 0-photo-worlds-oldest-blood-found-in-5300yearold-i ceman-mummy-oetzi?utm_source=stormpost&utm_medium= email&utm_campaign=Allvoices%20Newsletter
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting LargoFl:

Is that a cold front coming from the East Coast?
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41178
The differences between this year and last. But the big if is periodic rains. I laughed and had a "well duh!" moment when I read this headline but they did as well. :)

Are we in store for another hot summer?


Updated: May 03, 2012 9:51 AM CDT
By Grant Dade

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

Are in store for another hot summer? Well, of course we are. This is East Texas. But those worrying about the upcoming summer and if it will be as hot as last year, it still looks as though it will not. The mild winter and warm start to spring have many concerned what we could be in store for heat wise this summer. So let's take a look at what has occurred so far this year and how it compared to last year's start to the excessive heat.

The winter of 2011 was close to what we normally see across East Texas. There were three very cold outbreaks that made the winter seem much colder than normal but when you look at the overall temperatures for the winter months, things began to average out. Now this winter we were much above normal thanks in part to an abnormal jet stream pattern that kept the arctic air looked up in Europe and mild temperatures across the United States. This pattern also sent numerous storm systems across the South Central United States allowing for above normal rainfall helping the drought conditions across East Texas. This is why as of right now this summer looks to be closer to normal, but more on that later.

April 2012 was warm across the area but no 90s were reported except for one 90 degree day in Crockett. April 2011 saw around ten 90°F degree days at most reporting stations in East Texas with many spots hitting 94°F. So even though it appears warm across the area, which it is, we are off to a much better start than we were last spring and summer.

As we head into the first weekend of May, temperatures will approach the 90 degree mark. Although this is above normal it is not unheard of to see 90 degree temperatures during the first half of May. Last year most of East Texas saw the middle 90s before May 10th. The one thing that is still on our side for not having an extremely hot summer is soil moisture. The above normal rainfall previously mentioned in the winter of 2012 has allowed soil moisture to reach near normal levels again across East Texas. This time last year we had less than 20% of normal soil moisture and with the higher sun angle and evaporation rates, the ground baked in late May. By July 2011 the soils moisture across East Texas was less than 1% of normal. This turned our climate to what you would normally see across southwest Texas with lows in the 60s and highs between 105°F and 110°F every afternoon for nearly 90 days.

As long as we periodically receive rain, the soil moisture will not become that low again this upcoming summer. Even if we see a strong ridge of high pressure sit over East Texas like we did last July, without an extremely dry ground we will not see a prolonged 105°F to 110°F high temperature period. When we have soil moisture, much of the sun's energy is used to try and evaporate that moisture before heating the ground which in turn heats the air.

So we will continue to watch what unfolds over the next month or two but so far, a repeat of last summer seems highly unlikely. The summer of 2011 was a combination of events that hopefully only happens every 100 years or so that most of us will never see again.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


FL has a sign that says the next desert.

You know it's bad when the palm trees are wilting....
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting jeffs713:

nah, Texas has a neon sign over it saying "please rain here".


FL has a sign that says the next desert.
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Quoting jeffs713:

nah, Texas has a neon sign over it saying "please rain here".

Give us time.... we will too in about 3 days...
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting thunderbug91:

Looks to me like Texas.....
lol

nah, Texas has a neon sign over it saying "please rain here".
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
It almost looks as if this system is getting better organized as the winds on the westside of this meso low are starting to back around.

Link

Eh, not really. If you look at the RGB loop, you will see the low clouds on the west side aren't showing any kind of movement east or south, but rather slowly drifting off to the west. Also, when watching the loop, I couldn't help but to notice the frequent outflow boundaries getting pushed off, especially to the SW. As long as this system is pushing off outflow boundaries... it has exactly zero chance of developing.
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Quoting jeffs713:

I thought it was California. ;)

Looks to me like Texas.....
lol
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting Grothar:




The Central Atlantic. In case some of you aren't sure, the image above is of Florida.


Very wet in the eastern Caribbean and northern south America
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Quoting Grothar:




The Central Atlantic. In case some of you aren't sure, the image above is of Florida.


I thought it was California. ;)
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
It almost looks as if this system is getting better organized as the winds on the westside of this meso low are starting to back around.

Link

Yes, i see that.. very interesting!
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
105. unf97
It is extremely dry here as well in Northeast Florida. The total rainfall I have measured for the year to date is only just under 5.25 inches, which is approximately 10 inches below where the average rainfall should be for early May. There has been no rain here in the Jacksonville area since April 21.

So, yeah, I really hope the pattern change will come soon and the rainy season will kick into gear. If it doesn't, we may be looking at a scenario that we had back in 1998 around these parts when wildfires destroyed homes and many areas of acreage across this area.
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The Central Atlantic. In case some of you aren't sure, the image above is of Florida.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26958
It almost looks as if this system is getting better organized as the winds on the westside of this meso low are starting to back around.

Link
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Yeah its a little on the muggy side.  Starting to see a pool of 68 F dew points expand up here in Central Illinois.  Bunches of sun.  

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80 & 71% humidity at noon, this is early May isn't it? Looks to break these high 80s/90s by Mon/Tues, though rain chances continue through to next Thurs. Wish we could send most of it South, but when it rains it pours... Hope everyone gets to enjoy their Derby Day/Cinco de Mayo!
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Quoting BobWallace:


Refill reservoirs, yes.

Soak into the soil, not so likely.

If you're going to be living with a few, heavy rains per year rather than a larger number of lingering rains you're going to have soil moisture problems.

Anything that can be done to help some of those heavy rains to soak in rather than run off would help. It might be time to do some large scale thinking.


Oh, I understand. Our soil moisture was doing great just 3 weeks ago, but it has really dried out since then, as we've had no rain, but a bit more heat and dry air than usual. So soil moisture content has gone into the dumps.

For the best soil moisture, we need about 1/2 to 3/4 an inch of rain twice per week. To really fix the drought, we need that 3-4 times per week, for several months.
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Quoting tampahurricane:
Is that blob working its way towards the Tampabay area?

I wish but it appears to have no interest in doing so...
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Is that blob working its way towards the Tampabay area?
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Area and extent recover.

Average thickness and total volume hardly recovers at all, and actually has a net loss almost every year for the past 15 years, except 2000, 2001, and 2008.

The reason area recovers is because heat gets transported away through convection, which provides a slight negative feedback. Once the water cools off enough, a thin layer of ice can then re-form.


No argument about the ice volume and thickness. I never thought about convection causing a negative feedback. Very interesting. In Dr. Master's post a few weeks back he talked about the evidence of that the loss of sea ice extent was causing the jet stream to behave differently (larger amplitude and slower movement). Living in the northeast this makes sense when you compare the last two winter we had (one with record high snowfall and temperatures significantly below average and this winter with record high temperatures and almost no snowfall). It will be interesting to see how an ever accelerating rate of change in sea ice affects the jet stream and future weather patterns.
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I haven't seen any lightning strikes in months....
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting jeffs713:

What TX needs the most right now is a large and wet tropical system (Cat 1 or TS would do awesome, preferably TS) to come ashore just south of Corpus, and swing up through the high plains (staying west of San Antonio and Dallas), dumping lots of rain on the high plains and points east. This would refill the reservoirs, and also provide some solid, steady rain which is sorely needed. As a point of reference, Lake Travis is *still* 33 feet below "normal" levels (roughly 50% of capacity).


Refill reservoirs, yes.

Soak into the soil, not so likely.

If you're going to be living with a few, heavy rains per year rather than a larger number of lingering rains you're going to have soil moisture problems.

Anything that can be done to help some of those heavy rains to soak in rather than run off would help. It might be time to do some large scale thinking.

Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
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That system in the Gulf is teasing me.... I just want RAIN!!!!!! It's dry as a bone here and fires are kicking up again.... It's all humid and mid 90s but not really anything in the sky...
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting RTSplayer:


Area and extent recover.

Average thickness and total volume hardly recovers at all, and actually has a net loss almost every year for the past 15 years, except 2000, 2001, and 2008.

The reason area recovers is because heat gets transported away through convection, which provides a slight negative feedback. Once the water cools off enough, a thin layer of ice can then re-form.


Maximum extent and area will decrease.

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.

Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting hydrus:
I still have the Discovery Magazine on that. Found him with his knife, bow, arrows, food and most of his clothing intact. It has been fairly quiet past couple days weatherwise. This thing in the gulf is interesting.

Thanks much hydrus...yes it is
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Quoting Guysgal:
So when President Obama suddenly starts talking -- quite voluntarily -- about global warming as a campaign issue, you know something’s up. What’s up, it turns out, is public concern over climate change after years of polling in which Americans claimed to be ever less worried about the phenomenon. Link


People are less worried about the economy. No one should be surprised that climate change concern was pushed to the background while people were worried about keeping bread on the table and a roof over their heads.

A president, or any other official facing election, can't get too far out in front on any issue. Their first job is to get re-elected and that means pissing off as few people as possible.

PBO has said little about climate change over the last couple of years, but he's been doing things which help us cut our fossil fuel use and our CO2 output.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting wilsongti45:


Sea ice recovering to almost normal levels during the maximum in winter, followed by a drastic fall during the melt season is becoming the pattern when you look at the year long graphs. I wonder what the implications are of having such a contrast in the extent of ice over the seasons.


Area and extent recover.

Average thickness and total volume hardly recovers at all, and actually has a net loss almost every year for the past 15 years, except 2000, 2001, and 2008.

The reason area recovers is because heat gets transported away through convection, which provides a slight negative feedback. Once the water cools off enough, a thin layer of ice can then re-form.
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Quoting BobWallace:


Seems like you guys got a few, very heavy rains rather than an extended rainy season.

If that's true then you might not have had much absorption into the soil, a lot of the rain would have run off. If there was little moisture penetration then super dry soil should appear early in the season.

If few-heavy is going to be your new rain pattern then it might be time to start building absorption ponds. Get some of that water back into the aquifer.

Most of the issue down here is that while we've gotten some solid rains, it hasn't been enough to put a dent into the drought. The most I've gotten in one event was 1.4", and the most I've received in a week this year was 3.2". It just hasn't been enough to refill the water tables, aquifers, and lakes. We were down something like 26" at the end of last year (in Tomball, TX). We are about 6" over for the year now - but we are still hurting because of the deficit from before.

What TX needs the most right now is a large and wet tropical system (Cat 1 or TS would do awesome, preferably TS) to come ashore just south of Corpus, and swing up through the high plains (staying west of San Antonio and Dallas), dumping lots of rain on the high plains and points east. This would refill the reservoirs, and also provide some solid, steady rain which is sorely needed. As a point of reference, Lake Travis is *still* 33 feet below "normal" levels (roughly 50% of capacity).
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Quoting wilsongti45:
Arctic sea ice extent taking a dive after reaching almost normal extent. Thin arctic ice seems to be melting away quickly.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_i mages/N_stddev_timeseries.png


An extent drop of 1,011,920km sq in seven days.

All that "recovery" that happened a month or so ago and got folks all excited is melting away very fast. Just as one would expect with late season, thin ice.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting Grothar:


You should read up on this one. Very interesting articles published for it, including the mummy Oetzi they found in Switzerland a few years back from this period.
I still have the Discovery Magazine on that. Found him with his knife, bow, arrows, food and most of his clothing intact.
Quoting nigel20:
Hey Grothar and hydrus. What did I miss over the past couple of days?
It has been fairly quiet past couple days weatherwise. This thing in the gulf is interesting.
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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.