Archive for August 26, 2011

HURRICANE IRENE WEAKENS SOMEWHAT BUT IT IS STILL A LARGE AND POWERFUL STORM… HEAVY FLOODING RAINS, STRONG DAMAGING WINDS, AND COASTAL FLOODING ARE ALL POSSIBLE FROM THIS STORM FOR AREAS ALONG ITS PATH

Well, by now you should be fully prepared for Hurricane Irene’s arrival. Forecasters have been saying that the east coast is overdue for a hurricane and now we have one that will be making landfall in NC Saturday morning.

Here’s the good news… Hurricane Irene has weakened a bit as dry air and wind shear have disrupted the storm’s structure. However, the storm is huge in area and it is still a formidable tropical cyclone. And, it is possible, since it is going over the very warm water of the Gulf Stream, it may pick up some strength but that is not in the forecast right now. Odds are that it will come ashore as a category one hurricane. The problem with the track of the storm is that it will be very close to the water in its trek up the east coast. This will help it to maintain its overall structure. So, even though that the interaction with land and cooler water will weaken the cyclone somewhat, it will most likely be a big wind and rain maker all the way up the coast to Southern New England. What does it mean for Hampton Roads? As it looks like right now, we will see rain overspread the area from south to north overnight (Friday night) and the winds should steadily increase. By Saturday morning, it should be raining quite heavily in most, if not all,  of Hampton Roads and the wind speeds will be approaching tropical storm force. As we go through the day on Saturday, conditions will most likely deteriorate and power outages will most likely be widespread throughout the area. Winds will most likely be gusting to hurricane force. Depending on the storm’s exact track and intensity, there may be a period of sustained hurricane winds here in Hampton Roads, especially in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Even if the storm weakens further, flooding rains will be an issue along with major coastal flooding in some areas. Once the storm moves north of our region Saturday night conditions will improve. By Sunday, the rain should be gone for the most part and the winds will be lessening throughout the day. The size of the storm and the duration of the high winds should result in coastal flooding in the normal flood prone areas. If the peak of the storm comes at high tide, that will make matters worse. Mandatory evactuations have been ordered for low lying areas from NC all the way up the coast to Southern New England. Even New York City is taking no chances and has evactuated many coastal areas. Hopefully, this latest weakening trend continues and maybe it won’t be that bad for folks up there. Please monitor your local media for updates throughout this event. If I have power on Saturday, I will post an update. Be safe and take care. Thanks for reading.

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