Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane watches to New York City
Hurricane Warnings for SC, NC, VA

5:00 PM EDT 8/24/2011: Hurricane Watches have been extended from the North Carolina coast to New York City, with Hurricane Warnings from the South Carolina coast to extreme southeastern Virginia. Official details in the 5:00 PM NHC Public Advisory and the current NHC track map.

Major Hurricane Irene poses a high impact threat from North Carolina to the Northeast

25 August 11:55 AM | Team statement Expecting landfall between Wilmington and Cape Lookout by 1800 EDT Saturday 27 AUG. After landfall, Irene turns toward north and not curving northeast as much as currently expected due to frictional effects of interaction with land.

Strong easterly component and weaker westerly component will create a new path driving the bulk of the storm farther inland. This results in a path western Pamlico Sound, between Norfolk and Virginia Beach, emerging in the southern Chesapeake Bay. The storm should make a second landfall on the Virginia peninsula or the lower Eastern shore of MD as a low end Cat 2. (approximately 100 mph sustained)

Foot, Salter, Winstead, Palmer, Mitchell, Lear

7:15 AM EDT 8/25/2011 | A Hurricane Watch is in effect for eastern North Carolina, the Outer Banks and Albemarle, Pamlic and Currituck Sounds. Effects from Hurricane Irene are expected to impact this area as early as Friday morning. Text of the current NHC public advisory.

6:15 AM EDT 8/25/2011 | For rapid updates on our latest analyses, please visit the Tropical Zone on facebook. For educators and others unable to view facebook at work or school, we will repost the information in the Tropical Forecasts page.

Major Hurricane Irene poses a significant threat to life and property from eastern North Carolina to New England. If current scenarios continue to play out, Irene may initially appear to be heading out to sea later this evening or Friday morning. If the storm begins interacting with an expected warm front along the Mid-Atlantic coast, the front may draw Irene back toward the coast, increasing frictional effects with land. The result would be a Category 2 hurricane with winds of approximately 100 mph making a second landfall along the southern Delmarva on Sunday morning.

Several well-known computer models across the scientific community have shown Irene bisecting the Delmarva peninsula, or crossing into the Delaware Bay or even drifting into the Chesapeake Bay and slowing down. The impact and property damage potential of that outcome would exceed Katrina.

The Ocean City, MD example Sustained hurricane force winds of 90 mph in downtown Ocean City, MD would breach the dune line. Waves of 20-25 feet would reach the first floors of many high end resort buildings. Surge exceeding 6 feet would inundate most of the city, with most wooden structures in downtown Ocean City destroyed. Surge traveling up the back bay would in turn be forced back onto the western side of the island once wind flow switches to the northwest, driving the water into homes and inlets. We have high confidence in this scenario, extrapolated from the HPC's map issued at 2:00 AM this morning.

For all those along and east of I-95, we urge local public safety officials, emergency managers, school superintendents and operations departments to advance procedures forward today. For the Mid-Atlantic, less than 60 hours remain to complete preparations for this storm. The only concern we have about the NHC's "cone of uncertainty" is to ask if those inside the cone are certain they have enough time to adequately prepare for the storm in the time remaining. (The Mid-Atlantic Team: Forecasters/Advisors Foot, Jackson, Mitchell, Krichinsky, Lear, Owens, Meehan, Natoil)

9:30 PM EDT 8/24/11: Earlier versions of computer model tracks are beginning to shift noticeably farther west in the medium range period of Irene's track for Friday into Sunday. This new guidance, coupled with projections of a warm front along the Delmarva to New Jersey area, suggest that Irene could become an extremely high impact event for much of eastern North Carolina, Southeast Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay, all of Delmarva, New Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania.

Our team is taking a wide angle view to the situation and investigating the latest data at present. We have significant concerns that were a warm front/stationary boundary to set up north of Irene, it would have the effect of pulling the hurricane back in toward the coast. With warm ocean temperatures along the Mid-Atlantic around 80 F and significant moisture from the Atlantic, we are also concerned this warm front will provide a conduit to enhance moisture transport in addition to the hurricane.

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center Day 4 map above already depicts a high impact to extreme outcome with Irene placed nearly on top of Ocean City Maryland as possible Category 2 hurricane on Sunday morning.

Lastly, the worse case scenario would be if Irene and the warm front merge, stalling the hurricane somewhere between the Delmarva and New Jersey. Additional details on our confidence level for this scenario will be posted following a team collaboration.
Forecaster Foot and the Mid-Atlantic Team.

5:30 PM EDT 8/24/11: Most computer models project Hurricane Irene to pass just off the Outerbanks and head northeastward at least 75-100 miles off the Mid Atlantic coast. However, one reliable model, the European (or ECMWF) as of its latest run issued earlier this afternoon, shows Irene passing much closer to the Mid-Atlantic coast than in previous versions. This scenario, while not a guarantee, would have major effects on Ocean City, MD the Delmarva and bring high impacts to the New York City metro area and remainder of the Northeast corridor. In addition, more significant impacts than are currently being expected would spread farther inland towards Baltimore and Washington, D.C. However, this is just one computer model and it is not yet clear if other models will begin trending westward. Additional details posted in our Tropical Forecast page.
(Tropical Team Coordinator Jason M. and Advisor Mr. Foot)

Tweets on the tropics: Get rapid fire updates from us on Twitter:
@fftropicalzone | #fftz |!/fftropicalzone |

Wave forecasts: is a high quality website many in our team follow in high impact situations, such as last year's Hurricane Earl. At last report by the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center, Irene was producing waves up to 38 feet with swells of 30 or more feet extending over 25 miles from the center. Visit swellinfo for animations and graphics showing the potential extend of Irene's wave impacts on the coast. For the image below, click the right arrow in the right corner to go forward in time and see projected wave heights from Irene.

Go to for free local Surf Forecasts, Surf Reports, Surf / Swell timelines, and more.


Julie Ray Smith said...

Got the last generator on the shelf feeling lucky already. Have a 3 yr old and 6 mo old can't make it without Max & Ruby and hot dogs  ;)

Jen O said...

Well Well haven't been here for ages...Shame on me...Everyone ready for the fun?

Andy, Southern York County, PA said...

This storm looks like the real deal for us here, the likes of what we have not experienced for quite sometime.  Buy batteries, stock up on bottled water, or fill empty containers with clean tap water.  I am off today as it is the first day of school and I shipped mini me of for proper formal indoctrination in kindegarten.  I will start tracking this carefully now, but the latest trends do not look good.  As with witner storms the closer we get the more accurate we can be and the more meaningful these "trends" become.  This storm is HUGE unlike a snowstorm, and the potential for true damage is very serious. 

ravensbbr said...

OK, Ok, I was wrong, I stand corrected on earlier accusations of Chicken Little Syndrome and retract all previous statements.
I am now joining the Foot Clan in the land of Bad Things.

From my perspective, it keeps trending more and more westward again. Pray the front coming across can bump it back to the east somewhat, but not enough steering to majorly influence it back out to sea?

Stay safe everyone.

Jen O said...

Well I'd be lying if I said all things are well. They're not!

We are in for a doozy. Time to go out and stockpile tonight because I guarantee we will lose power for a day or two if not more.

Be safe and I'm interested to see the models and if it will shift west more..I've learned from past hurricanes I was in, in Florida to always prepare.

BTW: Hello Andy and friends..been awhile

Julie Ray Smith said...

Are we needing to evacuate further west? Can our homes withstand a Cat 3 up the bay if that were to happen?

Elaina-Lee Dill said...

I just got back from Target and Lowes in Timonium and the are all out of flashlights, except for the really expensive or really little ones.  But Target had water on sale.

Amy said...

Definitely wasn't prepared to be watching Foot's so early in the year (school year that is) for a severe storm.  Any ideas on how much water to buy?  Never been through a hurricane before.

Andy, Southern York County, PA said...

Just purchaseed ANOTHER lantern from Amazon with overnight delivery.  I have 4 in the basement that I accumlated over the years, but with the potential for losing power for several days if not longer the more light the better!  The problem with a storm like this is power will be out for millions of people and with that in mind it could take crews weeks to restore it.  This is not like a blizzard or thunderstorm where only certain areas are impacted.  We are talking about all of I-95 which is a major trucking route.  Crews will be coming in from the mid west for weeks to get things back in order as local crews will be overwhelmed.  I am preparing as if power WILL be out for a week, and if we get lucky maybe most of us get spared serious damage.  It is better to plan.  If stores are out of power and roads are blocked then no food delivery for a few days.  Just plan accordingly for the worst case scenario, as over preparing will never hurt you.   

Amy said...

The local target was out of lanterns but very few people seem concerned.  I went to the store for water and other food stuff and hardly anyone was doing anything more than everyday shopping.  Only 1 other person had several gallons of water in their cart.

I'd rather be over prepared and return my stuff next week than get caught thinking this was nothing.  I agree with you Andy, electricity is the bigger concern.  A decent thunderstorm can take it out for hours.  Trees fall pretty easily as well.

Julie Ray Smith said...

if we get lucky maybe most of us get spared serious damage??? =-O  should I get the heck out of dodge tomorrow? Will our homes withstand this wind?

juleew said...

ARGHHHHHH!  NO time to get prepared!!!!!!  Had NO idea things were this serious!  In school today from 7 am to 8:30 pm today (back to school night) and in school tomorrow from 7 am to 3 pm. 
The stores will be EMPTY when I finally get to them!

Andy, I might need to sleep with the snow blower in your garage!

juleew said...

Oh, and HEY Everyone!
CUTE baby Julie!
I am ALSO surprised to be "commenting" this early in the year.

Good luck everyone ... stay safe

Julie Ray Smith said...

thanks Juleew. Would so rather be following a big snowstorm right now.

Andy, Southern York County, PA said...

I will be the first to admit I am not a subtropical storm kind o f guy.  I'm a cold and icy dude, if you want to be frank.  In our part of the world winter storms are a larger threat to life and limb than a hurricane.  However, this is the rare monster that can create all kinds of hell for our region.  This storm has that potential, so it has my interest.  ANYTHING can happen here.  We could experience two inches of rain and little else, or the proverbial moron Met. on local news screaming we dodged a bullet, or a drunken gentleman with more tattooes than teeth rowing down Pratt street in an improvised canoe from a rusted 1960's bathtub being interviewed by WJZ saying " I thought we'd be killerd or WORSE"! 

I have taken precautions, and advise that you do since the next 3 days remain uncertain.  That is the best we can do.  This looks to be a high impact event, and I hope it will not be, but hope springs eternal and safety comes first.  Mr. Foot and the rest of the team continue their impressive analysis of this storm, and I like you will follow them and other media outlets as we all wait and see what this storm brings.

BioPat said...

  I couldn't agree more my friend.  I sincerely hope everyone in the storm's path will take precautionary measures seriously.  Today my family will finalize our home prep and hope all is well in our OC home.  We checked with our OC neighbors to be sure they evacuated yesterday, and will chcek back in with them some time next week regarding damages.

BioPat said...

 Flashlights and batteries are on board here.  Today we need to get the generator readied for potential use, bought enough fuel yesterday for extended use.  For those who have generators, remeber to keep them away from windows, if you have a relay switch good for you; if you don't get one soon!
 Grocery stores in Catonsville were very busy and shelves beginning to empty of staples.  I have one mission in the food department and that is to pick up my Mom's 94th birthday cake today.  I already have the ice cream and fortunately her birthday is today so it will be gone before I have to worry about losing it.