Colleagues, North Carolina will be hit about noon on Saturday and and HURRICANE IRENE will basically track up the East Coast. Forecast remains unchanged. A Major Hurricane to be taken seriously along the coast. Significant winds, tides and flooding. FORECAST: HURRICANE IRENE is a Category 3 (temporarily a Category 2 as it undergoes an eye-wall replacement) at a latitude near Florida's north coast but 150 miles off shore moving N at 13 mph. It will actually turn some to the east but not enough to miss hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks about noon on Saturday. From there it will track up the east coast slowly loosing some strength, but still bringing hurricane force winds, very high tide, rip tides and flooding. Particularly along the coast and 50 miles inland, this will be a very bad storm.
DISCUSSION: HURRICANE IRENE is moving up the west side of the ridge. It really doesn't make that much difference if it is slightly off shore or slightly on shore. Everyone needs to be prepared for 100 mph winds or more along the coast. Hurricane force winds will extend 50 miles inland if only in gusts, and bad weather and heavy rains at least 100 miles inland. Extreme NE South Carolina might get some squalls in mid to late morning Saturday.
Eye wall replacement occurs all the time. As the eye wall shrinks in diameter the winds increase much as when a figure skater spins. But as the eye wall gets smaller, an new one begins to form in a ring at a larger distance from the center. When the inner wall gets small enough it just goes away and the outer one begins to shrink. When this happens the hurricane wind speed decreases with the larger eye wall, and as the outer wall shrinks, the winds pick back up. So, for a time, many hurricanes actually have two eyewalls, but the one we always talk about it the most inner one - until it is time for an eye wall replacement.
NEXT FORECAST: Saturday morning
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Peter S. Ray
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