HURRICANE IRENE 8/28/2011 5:30 am

Colleagues, Forecast remains unchanged. FORECAST: HURRICANE IRENE is weakening Category 1 storm with of 75 mph. Actually, it really is a strong Tropical Storm now. It is locate off the New Jersey Coast poised to make land fall again. Forward movement is 18 mph at 20 degrees, and accelerating. It will continue on this track up through Western New Hampshire and Maine by tomorrow. New York by noon today, although New York is already feeling its presence.

DISCUSSION: The Hurricane is entraining dry air from the west (no fuel) and is slowly weakening. HOWEVER, on the east side, you have to combine, say 70 mph Tropical Storm winds with 18 mph of forward speed and you have a total wind of 88 mph, (hurricane strength) and on the left side of the storm, the total wind would be 52 mph. So where you are with respect to the storm does make a big difference. Also, the winds are MUCH stronger above the ground and if you are in a tall building, say 30 or more stories tall, the winds will be 20 % stronger. And then there are gusts, which are 20- 30 per cent higher and lower than the average wind speed, so there is A LOT of variability. With a 70 mph storm, you could get a 100 mph blast easily above the ground.

All that being said, the major impact of this storm will be flooding and loss of power due to to downed trees etc. It may take several weeks for some to get their power restored, so great and widespread is the damage. Flood waters will recede in days, but leaving varying degrees of mess. And there will be some wind damage, just not near as bad as if a major hurricane has struck. This will be enough of a challenge to get back to normal.

I will soon be writing a blog on on STORM SURGE. It is not what most people think it is, so I will explain it there as it is too long to go into here.

NEXT FORECAST: Monday morning.

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Peter S. Ray

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