Aug 26, 2011

DAY 86

Hurricane Irene is now clear of the Bahamas and is once again beginning to strengthen. She is a Cat 3 storm with winds down a bit from last night at 115 mph but her central pressure is down to 942 mb. 

(Hurricane Irene)

With a heading of north now at 14 mph, Irene is expected to make landfall near Beafort, North Carolina on Saturday afternoon. If it is a daytime landfall, there will likely be some spectacular video shot by chasers. North Carolina is already seeing those upper-level outflow clouds from Irene, it won't be long before the first rain bands move through. It could end up being a 48 hour build up to land fall there.

(Hurricane Irene)

It looks like Irene is making one last attempt to become a category 4 storm. She's got a long way to go though, and the Hurricane Center is not forecasting that to happen. NHC's forecast is for Irene to still be a major hurricane just before landfall, and then weaken a bit at landfall to a Cat 2.

Then after Landfall, Irene is forecast to continue on across the Potomic, and into a pocket of our nations most dense population. In Irene's path is New Jersey, New York City, Providence, and Boston. She is still forecast to be at hurricane strength all the way through those zones. Coupled with the dense population, is the older construction of the buildings, and the hurricane inexperience of New Englanders. This is a straight up recipe for disaster. For comparison, look at Hurricane Charley in 2004. Charley was a Cat 1 hurricane when it hit Orlando in the middle of the state. It did widespread, and locally heavy damage. That is what Irene is forecast to be when it hits New York City, and they will have to deal with storm surge damage, Orlando obviously didn't have to deal with that.

(Hurricane Charley approaching Orlando in 2004)

Elsewhere in the tropics, Invest 90L has been upgraded and classified Tropical Depression #10. It is forecast to become Tropical Storm Jose tomorrow night, but is not forecast to be a threat to land. 

(Tropical Depression #10)

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