Aug 27, 2011

DAY 87

Short entry tonight because I just drove 11 hours to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Hurricane Irene is forecast to make landfall just down the road from here in Ocracoke. The center of storm is visible on radar at this point. The eye-wall of Irene has fallen apart, with a wide opening on the southwest side where she took in a gulp of dry air earlier today. Each rain band that passes through my location in Nags Head gets a little stronger each time, but the hurricane force winds wont get here until the morning.

(Hurricane Irene on Radar)

Irene has weakened to a category 2 storm tonight, and it looks like it will be able to stay that strength until landfall tomorrow at about 8am eastern. Although the National Hurricane Center is forecasting Irene to weaken further to a Cat 1 at landfall. Her maximum sustained winds are 100 mph and her pressure is 951 mb. That is still a pretty low pressure, so one logical thought on that is that the energy for a strong Cat 2 or low Cat 3 is there, but with the massive size of Irene, all that energy is being dispersed greatly. If she is able to contract her size a little bit, which it looks like she is doing, she will be able to remain a Cat 2 a landfall.

(Hurricane Irene)

As for the rest of Irene's journey through the US coastline, she is still projected to reach New York City at hurricane strength. Given the dense population in her path, Irene could become one of the most costly hurricanes of all-time. Maybe even more expensive than Katrina in 2005, which most estimates have a about 100 billion dollars.

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