Irene Weakens–It’s Only Temporary

I am more concerned than I was yesterday. Wind worries me. So does rain.

I’ve have tracked hundreds of tropical storms and hurricanes over the last three decades. They seem organic. They respond to their environment. They weaken. They strengthen. Doing one doesn’t mean they won’t do the other!

Hurricane Irene which had top winds of 100 mph now has top winds of 90 mph. It is more likely to re-intensify than continue weakening. Sorry. Don’t get your hopes up.

If you chose this week to vacation at Club Med Turks and Caicos, oops. They’er getting pummeled at the moment. A 100+mph gust was reported at Turtle Cove Marina (thanks Jacob)

We are still four or five days away, but the computer models paint a bleak picture for Connecticut. We seem to be part of a very broad target.

Though Dr. Bob Hart’s climatology based graphs now show Hurricane Irene as 7-1-0 for hitting Connecticut (percentage we’ll get a direct hit for any storm, hurricane, major hurricane) the reality of the actual forecast is higher.

I mentioned yesterday there’s a narrow route a storm must take to hit Connecticut. That still holds true. Any small error in the modeling and Irene’s impact is minor. Unfortunately, run-to-run a run-in with Connecticut has been fairly consistent.

I am more concerned than I was yesterday. Wind worries me. So does rain. The GFS model puts 10″ of rain in New Haven with lesser amounts elsewhere.

The most likely scenario is showery rain Saturday with heavier squalls, then wind, for Sunday into Monday. A direct hurricane hit is possible.

I know some of you reading this are thinking how cool it would be to experience a hurricane. Trust me, you don’t want one. The romance is quickly gone when you’re without power or phone or gas for your car or your home has been damaged.

Hurricanes suck.

12 thoughts on “Irene Weakens–It’s Only Temporary”

  1. I lived through many hurricanes whe I lived in Puerto Rico. They are very scary when you live in a concrete home. Imagine in a wooden one. I have to admit, Im facinated with big storms like Hurricanes and Noreasterns but they worry me.

  2. Did Bob. Did Gloria. Was without power for about a week each time. Remember that the power company usually shuts the power off before it gets real bad (so get done anything you need to get done that requires power EARLY.)

    If you have a gas stove, remember you can light it with a match. If you don’t have a gas stove, now is a good time to make friends with a neighbor who does. You might want to pick up instant coffee or a coffee pot that you can use on top of the stove. Make sure you have a manual can opener. Chemical light sticks (the sort they sell for camping or for carrying at Halloween) are great – one will last all night and give off enough light to do routine tasks (with no fire danger.) The green ones are the brightest.

    If there’s anyone who doesn’t know it – you can flush your toidy with a bucket of water. If you don’t have city water (or maybe even if you do) fill the bathtub.

    Remember that portable phones won’t work without power – make sure you’ve got at least one hard-wired phone hooked to your landline. Charge your cell/laptop and any extra batteries you’ve got.

    If you tape your windows (which is really sort of useless), make sure you remove the tape promptly after the storm, or you’ll never get the sticky off. (Voice of experience!)

    Anything else I’m forgetting?

    1. A clarification regarding the gas stove – for most of them, at least – you can use the burners (lit with a match) but not the oven. Don’t plan to do any baking.

      Also a good idea to pick up charcoal (or a spare propane tank) if you have a grill. DON’T USE IT INDOORS – THAT INCLUDES THE GARAGE! However, if your power is out for a few days, you’ll be able to use it post-storm.

  3. So, how does it look for my 3 PM garden party on Saturday? Do you think it will have to be moved indoors? I feel sorry for those who have weddings this weekend.

  4. So, I have to wonder how will this affect me if I am moving back to College this weekend. I know most colleges start on Monday and do anyone thinks this may have an effect on us.

  5. I think the TV-viewing public needs to get a message at this point- being almost Wednesday and at 5 days out…. that this IS going to happen, just the details remain (and won’t be nailed down until it’s actually happening). People in New England today are less capable than ever of being self-sufficient for a few days without running water or power. And they have less patience than ever… Talking to average people all day today, NONE of them had any clue about this weekend. I heard lots of plans for the weekend- driving kids to move in for college, birthday parties, golfing, boating, etc.

    People need to have someone get in front of them and say, “Look- please THINK about what you would do without power for a week. Think about your elderly relatives who can’t go a day or two without medications. Think about what you’re going to eat when the drive-through is closed and the fridge isn’t cold. Think about your family driving you crazy that the toilet doesn’t flush- FOR DAYS. Just THINK about it and do something that takes you 15 minutes to take the edge off that. For the love of (insert your favorite deity here), DON’T go the store and buy bread a milk- or any other panic purchase. Do you even own a can opener???? Would you be able to put out a fire in your home without calling the fire department? On that note, candles are NOT a great source of light!!!…”.

    ETC…. 5 days out, the message of THINKING and preparing, not panicking needs to get out there. Cripes, a 5.9 earthquake should be reminder enough to consider being prepared.

  6. Well, i don’t drive, or, have much money,but, i am prepared,have light food items, bottled water, batteries, flashlights and a corded phone. I’m more worried about sanitation (toilet,showering) and trees/light poles toppling,since i’m right near the coast. I live in a basement apt, afraid of excessive rain,10 inches will clog our parking lot drains,UGH! I hope west haven has a public shelter,or, my wife and i are in deep trouble!

  7. Me again. 🙂

    One more thing – would suggest eating out of your freezer between now and Saturday if you have much in it. Now is a good time to cook those expensive steaks or that roast – if we lose power for an extended period, stuff is going to thaw.

    Oh, and Geoff – it might be a good idea to remind folks not to just go hooking up a generator to their house electrical system if they don’t know what they’re doing. (The juice can feed back into the main lines if it’s not done correctly.)

  8. Thank you for all these great ideas! I know this stuff but I needed the reminder – been a bit distracted lately. I sure hope it doesn’t hit us hard.

  9. Another reminder… Most gas stations do not have emergency generators. If there’s an extended period without power, their pumps will be out of commission. Fill up your car’s gas tank BEFORE any storm. There were long lines in South Florida after Hurricane Wilma..

  10. Are you on constant medication? do you have enough? Are you on oxygen and need a concentrator? they need power, get some O2 or make sure you can get somewhere with O2 or power.

    What about your pets? most shelters won’t let you bring a pet inside.

    Fill up the cars, for sure but chances are if there’s a big enough hit, the roads will be impassable from water or trees etc so you may not have the option.

    Do you have a chainsaw? do you have gas and oil for it? I was very glad I had all those things when the Tornado blew through here last July. The Chainsaw may very well be the most useful tool in your arsenal.

    Important papers in filing cabinets? scattered around the house? Collect them and put them all in ziplock bags and put those inside a big garbage bag and tie that off. Keep them up high in the house if you stay, if you leave take them with you.

    Water. If you’re on city water put some aside in the tub or in coolers in case of turbidity or contamination. If you have a well, definitely put some aside if your power fails.

    Ditto on the back feeding the house from a generator. This is illegal and potentially deadly to the line crew expecting the down lines to be de-energized. If you have a little generator use extension cords to power those things that need power don’t back feed unless you can be 100% sure your house is off the grid (both legs).

    Flush the toilet with pool water or rain water, have a 5 gallon pail around for such use, you won’t need the full pail to flush. Hopefully you live somewhere that doesn’t require sewer pumping, if you do, hopefully you aren’t the lowest house on the pipe!

    How will you get news if the power is out? Radio? batteries? cell phones fully charged (assuming the towers are still powered) battery usb chargers for phones?

    I hope it won’t be as bad as people are saying, but thinking about things like this isn’t bad, it’s part of being prepared. Don’t rely on FEMA to take care of you, look at New Orleans.

    Weathering the storm…


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