There’s a glint of good news tonight concerning Hurricane Irene. It’s a distinct band of dry air working its way around the circulation. Dry air is an inhibitor… a weakener… for hurricanes. Good for us!
It probably won’t make much difference. The Hurricane Center saw it too and remarked:
ALTHOUGH NOT SHOWN IN THE OFFICIAL FORECAST…IRENE COULD WEAKEN JUST BELOW HURRICANE STRENGTH BEFORE
REACHING SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. HOWEVER…IMPACTS FROM THIS LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE WILL NOT BE VERY DIFFERENT IF IT IS A STRONG TROPICAL STORM OR LOW-END HURRICANE. IRENE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE DAMAGING WINDS…STORM SURGE FLOODING…AND EXTREMELY HEAVY RAINS ALMOST ANYWHERE FROM EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA NORTHWARD THROUGH NEW ENGLAND.
You take what you can get!
Hurricane Irene is a Category 2 storm with top sustained winds of 100 mph and higher gusts. The wind field is huge–90 miles for hurricane force winds and 290 miles for tropical storm force winds.
Hurricane Warnings are up for the southern half of Connecticut. There’s a Tropical Storm Warning up for the rest.
The computer models remain in good agreement tonight. The projected path is so close to the New Jersey coastline that a ten mile shift west will mean a weaker storm. One can always hope!
A Wall Street Journal article tonight quotes Hugh Willoughby, a meteorology professor at Florida International University:
“The thing I’ve learned about hurricanes is, there is always a nasty surprise. But it’s always not as bad as it could be.”
Hurricane Irene will probably arrive a little earlier than originally expected–early afternoon as opposed to evening. I’m not sure that makes a difference.
Water will be piled into Long Island Sound and there will likely be coastal flooding at high tide Sunday evening. Again, this is a continuation of the earlier forecast.
The computer guidance has been pretty consistent on rain as well. 5-10″ are expected from Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening. We’ve already got saturated soil. The wind and rain will bring down trees and powerlines.
You’ve heard this all before!
By now you should have your pre-storm preps underway. Everything should be finished and in-lby Saturday night. Sunday will be a day to stay in place.