It’s after midnight and I’m in the Weather Center at work. The evening people I work with on FoxCT are gone. Most of the editors and reporters I know from the Courant have gone too. There are morning people in now. This TV/newspaper complex is an around-the-clock operation.
I’m staring at a radar loop. Heavy squalls from Hurricane Irene are unfurling from the center like the strings on an edge trimmer.
The wind has picked up. Gusts to 32 mph are being reported in Bridgeport. Groton has 29 mph. New Haven’s weather station has stopped reporting. There’s more wind down south closer to the storm.
I went on-the-air at ten and laid out my reasons for changing the forecast. Some are obvious on the satellite image. Others have been brought into sharper focus by the HRRR model, aka the Rapid Refresh.
The Rapid Refresh is an interesting piece in the guidance puzzle because it only covers the next 15 hours, but in 15 minute increments. It was the HRRR that solidified my thinking on the early exit for our rain. In this way Irene is acting more like Gloria!
Now, instead of a storm stronger than Gloria I’m looking for a storm comparable to Gloria. That was still enough to cut power to 660,000 homes and businesses in 1985.
Hurricane Irene is approaching the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Already tides at The Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan, are nearly three feet above tide table heights. It’s low tide now, but I don’t see a let up anytime before high tide. The water level will continue to rise!
Bridgeport’s tide gauge is 14″ above prediction. As with New York Harbor the water in Long Island Sound will continue to rise through high tide. That’s ten hours away.
I’m hoping shore dwellers heed warnings.
I’d like to see Kennedy Airport right now. It’s got to be totally free of airplanes. No one in their right mind would leave an expensive jet on that field with Hurricane Irene coming. When was the last time JFK was empty?
Now we wait. Irene’s impact is continuing to build. It could have been worse.