How Not To Win Friends And Influence People Daughter Style

This is like rubbing salt (water) on a fresh wound, isn’t it?

Stef gave me a light cross-country poke in the ribs today. She was wondering why I hadn’t yet posted the pictures she’d sent me of her and Roxie. They were cruising through Marina del Ray. The pictures were taken the day we got blasted from Hurricane Irene!

This is like rubbing salt (water) on a fresh wound, isn’t it?

Roxie looks adorable, but be glad you’re an only child so I can’t pick another as my favorite!

The Track: It Looks Like Irene Hit Us… But Just Barely

It briefly crossed into Connecticut near Sharon, exiting just east of Canaan.

The last hurricane to strike Connecticut was Gloria in 1985. The center of circulation slid up the Atlantic, across Long Island, Long Island Sound and hit the beach in Milford. That’s not how it worked with Irene.

Irene tracked a few miles inland through New Jersey (weakening it) across the Lower Bay then another landfall at Coney Island before trekking through Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. It briefly crossed into Connecticut near Sharon, exiting just east of Canaan.

This map, put together by Dr. Robert Hart at Florida State University connects the official observations from the Hurricane Center. It’s possible when radar and satellite imagery is put into the mix the track will shift–probably not by much.

Bob notes:

Funny that Litchfield County was key for designation as a crossing. Shows how little the specific track matttered at that point given Litchfield County barely noticed the wind

It seems this is the time to change how we categorize hurricanes and tropical storms. More on that in detail at a future date.

Was Hurricane Irene Hyped?

In fact, my reading of the surge numbers in Bridgeport, New Haven, and elsewhere on CT at least are that they were comparable to category 2 hurricane estimates.

I’m publishing an essay from my friend Bob Hart. Dr. Hart watched Hurricane Irene with the attention you’d expect from a renowned expert in tropical meteorology and a North Branford native. Like me, Bob was chagrined by critics who felt Hurricane Irene was overly hyped.

Read on. He knows an awful lot about hurricanes.

First, I wholeheartedly agree with the replies here noting the quality of the forecasts by Geoff and Rachel. If this storm were to happen again, I would not ask that the forecasts be changed in any significant way for CT.

While several of those who received little impact from Irene (or those watching from afar, or the masochistic wanting damage) are claiming hype, those who truly were impacted in a serious way are generally not.

I was on the CT coast for Irene and visited a few towns, including that where I grew up (I still have family there). I’m willing to bet a large sum of money that if you asked those impacted by surge (Milford, Branford, Guilford, and beyond) – whether the storm was worse than Gloria – they would say yes.

In fact, my reading of the surge numbers in Bridgeport, New Haven, and elsewhere on CT at least are that they were comparable to category 2 hurricane estimates!

Was this due to the high tide and new moon? In part, yes – but only in part.

Can we forecast the timing of landfall to within 6 hours two days out to make that determination? Absolutely not.

In fact, Irene arrived many hours earlier than the two day forecast (when watches are issued). This is why it is important to consider the range of possibilities in a forecast, as there is an (unspoken) “cone” of uncertainty about intensity just as there is a well-communicated cone about track.

Yet, I suspect if you asked those at the Massachusetts border they would say they barely got tropical storm conditions, and they might be right (I haven’t seen much data since I was out of internet access until my Delta flight right now, ironically!).

Let’s pretend for a minute that we knew from the start that Irene would be a tropical storm when it crossed CT – let’s pretend that only tropical storm warnings were issued from central NJ northward. My bet, with a lot of money, is that the loss of life would have been greater, perhaps much.

A weakening major hurricane crossing as a tropical storm produces much different impacts than a tropical storm that is stable. These generally include storm size, the accumulation of wave growth and surge, as well as model performance. And yet the warnings cannot discriminate between these.

We are a spoiled society. I don’t think that most in NYC realize how much worse it could have been, how close they came. They should look at how far the surge went in CT and LI. Seawalls completely destroyed and pushed inland dozens to hundreds of feet. I saw it in CT.

No doubt those in low lying areas of NYC remember December 1992 when the subways flooded and the FDR and other major routes were covered in water. Many areas on coastal CT approached or exceeded that storm. I suspect those who lost their homes completely in CT and LI (out to sea, yes, there were several in CT and elsewhere where literally only a foundation was left) would gladly have traded their epic loss for a weekend of board games and wine with the family as the only “inconvenience”.

This is the problem with the categorization of hurricanes. The number is primarily associated with wind. Yet, the surge is not entirely (in fact, far less) explained by the wind. The rainfall is almost completely unrelated to the strength of the wind.

The surge in CT was equivalent to a typical category 2 (between Gloria’s surge and 1938’s record surge) while the wind was strong tropical storm (although the post-season analysis will determine that concretely). A moderate to even upper category 1 forecast landfall was exactly the right forecast two days before landfall, when watches were issued and evacuations considered, given the guidance.

And then there is a specific nature of the wind definition of category. The definition of the Saffir-Simpson category is the estimated strongest SUSTAINED wind (1-minute average) at 10-meter elevation anywhere in the storm at that time, assuming open exposure over land. Yes, anywhere in the storm. This means that 99.44% (thank you Ivory soap) is less than that maximum. And most places are much less given the structure of hurricanes.

In fact, almost by definition, the strongest wind in a hurricane is NEVER observed by people or their homes. So a true marginal category 1 hurricane in CT is quite likely to only produce tropical storm force sustained winds across the coastal population and in many well inland areas not even that.

And yet, while being a likely tropical storm in CT at the end, Irene produced a remarkable extent of 50-75mph gusts across a broader region than almost any prior tropical storm on record (well into RI) due to its unusual structure (topic for another day).

And that above tricky definition is the rub.

A colleague at NHC (Dr. Mike Brennan) forwarded some observations from Katrina (category 3 landfall). Do you realize that not a SINGLE official land-based station reported sustained hurricane force winds? Repeat, no official category 1 sustained winds in Katrina on land.

Sure, plenty of gusts – plenty – to hurricane force and even a few to category 2 or 3, but no sustained hurricane force winds.

Even at official marine sites, there was no reported sustained wind above category 1 (six sites reported hurricane force sustained winds, but none above 76kt). If a storm like Katrina which 1) was also huge, 2) so much more intense and 3) hitting an urban area, cannot produce a hurricane force sustained wind on land, we cannot expect the same in CT even if Irene was a category 1 hurricane– unless there is amazing chance.

That chance happened in Bridgeport with Gloria. Gloria produced a 64knot sustained wind in Bridgeport. It was the only sustained wind observed at an official station in CT. And it was by chance, given the track.

In the end, I think our definitions are flawed. We should not be defining a storm by the peak sustained wind intensity which is almost never truly observed. It is for this reason that perhaps millions in south Florida think they experienced category 5 winds, when perhaps a few hundred did (if that).

Finally, I have never seen a track forecast for a New England tropical cyclone as good as this one. NHC, the models they use as guidance, and the scientists who work extremely hard on their developments are to be commended. The actual track the storm took has only occurred a handful of times (perhaps a few fingerful, I won’t pick which fingers) since the 19th century. And while there was some uncertainty of track (over Philadelphia, over NYC, over Boston), it almost never was forecast to go out to sea 4-5 days out (and longer). This is astonishing.

Remember Floyd in 1999? The track was all over the place 4-5 days out. Hugo in 1989 was forecast to come up the coast originally!

Irene was a landmark event for track forecasting for New England, but we should not be spoiled by this. Don’t count on this confidence next time.

As Geoff mentioned, he slightly lowered the rain and wind forecasts Saturday night. It was the right move, and it was the correct forecast. It was the scientifically correct decision without jeopardizing preparation, since people had already prepared. It was a tough decision and not everyone made the same decision, but it was correct from a scientific perspective yet very difficult from a communication perspective.

As part of my classes, I require my students to forecast (and I forecast along with them as any meteorologist worth their salt will do, no matter what the alphabet soup at the end of their name says). I cannot do what Geoff and Rachel do, and I assure you that very few in the world can. Very few jobs in the world require you to be an expert on snowstorms, icestorms, floods, hurricanes, computers, and top-tier communication and improvisation. Oh, and a very thick skin at times. Although I imagine it is very rewarding in the net, I suspect you don’t want their job.

In light of all the above, the consequences at play, and having gone through Irene and having watched Geoff’s blog, and Geoff’s and Rachel’s forecasts for days, I applaud them. People and property were saved during this storm by their forecasts, and their very effective communication of those forecasts.

CT is very lucky to have Geoff back on the air. Now if only our schedules would cross paths so we can meet up for poker.

Bob Hart
Florida State University

Irene The Road Closer

The tree’s owner (now the owner of a lifetime’s supply of firewood) was out in the street watching as a man with a chainsaw delicately walked up a limb the size of his waist.

Last night as Helaine and I were driving home we noticed Shepard Avenue in Hamden closed–blocked by a pair of well worn sawhorses. They were still up as I drove today. I thought that might be the case so I brought “Clicky” to document what was going on.

A large, old, formerly stately oak was splayed across the street. The root ball popped from the ground as if it was a bad tooth being pulled. The leafy end was caught in the power, phone and cable lines.

It was a mess.

The house across the street had no power, phone, cable or exit! The tree was blocking its driveway.

The tree’s owner (now the owner of a lifetime’s supply of firewood), a Connecticut State Policeman, was out in the street watching as a man with a chainsaw delicately walked on a limb the size of his waist.

“It fell around 7:00 o’clock yesterday morning,” he told me. No one had visited from the phone, power or cable company. He was taking matters in his own hand. Could you blame him?

This scene was being repeated in dozens of locations across the state.

The tree missed his house. He was lucky.

Hurricane Irene And The Fog Of War

They believed their eyes though they couldn’t see through the fog of war.

The fog of war is a term used to describe the uncertainty in situation awareness experienced by participants in military operations. – source Wikipedia.

We’ve just had a collective fog of war experience. We’ve just been through a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane.

As it came through people were already complaining about the hype. They believed their eyes. They didn’t realize how much was hidden by the fog of war!

When the fog lifted things looked pretty awful.

There are trees down everywhere. There is power out everywhere. Tonight over half the state is without electricity.

There will be no train service into the city Monday. It’s probable some tracks were damaged and might have to be relaid.

We showed some scary and sad flooding video on-the-air. Houses and cars were underwater. In Bristol two guys put a canoe in a flood swollen river then hopped in! One is dead.

Helaine and I spent last night in Hartford. Tonight we drove home. We suspected there was power at our house based on a neighbor’s report.

I turned off Route 10. The road darkened. On this moonless night the electricity was off.

We made a right and noticed we wouldn’t have been able to go straight. Wooden sawhorses were blocking the road. A very large tree in a horizontal position was not far behind.

There was wooden shrapnel everywhere!

We were very lucky. We have power. We lost a tree or very large limb, but it fell harmlessly across the driveway. It missed our connection to the local transformer by around ten feet. A peach tree I’d planted unsuccessfully 20 years ago was felled as well. There is a carpet of leaves and branches in our yard and driveway.

I went down to the basement. Dry.

I still know the family of the man who dug my foundation. Thank you John. It’s the best basement ever.

I am glad to be done with Irene whom I first met as Invest 97 over a week ago. It has been like watching a car accident in slow motion.

The weather forecast in the week leading up to the storm was pretty good. Exactly right? Of course not. It never is. The forecast was actionable and in that regard had great utility. You listened. You prepared. That saved lives.

Saturday at 9:30 pm on my blog and on the air at 10:00 pm I lowered my forecast for Irene’s specifics. What I changed came true, but by that time the die was cast. It didn’t make much difference from a practical standpoint. In Connecticut you prepare for a little hurricane like you prepare for a big one! We really have no choice.

Right now I’m in the family room typing this. The crickets are loud. The night air is cool and dry. We move on.

Ciao Irene

I don’t have to hold a mirror under your nose. You’re breathing, right?

The end of the rain is moving across Long Island Sound. The wind is still whipping, but it will fall soon. Hurricane Irene isn’t a hurricane anymore.

I don’t have to hold a mirror under your nose. You’re breathing, right?

High tide has now passed. That problem is over.

Rivers are very high. Some brooks, streams and even moderately large rivers are flooding. I just helped dispatch a crew to the Pomeraug River in Southbury.

Over 500,000 Connecticut homes and businesses are without power. Some of those are a few line breaks away from electricity. It will be days until that’s restored.

It could have been worse. It was still pretty bad.

The All Night Show With Irene

Heavy squalls from Hurricane Irene are unfurling from the center like the strings on an edge trimmer.

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.

Will Hurricane Irene Underperform?

I’m seeing a lot of Gloria in Irene. I suspect the backend won’t give us much rain. That was the case in 1985.

I am at my desk at work. Rachel’s here too. Mostly we’re planning what we’ll do at 10p. Truth is there’s not much any of us can do right now. Hurricane Irene will do what she will do.

I’m seeing a lot of Gloria in Irene. I suspect the backend won’t give us much rain. That was the case in 1985. Hurricane Gloria pulled north and the rain stopped really quickly.

Rainfall will probably be less than forecast too. 3-6″ is a lot, but it looked worse earlier.

The wind will still be strong. There won’t be a lot of hurricane force wind felt here, but a significant part of the state will receive sustained winds strong enough to do damage.

Hurricane Irene is moving slower than Gloria. That’s bad for us. The duration of wind will be greater. More water will pile into Long Island Sound.

Tides are only around 6″ above normal now–but the wind hasn’t started. High tide tomorrow morning will be bad for some water view residents.

Sunday was still be awful, but not as awful as anticipated.

Irene – I’ve Got Stuff To Do

Everything continues on schedule. The computer models are reasonably in alignment.

Helaine and I are just finishing the last of our preps for Hurricane Irene. There’s not much we can do beyond the superficial. Everything that can be moved inside is now inside.

We have 90 foot oaks front and back. I hope they survive. I can’t bring them inside and I’m hopeful they don’t come in on their own!

Everything continues on schedule. The computer models are reasonably in alignment.

The first of the rain bands has arrived. Some parts of the state have 2″ of rain already. That’s not good, especially with the ground already saturated.

I don’t expect much significant wind until early Sunday morning with the storm peaking, not ending, by early afternoon.

I just took a look at the tide gauges in New Haven, New London and Bridgeport. They are now 6″ to 1′ above normal and rising. That’s more than I would have expected, though I honestly didn’t make an exact prediction for this afternoon.

Water levels will be a critical part of this story. Coastal flooding looks likely unless Hurricane Irene unexpectedly jogs right.

If you live anywhere near the water please take heed of warnings. If you wait for the water to rise before you leave exit routes might be cut-off!

At this point I think Hurricane Irene will come in with comparable wind to Hurricane Gloria. This storm will have a longer duration and more rain. Gloria produced a fraction of the rain predicted. The damage this weekend should be comparable or more than what we got in 1985.

A viewer sent a friend at the old station a screencap of me from Hurricane Gloria. Even Helaine remarked how young I looked. That was 26 years ago. Crazy.

I’ll be on FoxCT this evening, returning tomorrow afternoon. We will be staffed with meteorologists and reporters around-the-clock and plan a long stretch of live coverage (much also broadcast on WTIC-AM 1080 kHz).

We’re Watching Irene And Waiting

That should mean the forecast is properly honed in. Maybe not. I won’t know until Monday.

There is a time between a bowler releasing the ball and it hitting the pins. Nothing happens. Nothing changes. And then, contact!

We’re in that rolling down the alley period now.

The forecast has stabilized. That should mean the forecast is properly honed in. Maybe not. I won’t know until Monday. I am reasonably confident, but I’m still constantly checking for new data.

The Hurricane Center fudged a speed number tonight.


The “observed” wind doesn’t exist. Stronger winds will first have to work in for it to verify. 100 knots goes in the books even though it should be a lower number. This only makes a difference to a few dozen people… still!

The 00Z GFS is the spitting image of the 11:00 PM Hurricane Center track.

I still expect a storm with a little more strength than Gloria, much more rain and a back end–something Gloria lacked.

Depending on how quickly the wind reverses high tide Sunday night could see major flooding on the coast. Root for a quick moving storm for the least impact.

The image at the top of this entry is from the 00Z GFS for Bridgeport using BUFKIT. The white line is barometric pressure and the colored lines represent wind speed and direction. It’s pretty easy to see the storm pass by!

If you use BUFKIT correctly you can look at it and visualize the weather. It’s pretty amazing.

Where Irene crosses the Outer Banks tomorrow will be telling. After that I’ll watch it clearing the mouth of Delaware Bay. More interaction with land means a weaker Irene. A storm which stays out-to-sea on the other hand will be more dangerous.

You only have Saturday to prepare for this storm. Please use your time wisely. Be smart.

I get paid by the viewer. I will do my best to keep you safe.

A Tiny Glint Of Good News On Hurricane Irene

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.

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:


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.”

Amen brother!

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.

Irene Is A Serious Threat

It is likely Hurricane Irene will strike Connecticut with hurricane force winds this Sunday. All hurricane forecasts are subject to error, but I have worked diligently to get as close as possible.

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few days there’s little I’m going to tell you now you don’t already know. It is likely Hurricane Irene will strike Connecticut with hurricane force winds this Sunday. All hurricane forecasts are subject to error, but I have worked diligently to get as close as possible.

The European ECMWF model which was the first to move Hurricane Irene west… far west… has settled east a little. It’s in decent agreement with the HWRF and GFS models. The ECMWF brings Irene onshore near Norwalk, the GFS near New Haven. All of them imply a storm with strength right around the line that defines a hurricane.

Because we have so many trees full of leaves the impact of a ‘less intense’ hurricane here is greater than Florida or the Outer Banks. Just think back to Gloria. I expect Hurricane Irene to be slightly stronger than Gloria.

At this point there’s really no choice but to accept this forecast. There’s not enough time to prepare if you wait.

Helaine and I have moved our deck furniture to the basement. We moved our gas grill in the house though it won’t be used while inside. We’ve gassed her car. I’ll do mine at work. We’ve got cash and our prescriptions. There’s non-perishable food ready and extra ice. Our flashlights have batteries.

You should be doing these things too.

I take no joy in making this forecast, but I have seen the aftermath of a hurricane. I don’t want to scare you unduly. However, you need to treat this storm as the serious threat it is.

If you live near the shore you need to consider a local shelter or just moving inland. Damage will probably greatest on the shoreline, especially with this storm coming at an astronomical high tide.

There will be trees and powerlines down all over the place. If this forecast comes true there won’t be much business and commerce in Connecticut come Monday!

I’ll come back and update my blog later, but even if the forecast moves Irene a little it’s too late to stand down. We’re in close enough proximity there aren’t too many other places Hurricane Irene could go.

Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

Irene’s Spaghetti Hasn’t Come Together

Don’t think meteorology hasn’t changed in my 27 years here. It has! We have so many more tools. We have more insight. We are more accurate.

I’m sitting on my sofa staring at the spaghetti plots. Don’t think meteorology hasn’t changed in my 27 years here. It has! We have so many more tools. We have more insight. We are more accurate.

Do you need to know how the sausage is made? Do you care how I make my decisions? The weather is more important than me, but if I don’t make it fun and interesting you won’t come to watch. I know you can get the weather a million different places.

Someone on Facebook wrote they enjoyed tonight’s figure skater analogy. In the studio Brent Hardin stopped to ponder how it all tied in with the “Conservation of Angular Momentum.” I like doing stuff like this.

I always hear how TV is dumbed down. No one has stopped me from assuming you’re smart.

Oh… here’s what I was talking about. If you watch a figure skater start a spin their arms are outstretched. To speed up they pull their arms in toward their body. It’s called the “Conservation of Angular Momentum.” It’s one of the first rules you learn in physics.

It works the same way in meteorology. When the eye of a hurricane contracts it’s a sign the storm is spinning faster. The eyewall spins faster first then that increased motion spreads out.

That makes this significant:


Hurricane Irene is over warm water now. The Bahamas, barely an impediment in the tropical process, is now in the rear view mirror.

NHC will up the indicated wind speed (these are really educated guesses on their part) from 115 mph sometime later today. That seems overwhelmingly likely.

The spaghetti plot tonight is a series of parallel lines with 250 miles between the east and west outliers. Great. Thanks. It’s tough to derive a consensus and come up with a reasonably accurate forecast when presented with that!

The GFS moved west a few runs ago, but has held consistent since then and seems to form the basis for the official track from NHC. The 00Z GFS which came out too late for the official forecast adds some additional confidence NHC might be on to something!

My worry is a small shift, 30 or 40 miles, could make a huge difference. That’s why NYC and Connecticut to a lesser extent are so tough for a storm to “hit.” Most miss us. The window a storm must pass through is exceptionally narrow.

There are few storms that require the precision in forecasting a hurricane does. It’s daunting.

I’ve got no choice but to stick with my call for hurricane conditions Sunday in Connecticut. It’s still the most likely outcome, but by no means a lock.

Irene: Why Can’t The Models Agree?

Worst case scenario means any change in this forecast is a change for the better (for us at least)!

Under most circumstances the variance between our computer models would be a matter of curiosity. They never totally agree. Alas, with a hurricane disagreement is unacceptable. Twenty miles east or west will make a huge difference.

The 18Z GFS is now fully in. It’s the medium range model I tend to favor. It’s not optimized for tropical systems, but it has some chops.

The GFS lines up closely with the Hurricane Center’s forecast. Both are a worst case scenario for Connecticut. Nearly the entire state ends up on the windier side of the storm with an extended period of onshore wind blowing water inland at this month’s highest tide!

Worst case scenario means any change in this forecast is a change for the better (for us at least)! The ECMWF, farther west, would be gentler for us more while creaming Philly and New York City.

The map attached is the 18Z GFS QPF (quantitative precipitation forecast) through Monday. Most of Connecticut is in the 8″ isohyet. Your actual mileage may vary. More rain… soggier roots… more trees down.

Nothing in the timing has changed. Showers… actually the outer rain bands from Irene… on Saturday then windblown squalls Sunday with the strongest winds Sunday afternoon through late night.

More later.

Irene Stays Scary… Though There Are A Few Possible Outs!

That lowers the bar for flooding and makes downed trees and powerlines more likely.

I have a few minutes here. I have written a hurricane story for our 4:00 PM newscast. I’ll also be answering a few viewer questions on-the-air.

The forecast for Hurricane Irene continues to be a scary one. There is no doubt someone is going to get blasted by this storm. However, like anything else having to do with real estate the three most important factors are:

  • Location
  • Location
  • Location

I’m mentioning that because the ECMWF model which I’ve referred to the past few days has moved slightly west again. Moving west means moving inland earlier, losing some windspeed earlier and being a little farther from Connecticut.

That’s the ECMWF. It is one of many possible solutions. The official Hurricane Center track is east of that (and what I’m showing on above).

NHC takes Irene over Kennedy Airport, Port Washington and then across Long Island Sound to Greenwich and Danbury–a much scarier track for Connecticut!

It still looks like rain for Saturday, then heavy tropical squalls and building wind Sunday. The GFS is still calling for parts of our area to get 8″ (give or take) of rain.

Winds will surely be gale to tropical storm force and possibly hurricane force. Even gale force winds will do lots of damage.

The ground in Connecticut (especially Western Connecticut) is near saturation. That lowers the bar for flooding and makes downed trees and powerlines more likely.

At this point the chance of this storm heavily impacting Connecticut is too high to disregard. Now’s the time to begin your preps. Make sure you have everything you’ll need if the state shuts down for a few days or your house loses electricity.

Is it possible I’m wrong? Absolutely. A western swing into Pennsylvania would mean a stormy Sunday, but not horrifically so. A damaging blow from Hurricane Irene (more than Gloria, less than 1938) is much more likely and what I’m keeping in my mind.

I’ll update the blog later tonight.