Irene sends 4.5 foot storm surge up Chesapeake Bay

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:45 AM GMT on August 28, 2011

Share this Blog
22
+

The eye of Hurricane Irene is back over water, after the hurricane completed a 11-hour crossing of eastern North Carolina. Irene came ashore over Cape Lookout, North Carolina at 7:30 am EDT this morning as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. The Cedar Island Ferry Terminal measured sustained winds of 90 mph, gusting to 115 mph at 7:19am, as measured by a Department of Transportation official. I suspect this measurement came when a thunderstorm near Irene's center collapsed, sending a powerful downburst to the surface. A trained spotter on Atlantic Beach, NC measured sustained winds of 85 mph, gusting to 101 mph at 10:35 am. The Hurricane Hunters measured 80 mph winds over water at the time of landfall. However, no regular weather station or buoy has measured sustained hurricane force winds in Irene, with the highest winds being 67 mph at the Cape Lookout, North Carolina buoy as Irene made landfall. Winds have peaked along the coast of Virginia, where sustained winds of 61 mph were observed at 6 pm EDT at Chesapeake Bay Light. Irene's passage over land weakened the storm slightly, and satellite loops show more dry air has wrapped into the storm. The radar presentation of Irene visible on the Norfolk, VA radar is still very impressive--Irene is dropping torrential rains over a huge area--but there is much less rain over the storm's southeastern quadrant, over water. Radar-estimated rainfall shows a 50 mile-wide band of 8+ inches of rain has fallen from where Irene made landfall at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, northwards to Dover, Delaware. Some isolated amounts of 15+ inches may have fallen, according to the radar estimates. Bunyan, NC has received 14.00" so far, and the towns of Washington, New Bern, Grifton, Newport-Croatan, Wonona, NC, all received more than ten inches. Norfolk, Virginia had received 7.73" as of 7pm EDT, and Suffolk, Virginia, 8.00".


Figure 1. True-color MODIS image of Hurricane Irene over North Carolina taken at 11:35 am EDT August 27, 2011. At the time, Irene was a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Storm surge damage from Irene
The storm surge and wave action from Irene is likely to cause the storm's greatest damage. High tide is near 7 - 8 pm EDT tonight, meaning that the storm surges occurring now will be some of Irene's most damaging. The highest surges measured at any of NOAA's regular tide gauges at 8 pm were 4.5 feet at Sewells Point in Norfolk Virginia and Oregon Inlet, NC. Higher surges are occurring father inland where narrow inlets funnel the storm surge to higher elevations. It remains unclear if the ocean will overtop Manhattan's sea wall at The Battery Sunday morning during the 8 am high tide. Latest storm surge forecasts from SUNY Stony Brook predict a peak water level of 2.4 meters above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) at 7:15 am Sunday, which would put the ocean right at the top of the sea wall. Presumably, waves from the hurricane's winds would then push some water over the top of the wall, but it is uncertain whether or not this would cause significant flooding. The storm surge was already 1 foot at 8 pm tonight. Storm surge flooding continues to be a major concern all along the coast of Long Island Sound; I recommend the SUNY Stony Brook storm surge page for those interested in looking at observed and predicted storm surge levels along coast New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.


Figure 2. Storm surge at Sewell's Point in Norfolk, Virginia as of 8 pm EDT Saturday August 27, 2011. The green line is the storm surge, which is the difference between the observed water level (red line) and what the water level should have been without the hurricane (blue line). At 8 pm, the storm surge was 4.5 feet. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.


Figure 3. Distribution of Irene's wind field at 6:30 pm EDT Saturday August 27, 2011, as observed by the Hurricane Hunters, land stations, and buoys. The right front quadrant of the hurricane had all of the storm's shrinking hurricane-force winds (yellow and orange colors.) Tropical storm-force winds (heavy black like bounding the light blue area) extended out 290 miles from the center of Irene over water, but very few areas of land were receiving tropical storm force winds. Image credit: NOAA/AOML/HRD.

Wind damage
The emergence of Irene's eye over water will slow the storm's rate of weakening, but the storm is under too much wind shear to allow it to intensify. The latest wind distribution map from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (Figure 3) shows that all of Irene's hurricane-force winds are on the storm's east side, and also the large majority of the tropical storm-force winds. When Irene makes its 2nd landfall on Long Island, NY on Sunday, coastal locations to the right of the eye will likely experience top sustained winds of 50 - 60 mph. Coastal areas of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and the New York CIty area will mostly see top winds in the 40 - 55 mph range, since they will be on the weaker left side of the storm. Winds on the upper floors of skyscrapers will be up to 30% higher, but I expect there will be only isolated problems with New York City skyscrapers suffering blown out windows. The winds from Irene in New York City will be no worse than those experienced during some of the city's major Nor'easter winter storms of the past twenty years.

Tornadoes
Four tornadoes have been spawned by Irene, two in coastal North Carolina last night, and two in coastal Virginia today. At least two homes have been destroyed, and ten others damaged by the tornadoes. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for all of coastal Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Links
Our Weather Historian, Christopher C. Burt, has an excellent post on Historic Hurricanes from New Jersey to New England.

For those of you wanting to know your odds of receiving hurricane force or tropical storm force winds, I recommend the NHC wind probability product.

Wunderground has detailed storm surge maps for the U.S. coast.

The National Hurricane Center's Interactive Storm Surge RIsk Map, which allows one to pick a particular Category hurricane and zoom in, is a good source of storm surge risk information.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1738 - 1688

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42Blog Index

Gross Jose, put some clothes on!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1737. bappit
Jose!

Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5563
560K without power in CT.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Irene should go extra-tropical later today, and that will end that. Jose could also die later today. The focus will then start to shift from both the aftermath of Irene, when the full extent of the damage starts to set in.. it might be much worse than some of the people on here are making it out to be as a 'nothing storm', maybe not in NYC, but from NC, NJ, CT, and RI could be a much different story.

Then the focus will also shift on the blog here, to what will be our 2nd powerful storm of the season. 92L holds some threat to the USA, and holds equally as much potential to go out to sea. I really don't see much in the way of troughing on the models, high pressure seems to be really dominating the steering flow right now. The GFS seems to develop a low-pressure center (Lee? Who knows) that creates a weakness for 92L to follow in a few days.

Irene was the first of many.



yup
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114072
Quoting presslord:



prison management is a great example of this...but I believe there are some areas where privatization could work...meteorology may very well be one of those...I'm not sure I can envision how the profit motive would be served by the dissemination of inaccurate weather information...


and, btw, for those of you watching...THIS is how civil people can disagree without resorting to ugliness...

I'm not worried about the dissemination of bad data; I'm worried about the non-dissemination of data, period. Imagine this: you browse over to see the day's weather. On the free site, you see highs, lows, sunrise, sunset. But you also see a little red box: "Severe weather is forecast for your area! To find out more, click here!" You click, and see this: "Severe weather information is a service offered to premium members. To gain access to this and all other premium content, please provide credit card information below!"

No, thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1732. fsumet
Quoting presslord:



prison management is a great example of this...but I believe there are some areas where privatization could work...meteorology may very well be one of those...I'm not sure I can envision how the profit motive would be served by the dissemination of inaccurate weather information...


and, btw, for those of you watching...THIS is how civil people can disagree without resorting to ugliness...


If it was privatized, the entire system would fall apart. Would the private sector do the upkeep on the radars? How about the weather radio? It would probably disappear. What about warnings? Now you would be able to sue the private company that issued the warning if it was wrong or didn't issue the warning that they were supposed to and someone died. How much are you willing to pay for your local weather (per forecast, per year, or for a private forecast, the cost would continue to go up as it would be driven by profit)? The private companies just jazz up the products they get DIRECTLY from the National Weather Service. The relationship the National Weather Service has with the Emergency Managers is second to none. These are just a few examples.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


Full list... from MariettaMoon posted on Blizz92's blog.

----

Northeast maximum sustained wind - maximum gust

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston: 34mph - 41mph

RHODE ISLAND
Providence: 33mph - 47mph

CONNECTICUT
Bridgeport: 40mph - 59mph
Hartford: 21mph - 43mph

NEW YORK
N. Queens (LAG): 41mph - 64mph
Islip: 45mph - 62mph
Manhattan (NY): 24mph - 60mph
S. Queens (JFK): 43mph - 58mph

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia: 40mph - 52mph
Reading: 30mph - 44mph
Harrisburg: 29mph - 39mph
Allentown: 24mph - 39mph
Mount Pocono: 26mph - 37mph

NEW JERSEY
Atlantic City (10 mi inland): 38mph - 55mph
Trenton: 35mph - 52mph
Newark: 33mph - 50mph

DELAWARE
Georgetown: 41mph - 59mph
Wilmington: 38mph - 56mph

MARYLAND
Baltimore: 33mph - 51mph
Annapolis: 33mph - 47mph

VIRGINIA
Richmond: 46mph - 70mph
Arlington (DC): 45mph - 59mph
Norfolk: 45mph - 56mph
Dulles: 32mph - 45mph


doesn't seem like a very full list considering it missed many higher confirmed gusts in CT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:


Causing trouble in here again?


Moi? Cause trouble? You know me, press, I don't need to buy trouble or create any...I just sit in the yard and that stuff finds me all by itself
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Just another tropical storm that will not head towards the United States. Still, it did meet the classifications of a tropical cyclone for a while, but with no convection...It may not last long. My UPMOST concern goes to Invest 92L, because this storm means business, and is poised to become a major hurricane, and likely the strongest system so far this season.



Deserves Code Red at 2PM.

92L looks serious.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting odinslightning:



i wouldn't trust that number....thats tiny damage.

if a loss is $15,000.00.....how many ho losses do u need to equal 300M?

20k losses?


at $15K RCV mean average......I doubt that number that CNN is stating.


CNN is looking like fools. Because THEY are NYC its the END of the world....making up crap, downed trees on fences and acting like it's mortality......too dramatic, too much bullcrap.....but hey if the viewers are watching then the Nielsen is skyrocketing and that equates to advert $ rates....so who knows who is right and who is wrong.

Don't get me wrong I do feel for all affected people that have suffered damage(s) and i do care....


point is, if Anderson Cooper wants to be Jim Cantore maybe A.C. should jump in the van and go down to battery park and talk to Jim,....get his cell and tag along next time he heads to the gulf coast for a major cat :)

if u wanna talk the talk, then walk the walk, don't blow smoke in mirrors cuz it makes us see you as a clown with makeup on. lol


ah....Anderson has made is disaster bones
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
Thanks p541 and Charlotte. Its frustrating with this storm..cant recall one in the past that hit so many cities. Harder to get the news on a specific area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1724. 900MB
Glad that we dodged a bigger bullet here in NYC.

I really hope that we don't have another hurricane threat here in NYC for some time. I am afraid of what the reaction would be by my fellow NYers.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
No, it's not Katrina. But does it have to be?

Hoboken, NJ:
Irene

Southampton, NY:
Irene

Manteo, NC:
Irene

Virginia Beach, VA:
Irene

Montauk, NY:
Irene

NYC:
Irene


Score!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
Look at the outflow on the northwestern side of the storm...WOW.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30288
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
OK, so Irene may have potentially caused $200-$400 million in damage to NJ?



i wouldn't trust that number....thats tiny damage.

if a loss is $15,000.00.....how many HO (homeowner) losses do u need to equal 300M?

20k losses?


at $15K RCV mean average......I doubt that number that CNN is stating. and that doesn't even consider CP's, state owned assets, etc etc etc....


CNN is looking like fools. Because THEY are NYC its the END of the world....making up crap, downed trees on fences and acting like it's mortality......too dramatic, too much bullcrap.....but hey if the viewers are watching then the Nielsen is skyrocketing and that equates to advert $ rates....so who knows who is right and who is wrong.

Don't get me wrong I do feel for all affected people that have suffered damage(s) and i do care....


point is, if Anderson Cooper wants to be Jim Cantore maybe A.C. should jump in the van and go down to battery park and talk to Jim,....get his cell and tag along next time he heads to the gulf coast for a major cat :)

if u wanna talk the talk, then walk the walk, don't blow smoke in mirrors cuz it makes us see you as a clown with makeup on. lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FloridaPA:


Look at the pharmaceutical industry, they don't research treatments or cures that are not profitable. I worked for Lily and still have friends who are scientists there. They have no interests in any research that does not lead to long term profits.

Cures for disease are sinkholes. So are anti-biotics. Prozac and oxycontin are what you can expect form them.

I cannot think of a single privatization plan that has lead to better services or value. To me they are just tools of the patronage system.


NASA has done pretty well with it...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
Irene should go extra-tropical later today, and that will end that. Jose could also die later today. The focus will then start to shift from both the aftermath of Irene, when the full extent of the damage starts to set in.. it might be much worse than some of the people on here are making it out to be as a 'nothing storm', maybe not in NYC, but from NC, NJ, CT, and RI could be a much different story.

Then the focus will also shift on the blog here, to what will be our 2nd powerful storm of the season. 92L holds some threat to the USA, and holds equally as much potential to go out to sea. I really don't see much in the way of troughing on the models, high pressure seems to be really dominating the steering flow right now. The GFS seems to develop a low-pressure center (Lee? Who knows) that creates a weakness for 92L to follow in a few days.

Irene was the first of many.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cmahan:


But where's the profit incentive to provide accurate forecasts in low-population-density areas? This is why the government had to step in with the Rural Electrification project in the 30s, there was no motivation for private enterprise to do so on their own.


local advertising is one possibility...as witnessed by the website we're currently on
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
1717. ncstorm
Quoting aquak9:


ringworm is a fungus, not an actual worm.


I know..you do catch ringworms from dirty water..I was always taught not to play in rain water or puddles..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13481
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

LoL...I can't take Jose seriously.


Just another tropical storm that will not head towards the United States. Still, it did meet the classifications of a tropical cyclone for a while, but with no convection...It may not last long. My UPMOST concern goes to Invest 92L, because this storm means business, and is poised to become a major hurricane, and likely the strongest system so far this season.



Deserves Code Red at 2PM.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30288
No, it's not Katrina. But does it have to be?

Hoboken, NJ:
Irene

Southampton, NY:
Irene

Manteo, NC:
Irene

Virginia Beach, VA:
Irene

Montauk, NY:
Irene

NYC:
Irene
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Irene...must...DIE
...CENTER OF IRENE INLAND OVER SOUTHEASTERN NEW YORK STATE... SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND...
11:00 AM EDT Sun Aug 28
Location: 41.4°N 73.7°W
Max sustained: 60 mph
Moving: NNE at 26 mph
Min pressure: 966 mb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:



prison management is a great example of this...but I believe there are some areas where privatization could work...meteorology may very well be one of those...I'm not sure I can envision how the profit motive would be served by the dissemination of inaccurate weather information...


and, btw, for those of you watching...THIS is how civil people can disagree without resorting to ugliness...


Look at the pharmaceutical industry, they don't research treatments or cures that are not profitable. I worked for Lily and still have friends who are scientists there. They have no interests in any research that does not lead to long term profits.

Cures for disease are sinkholes. So are anti-biotics. Prozac and oxycontin are what you can expect form them.

I cannot think of a single privatization plan that has lead to better services or value. To me they are just tools of the patronage system.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KrazyKaneLove:
Surge forecast and winds for the Cape? Anyone know? Have some family up there. Not seeing any damage reports for New England on the news.


If you're referring to Cape Cod, this is the south side, some pretty high gusts. Not sure about surge, the news says they are concerned and watching for it...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1710. cmahan
Quoting presslord:



prison management is a great example of this...but I believe there are some areas where privatization could work...meteorology may very well be one of those...I'm not sure I can envision how the profit motive would be served by the dissemination of inaccurate weather information...


and, btw, for those of you watching...THIS is how civil people can disagree without resorting to ugliness...


But where's the profit incentive to provide accurate forecasts in low-population-density areas? This is why the government had to step in with the Rural Electrification project in the 30s, there was no motivation for private enterprise to do so on their own.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1709. aquak9
Quoting ncstorm:


and ringworms..


ringworm is a fungus, not an actual worm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


It would be nice but it's just not going to change...especially in a public forum setting.

When people hear of a storm coming, if they don't see Andrew damage, they just don't take it seriously. They downplay before, during, and then joke about it afterwards.


There's still hope...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1705. ncstorm
is anyone else watching CNN? was that a possum or rat?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13481
Quoting snotly:
here... lets try this again....

ECMWF @ 240h shows hurricane between Bermuda and Florida headed NW.


Talk to me in 120h :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Good morning all.

2011 is now up to 10 named storms for the season. 2005 had 11 named storms by now, and in fact, "Lee" formed today.

Don't forget the monster that was in the Gulf 6 years ago today.

LoL...I can't take Jose seriously.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting twincomanche:
LOL. Good morning Flood.


Good morning! How are you?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1700. ncstorm
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13481
1699. Grothar
img src="">
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


LOL...Conch, you looking to see what you're going to be missing?


Causing trouble in here again?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
Surge forecast and winds for the Cape? Anyone know? Have some family up there. Not seeing any damage reports for New England on the news.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ConchHondros:
Floods 2nd "poof"...should trickle down to perma-poof for cloudburst on a lesser mans list


LOL...Conch, you looking to see what you're going to be missing?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:


Yes they were. Go back and read all the NWS local zone forecast products. I was posting them all prior to the storm for many locations.

I did not criticize Dr. Masters. I wanted an explanation behind his thinking which he did not supply.

Big difference.



So the NHC controls local forecasts? Don't think so. We can agree to disagree on whether or not you criticized Dr. Masters. You were calling him out for downplaying Irene. You did this numerous times, despite solid data backing him up. He also consistently played up the flooding threat. This was forecast to be the biggest threat for the northeast, and has proven to be accurate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1693. ncstorm
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Question for folks from Mid Atlantic & New England.

TV coverage is showing quite a few people wading through water. Around here we would need to be wary of snakes, clumps of ants etc. Do you have similar hazards?


and ringworms..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13481
Good morning all.

2011 is now up to 10 named storms for the season. 2005 had 11 named storms by now, and in fact, "Lee" formed today.

Don't forget the monster that was in the Gulf 6 years ago today.



^ 6 years ago today.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30288
OK, so Irene may have potentially caused $200-$400 million in damage to NJ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Irene & Jose:


It looks like Irene is baby sitting her baby brother... cute. (100% ignoring the fact that her outflow is suffocating him...)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Question for folks from Mid Atlantic & New England.

TV coverage is showing quite a few people wading through water. Around here we would need to be wary of snakes, clumps of ants etc. Do you have similar hazards?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490

Viewing: 1738 - 1688

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.