Here’s is the 11AM update on Hurricane Irene:
Currently, the center is located at 30.7N 77.3W, or about 530 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds in Irene are at 105 mph, with gusts to 130 mph. Irene is moving straight north (360 degrees) at 14 mph. Reading the forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center, Irene is forecasted to continue moving north for the next 12 hours, with a gradual turn to the north-northeast as it moves closer to the east coast. Also, the strength of Irene will remain the same for the next 12 to 24 hours. However, Irene will weaken slightly after passing North Carolina. The two reasons for the weakening: ocean temperatures will gradually weaken, and Irene will enter increasing wind shear coming from the southwest. Wind shear, in simple terms, is an opposite wind (usually upper level) that tries to “tear” a tropical system apart. However, there will not be enough wind shear to totally weaken Irene.
Right now, A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for north of Edisto Beach, South Carolina to Little River Inlet, and from Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point Northward and the Tidal Potomac. A Hurricane Watch has moved up to Southern New England. It goes for the area north of Sandy Hook, New Jersey to the mouth of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. This area includes New York City, Long Island, Long Island Sound, Block Island, the city of Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Finally, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for Little River, North Carolina north to Sandy Hook, NJ, including the Delaware and Chesapeake Bay.
The forecast track is exactly what I thought last night. If you did not read my forecast, I did not agree with the evening track from NHC. I felt it was too far west. The hurricane models showed a consensus of a track moving Irene over western Long Island into southwestern Connecticut. The NHC returned it to this track at the 8 AM update. Based on this, I see total rainfall for Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts to be around the 6-8 inch range. Also, high seas are expected, especially along the entrance of Narragansett and Buzzards Bay. I’m looking at about 12-15 feet for the entrances of Rhode Island and Buzzards Bay, and about 10-12 feet along Buzzards Bay east. The entrances of the Merrimack River and Boston Harbor will see about 7-9 feet. It will take until Tuesday for the seas to return to normal, due to leftover swells created by Irene. Also, I’m expecting coastal flooding along this area, and some street flooding in low lying areas. We will see winds mostly in the high tropical storm range (35 mph to about 63 mph) with a short period of hurricane force winds (64 mph+) most of Sunday into Sunday evening. This will cause damage to trees, make anything not tied down become projectiles, and create power outages.
Another thing I have been asked by commenters is to talk about the local airports. A lot of people are either flying in or out of Logan and T.F. Green Airport early next week. Well, I’m not the Governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island (Deval Patrick and Lincoln Chaffee, respectively). Both Governors will have a news conference later today (I know Lincoln is having one at 5 PM.) But, if I could make an assumption, it would be this. If the Governors declare of State of Emergency, I cannot see the airports staying open. That means flights on Sunday will be cancelled. They will probably return to normal by Monday afternoon, possible even Monday morning. So, my best advice: call the airliner or go to their website. If you already know your flight number and day your leaving, you can learn if the flight is delayed or on time. That will save you some trouble and travelling time.
As always, I’ll be creating my forecast for this evening, and hope to get it out no later than 11PM. I have a surprise 40thbirthday party to attend this evening. Finally, thank you to all who continue reading my articles.