As per latest information retrieved from the National Hurricane Center as of 9AM EDT on Sunday morning, August 28, 2011, the center of Tropical Storm Irene was bearing down on New York City. Some weakening has occured over the past few hours, as Irene has interacted with the mainland of the United States while hugging the Atlantic coast overnight last night which has prompted the storm to be downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm. Below is the current information on the system as of the latest report by Reconnaisence Aircraft at 9AM EDT.
The center of Tropical Storm Irene was located at approximately 40.3N latitude, and 71.4W longtiude, which put it about 40 miles south-southwest of New York City. Maximum sustained winds were estimated at 75 MPH. The storm was moving to the north-northeast at about 25 MPH, and minimum central pressure, after being at a lowest point around 950 MB, or 28.05 inches of murcury on Saturday, had risen to 963 MB, or 28.44 inches of murcury as of 9AM this morning.
The present forecast track suggests a landfall over southwestern New England during the late morning to early afternoon hours. Although the system has weakened to tropical storm status, it should be emphasized that those in its path continue to take its approach seriously. Travel is discouraged due to the very heavy rains and strong gusty winds that will continue to be experienced across the Capital Region today.
This storm has had a history of producing very heavy rainfall, on the order of 10 to 20 inches over portions of the Carolina’s yesterday. Present forecasts for our region are calling for 5 to 15 total inches of rainfall by the time the storm winds down later this eveining. Locally higher amounts are possible. The softened, rain-soaked ground, combined with tropical storm force winds of 30 to 50 MPH with higher gusts to near 70 MPH are likely to cause trees and power lines to come down in areas. Widespread power outages remain possible, and areas of the Capital Region are without power as of the time of this writing.
Flooding is also highly possible due to the copious amounts of rainfall forecast to fall over a relatively short period of time. Those with interests along flood prone areas, or main stem rivers and streams should monitor conditions closely and move to higher ground in the event that flooding occurs.
Stay tuned for later updates on this storm, and heed the advice of local law enforcement and emergency management officials.