Hurricane Irene not packing much of a “punch” so far

One of the great things about Internet, technology, and personal weather stations today is that I can sit comfortably in my home in California and watch the storm progress on the other coast. This map from Weather Underground suggests that Irene isn’t packing hurricane force winds as it makes landfall in North Carolina, and is rapidly weakening.

click image to enlarge

When I look at the station with the highest wind speed on the map above, it is rather surprising.

Maybe there are hurricane force wind speeds nearer the eye?

Nope.

So what we have here at this point appears to be a tropical storm. By the time it reaches New York, it may very well just be a tropical depression on par with a Nor’easter in intensity.

The next NHC bulletin will probably see a further downgrade in this storm, which now looks to be not as bad as forecast at this point. This is good. Storm surge for the outer banks will of course be an issue, but the fact that we are still getting automated station reports from there is encouraging.

If anyone needs help reading the weather station surface plot symbols for wind, see this.

UPDATE: TWC seems to concur. If they have a reporter standing on the beach, then I suppose it isn’t all that bad:

UPDATE2: latest from NHC, it’s still a hurricane, that’s our story and we are sticking to it:

BULLETIN
HURRICANE IRENE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER  29A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       AL092011
200 PM EDT SAT AUG 27 2011

...IRENE MOVING ACROSS EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA...

SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...35.5N 76.3W
ABOUT 45 MI...70 KM WNW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 95 MI...155 KM S OF NORFOLK VIRGINIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...85 MPH...140 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...950 MB...28.05 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...

ENVIRONMENT CANADA HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FROM THE
UNITED STATES BORDER NORTHEASTWARD TO FORT LAWRENCE INCLUDING GRAND
MANAN...AND FOR THE SOUTH COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA FROM FORT LAWRENCE
TO PORTERS LAKE. 

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* LITTLE RIVER INLET NORTH CAROLINA NORTHWARD TO SAGAMORE BEACH
MASSACHUSETTS...INCLUDING THE PAMLICO...ALBEMARLE...AND CURRITUCK
SOUNDS...DELAWARE BAY...CHESAPEAKE BAY SOUTH OF DRUM POINT...NEW
YORK CITY...LONG ISLAND...LONG ISLAND SOUND...COASTAL CONNECTICUT
AND RHODE ISLAND...BLOCK ISLAND...MARTHAS VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM DRUM POINT NORTHWARD AND THE TIDAL POTOMAC
* NORTH OF SAGAMORE BEACH TO EASTPORT MAINE
* UNITED STATES/CANADA BORDER NORTHEASTWARD TO FORT LAWRENCE
INCLUDING GRAND MANAN
* SOUTH COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA FROM FORT LAWRENCE TO PORTERS LAKE 

INTERESTS ELSEWHERE IN EASTERN CANADA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF
IRENE.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IRENE WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 35.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 76.3 WEST.  IRENE IS
MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 13 MPH...20 KM/H.  A
NORTH-NORTHEASTWARD MOTION AT A SLIGHTLY FASTER FORWARD SPEED IS
EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE
CENTER OF IRENE WILL MOVE ACROSS NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA THIS
AFTERNOON.  THE HURRICANE IS FORECAST TO MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE
MID-ATLANTIC COAST TONIGHT AND MOVE OVER SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND ON
SUNDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 85 MPH...140 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  SLIGHT WEAKENING IS FORECAST AS IRENE CROSSES EASTERN NORTH
CAROLINA...BUT IRENE IS FORECAST TO REMAIN AT OR NEAR HURRICANE
STRENGTH AS IT MOVES NEAR OR OVER THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES AND
APPROACHES NEW ENGLAND.

IRENE IS A LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE.  HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS EXTEND
OUTWARD UP TO 90 MILES...150 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL-
STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 260 MILES...415 KM.  A WIND
GUST TO 78 MPH WAS RECENTLY MEASURED AT CAPE HATTERAS NORTH
CAROLINA.  A WIND GUST TO 67 MPH WAS RECENTLY REPORTED AT LANGLEY
AIR FORCE BASE IN SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA.

THE LATEST MINIMUM PRESSURE REPORTED FROM A DROPSONDE RELEASED BY AN
AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 950 MB...28.05
INCHES.

UPDATE3: From a comment left on Goddard’s site:

Out of the local NWS office in Morehead City, NC:
First, in the northeast part of the eyewall at landfall, and about 30 minutes before your radar map posted above…
0719 AM HIGH SUST WINDS CEDAR ISLAND 35.00N 76.33W
08/27/2011 M90 MPH CARTERET NC DEPT OF HIGHWAYS

CEDAR ISLAND FERRY TERMINAL REPORTS SUSTAINED WINDS 90
MPH WITH GUSTS TO 110 MPH.

Secondly, in the southwest (weakest) part of the eyewall…
1035 AM HURRICANE ATLANTIC BEACH 34.69N 76.74W
08/27/2011 CARTERET NC TRAINED SPOTTER

SUSTAINED WINDS 85 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 101 MPH.

==========================================================
So I think what we have here is a narrow area of hurricane force winds, and a broad area of tropical storm force winds associated with this storm. Near the eyewall it would of course be quite dangerous, whether or not Irene can sustain hurricane intensity will be the question of the day.
==========================================================
UPDATE4: That question seems to be answering itself, just over a 90 minutes after I posted the first images, we see the eye disappearing:

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125 Responses to Hurricane Irene not packing much of a “punch” so far

  1. James says:

    NOAA seems committed to overstating the intensity of this storm to the bitter end. We will see at 2pm EST…

  2. Ric Werme says:

    The latest NHC track is moved west some 30 miles in New Hampshire. The NWS forecast had the remnant eye moving over me near Concord, now the track looks like it’s over our yurt on Mt Cardigan. My wife was already planning to go there tomorrow AM for the storm, I may go with her.

  3. huishi says:

    Is it a hurricane?

  4. Ric Werme says:

    One thing about the Wunderground data – the stations with the highest wind may not have power. :-)

    Also, the anemometers are likely not at the 10 meter height that I think is the NWS standard, the difference between 2 meters and above treetops is often remarkable.

    And, that’s one heck of a dry slot – that’s murder to a hurricane.

  5. Daniela says:

    A Nor’easter in intensity is nothing to sneeze at! It certainly feel like an intense time in NYC right now with transportation shut downs and evacuations.

  6. Doug Proctor says:

    Another application of the Uncertainty Principle. I wonder how much this will have cost? And how much loss of credibility in NOAA and MSM?

    I was worried that Gore might use Hurricane Irene in his 14 September Alarm-fest. He might, still. If observation is that the storm is no worse than many others, then New Yorkers might find him less credible, too.

  7. Travis says:

    With a number of places as far north as Hampton, VA currently (1:40 ET) reporting sustained winds in excess of 45mph, I’m doubting the veracity of WU’s numbers near the eye.

  8. It will still cost million and and already has.

  9. Travis says:

    Follow-up: those 45mph winds are about 125 miles from the current location of the eye.

  10. pat says:

    Way too much land coursing to remain a full strength hurricane. But it will bring in a lot of moisture and it looks like it is hell bent on chewing up a lot of oceanfront. This will be very property-destructive.

  11. Lawrence Beatty says:

    I think Joe B is trying to resurrect the wow factor but as usual every meteorological organisation seem to over hype the situation, I’m just glad it didn’t hit the UK as UKMO with it’s pathetically over the top warning system would have had the popiulation committing suicide.

    However Fox News are doing their best to put some life into the hurricane but as pointed out its really on the cusp off being a tropical storm. Could it deepen further though once back over warm water?

  12. Smokey says:

    Daniela says:

    “It certainly feel like an intense time in NYC right now with transportation shut downs and evacuations.”

    Transportation was needlessly shut down, and people totally ignored the evacuation orders, crowding the beaches instead.

    After a piddling earthquake caused a run on Depends, and a windy rainstorm shut down America’s biggest city, It looks like the thumbsuckers have taken control.

    If you like, you can reply, “But what if ___________.”☺

  13. Travis says:

    Steve Goddard made Drudge by mocking NOAA that Weather Underground only showed winds of 33mph at landfall. His claims got so ludicrous that Joe Bastardi wrote in to refute him by listing a number of places where sustained winds have easily hit hurricane force, asking Steve and other posters not to give skeptics a bad name by continuing to mock the hurricane before it’s barely begun.

    REPLY: For Goddard to call it a “phony” is clearly wrong. It is simply losing speed quickly and running out of moisture. As Ric points out, look at the dry sector to the east. It may regain some strength after leaving NC. – Anthony

  14. Watching Fox News has been fun. There seems to be a sort of wan tone to it all…the hyperverbs are still there, “pounding”…”lashing”…but the background images aren’t too convincing. One commentator started off standing splay-legged as if bracing against the blast, but by the end of his segment he was standing with heels together. Once she gets over land, she’ll be losing her bluster. There’ll be a few buckets of rain, but I’m wondering if we’ll see the newsreel clips from 1938 any more (one of those unprecedented blows). In a few days there will be a lot of rain in New Brunswick (the province).

  15. Leon Brozyna says:

    Perhaps they should have named it … Hurricane Fizzle.

    Lots of rain … localized flooding a concern
    Strong winds, but nothing like I’d expect from a respectable hurricane
    Then there is the storm surge to watch out for along the coast.

    Maybe the media can find themselves a decent scandal on this slow news day …

  16. Wade says:

    It is a hurricane. I live in Nashville,NC which is about 3 miles west of I-95 near Rocky Mount. Electricity was lost at 11:30 this morning. No landline phone, so probably a tree fell on a main. Cell phone still works which is how I am able to post this. Sustained winds have increased in the last hour. My rain gauge says 3.5 inches, but I know it is probably close to 4 inches. A storm about a month ago dumped 5 inches in 3 hours so I know there is going to be some flooding down river. I never thought it would be this bad; but I’ve been in much worse.

  17. Mike Mangan says:

    Steve Goddard was only pointing out the obvious. He couldn’t find any proof of sustained hurricane force winds at landfall. Certainly, six hours after landfall this does not appear to meet the qualifications of a hurricane. There is nothing ludicrous in his claims that I can see…

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/noaas-phony-hurricane-coming-on-shore-with-33-mph-winds/

  18. But . . . but . . . exponentially increasing wind speeds!
    & widdershins death spirals!
    & tipping points!

  19. Anything is possible says:

    I’ve had the same screen up as Anthony for the last few hours, but have been monitoring pressures, rather than wind speeds, as these IMO are likely to be more accurate.

    The lowest I can find right now is 28.43 inches (966 mb) at Cresswell,about 20 miles to the north of the storm’s centre.

  20. Sean Peake says:

    Is it me or is the “official” reaction by government authorities to the storm (mandatory evac, staying is illegal, write name and SSN on your arm with a sharpie, and other scare tactics) reminiscent of “Close Encounters” or better yet, a scene from The Haunting (the good one from 1963), “So there won’t be anyone around if you need help… We couldn’t hear you. In the night… No one could. No one lives any nearer than town. No one will come any nearer than that… In the night. In the dark.”

  21. Tony Raccuglia says:

    The pressure is so low without the windspeed, because it is not 100 percent tropical anymore-its a hybrid noreaster and tropical system.

  22. Anything is possible says:

    Check. That should be 963 millibars.

  23. Jon McCall says:

    I think some are ignoring the fact that the barometric pressure has been sustained at 950mb since last night. This is equal to a cat 3 storm. It is dangerous to downplay this situation. Also, the eye will soon be over water.

  24. Kevin says:

    If you click through on a lot of those stations you find the wind speed to be the last measured before power loss. A lot of these were at 4 – 6 AM.

  25. nonegatives says:

    I don’t know what type of weather stations Wunderground is using, but the “personal” stations using inexpensive cup anemometers are not going to be terribly accurate in high speed winds. These also do not respond quickly to gusts so the readings are more of an average.
    NOAA owned/operated station at Duck Pier showing ~55kt gusts, offshore buoys with 20+ ft waves.

    REPLY: Note one of the examples I gave was a MADIS station, which is in fact a professional station with an RM Young Aerovane IIRC for that location – Anthony

  26. pat says:

    I don’t think this is a hurricane any longer. Might pick up a bit in a sustained ocean crossing given the warm water, but I think it more likely that it will continue up the coast land-ward.

  27. Bruce Cobb says:

    The media have created a perfect storm of spin and hype on this for sure. Diane Sawyer on ABC has been babbling about “the body bags”. Good grief.

  28. j ferguson says:

    Anthony, some of us have more exposure to whatever is coming than others. I like your observations and hope that they will continue, but it might be very useful, if you decide not to regularly monitor this thing, to leave a note to that effect. Wind just started after light and variable (not much of anything) to 15 knots on our on-board anemometer anchored in Rondout Creek just south of Kingston NY. Rain just now too.

    3:10PM EDT

  29. Roger Knights says:

    It’s good the storm surges so far have been less than predicted. Those are the main threat to NYC. Maybe the subways will be back in business by Monday.

  30. pat says:

    Still steering west-ward. Good news.

  31. johanna says:

    Having watched many (and experienced one or two) of those scary swirly circles on the weather maps, I do wonder how much of what we have seen is a function of 24 hour media and its demand for incessant content.

    I am watching WeatherWatch on SBS (Australia) as I type and there are scary swirly things over the sea in quite a few places.

    To a seasoned observer of hurricanes/typhoons/cyclones around the globe, there is no doubt that the vast majority of them are fizzers. They weaken into more intense than average lows, with strong winds and rain, by the time they hit land. Once they do, of course, they weaken even further (in most cases).

    So, the question is – what is the best way to respond? What are the real risks (bearing in mind that they were there 50 or 100 years ago)?

    Insurance companies will make a motza out of people’s fear and lack of information. Combined with ‘climate change’, it opens whole new horizons.

    As the Irene thread on this site has shown, more (gross) information does not necessarily equal better decisions.

  32. If the pressure continues to drop, will it reform?

  33. boballab says:

    You know whats amazing, is people not living under this storm, telling us that do, how bad it is.

    For those that think this thing has “weak” winds might want to take a look at the street sign set in concrete that was ripped out of the ground in Norfolk.

  34. JDN says:

    In Baltimore, we’re getting ready for a serious hurricane: http://looka.gumbopages.com/2010/05/08/the-original-hurricane-cocktail/

    Seriously, wind speed at 100′ elevation affects very few people. Wind speed has been extremely mild on the ground in Baltimore. The wind readings for Baltimore have been off all day. We have currently very mild wind and basically haven’t had any even though the anemometers around town say we are getting near 30 mph gusts. It’s complete crap. Don’t believe it.

  35. Expected her to head out to sea and fizzle out some days ago. Got the trajectory wrong, but glad she was so weakned. Hope you who are hit will not experience too much damage.
    But for the media hype, i hope this will be a lesson learned. Media here in Norway labeled this a “monster-” and a “super”hurricane. As they did with “super”typhoon Muifa about to devastate China earlier this month. (also cat.1.)
    Nothing wrong in crying wolf when there is one around, but yelling OMG IT’S A MONSTER WEREWOLF COMING TO KILL US ALL gets old fast.

  36. Wade says:

    An update. Still no electricity. But winds have definitely slowed down. One loblolly pine tree near me snapped about half way up. Its two neighbor loblollies are leaning over. Still raining. About 4.5 inches so far. Things are getting better.

  37. Mike Mangan says:

    The Post is counting someone who died of a heart attack a hurricane victim? How lame.

  38. ~FR says:

    I am watching the predicted tracks on stormpulse.com, and it seems they have shifted westward, closer to NYC. GFS Ensemble used to be showing landfall on LI, now it is plowing through NJ; NOGAPS (USN) has it pointed at Philadelphia.

    I am wondering if this is a website problem, or have the models really shifted in a non-negligible way?

  39. shunt1 says:

    Darn, I made my prediction when the computer models were showing a path towards Key West or South Carolina. I missed it by about 50 miles, while their error of margin was almost 1,000 miles.

    I have been doing this since the 1970’s and kinda have a feeling about hurrican paths. For me, it has always been a personal challenge.

    But yes, today I am rather proud of my prediction on August 22!

    ……………..

    shunt1 says:
    August 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    Why did I not designate North Carolina? I think that it will run along the coast between North Carolina and Virgina, but I doubt that the eye will actually cross over the land.

    Actually, it will all depend upon what is happening around Northern California today and the interactions of the low pressure systems when they interact.

  40. DesertYote says:

    Doug Proctor says:
    August 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Another application of the Uncertainty Principle. I wonder how much this will have cost? And how much loss of credibility in NOAA and MSM?

    ###
    Small price to pay for all of the wonderful propaganda it has generated. Don’t fret to much over the lose of credibility. The next news story will be out to distract everyone, and before you know it, the only thing people will remember will be the pre-storm reports. This will go down as a AGW caused freak storm in the collective consciousness.

  41. boballab says:
    August 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    take a look at the street sign set in concrete that was ripped out of the ground in Norfolk

    You bring up a good point: cars rip street signs set in concrete out of the ground on a fairly regular basis. Cars kill upwards of 40,000 people per year in the United States. Irene has killed four people. Therefore, Irene is 0.0001 of a car.

  42. JohnInNJ says:

    Watching NJ Governor Christie’s news conference yesterday made one thing abundantly clear. He was not about to let this become his Katrina. I have a feeling that that’s the prevailing sentiment among all elected officials right now. Wind speed is only a small part of the story, so if the hurricane/tropical storm intensity is concentrated close to the center of the storm, it still makes sense to get people out of coastal and riparian flood zones.

    Sitting here in NJ watching the videos from friends in NC and VA, I’m not at all convinced that this storm is fizzling. Even after 11 years the memory of Floyd has made me extremely cautious about large, wet tropical systems that seem to have lost their punch. Several feet of water in your living room has that effect.

  43. LearDog says:

    It seems to me that this was a ‘win’ on trajectory and a ‘fail’ on intensity projections…. But the real interesting part is the reporting: NOAA and NBC.

  44. Reaujere says:

    Checking out the data from the National Data Buoy Center, station CLKN7 on Cape Lookout, NC (which was about 3 miles from where the “center” crossed the coastline) showed a max sustained wind of 58 knots at the 3 a.m. reporting, and a max gust of 68 knots. Looking at other buoy and station data from the NDBC shows the same thing, pretty much no sustained winds greater than 64kt.

  45. Tony says:

    Is Bloomberg going to prosecute those who stayed? After all, there must be someone to blame.

  46. Leslie says:

    It is impressive that the earlier models correctly predicted the track so far. But I’m curious why the projected category did not materialize. Could it be that the the ocean temperatures fed into the models were inflated?

  47. boballab says:

    Stark Dickflüssig says:
    August 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm
    boballab says:
    August 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm
    take a look at the street sign set in concrete that was ripped out of the ground in Norfolk
    You bring up a good point: cars rip street signs set in concrete out of the ground on a fairly regular basis. Cars kill upwards of 40,000 people per year in the United States. Irene has killed four people. Therefore, Irene is 0.0001 of a car.

    What an epic fail at logic.

    Using your logic since cars rip up street signs on a fairly regular basis and they kill 40,000 people per year then since construction crews rip up street signs even more frequently then cars they kill more people?

    They only way your logic works is that every single one of those car caused deaths, the car also ripped up a street sign.

  48. Steven Mosher says:

    I guess the alarmists picked a good middle name for this when they said its middle name was global warming. Truth in irony. maybe Josh should do a cartoon

  49. Frank K. says:

    Well I’m here in western New Hampshire dead center in the path of Irene. I didn’t sense any panic around here, but there are lots of low lying areas that are flood-prone along the Connecticut River (and other rivers that feed the Connecticut), so those folks will have to be wary of the rain fall amounts (should be in the 4 – 8 inch range). The NWS is calling for 35 – 45 mph winds with higher gusts – that will likely take out some power lines, but it may not be any worse than a typical Nor’easter. We shall see…I’ll post a full report if my power doesn’t go out tomorrow afternoon.

  50. Theo Goodwin says:

    Doug Proctor says:
    August 27, 2011 at 10:38 am
    “Another application of the Uncertainty Principle. I wonder how much this will have cost? And how much loss of credibility in NOAA and MSM?”

    Yeah, can NYC send a bill to McKibben for the cost of shutting down the city for days?

  51. Theo Goodwin says:

    I am in Lynchburg VA near the Blue Ridge Parkway and all we have is clouds. Yeah, not even rain. The computer maps show us under a significant rain band. But there is no rain.

  52. Roger Knights says:

    The NHC is still “sticking to its story.” Here’s a quote from their advisory #30:

    AT 500 PM EDT…2100 UTC…THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IRENE WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 36.2 NORTH…LONGITUDE 76.0 WEST. IRENE IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 13 MPH…20 KM/H…AND THIS MOTION ACCOMPANIED BY A FASTER FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THE FORECAST TRACK…THE CENTER OF IRENE WILL MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST TONIGHT…AND MOVE OVER SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND ON SUNDAY. IRENE IS FORECAST TO MOVE INTO EASTERN CANADA SUNDAY NIGHT.

    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 80 MPH…130 KM/H…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. IRENE IS FORECAST TO REMAIN A HURRICANE AS IT MOVES NEAR OR OVER THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST AND APPROACHES NEW ENGLAND. THE HURRICANE IS FORECAST TO WEAKEN AFTER LANDFALL AND BECOME A POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE SUNDAY NIGHT OR EARLY MONDAY.

    IRENE IS A LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE. HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 85 MILES…140 KM…FROM THE CENTER…AND
    TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 290 MILES…465 KM. A NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE OBSERVING SITE AT OREGON INLET NORTH CAROLINA RECENTLY REPORTED A SUSTAINED WIND OF 59 MPH…WITH A GUST TO 81 MPH. A SUSTAINED WIND OF 58 MPH WITH A GUST TO 74 MPH WAS RECENTLY MEASURED AT MANTEO NORTH CAROLINA.

    THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 950 MB…28.05 INCHES.

  53. snow says:

    It was more about POLITICS than Hurricane Irene intensity and damage. Everybody remembers Katrina so Politicians are just cashing in on it but “protecting”.
    Furthermore the meteorologists know that the further north it goes the weaker it gets but they never even mentioned it. I wouldn’t be surprised if didn’t do as much damage as news wants you to belive. Afterall the news loves to exagurate.

  54. Dr. Dave says:

    I rather expect more fizzle than sizzle before this is all over. The radio talk show hosts spent their entire shows hyping this the last few days. Joe Bastardi became a rock star on the Sean Hannity show. At least he nailed the storm track. Monday should be entertaining.

  55. I would have thought that there are 2 forces at work here: one is the 24 hour news cycle and the other is the ready availability of data – albeit that the reliability of the data is questionable. Looking through this and other sites from the safety of Sydney I am struck by several things which I will list without comment for fear of offending people who live in the path of hurricanes:
    1. 33mph is not much more than a seabreeze in summer here;
    2. 39mph is a windspeed that we have been experiencing regularly over the last 18 months with occasional isolated damage to infrastructure;
    3. Houses on sand dunes built on stilts = houses expected to be subject to inundation;
    4. Closure of NYC subway & other mass transit systems = implied disintegration of social fabric due to uncharacteristic worsening of climate (i.e. not bad weather)…thereby justifying greater interference by government in functioning of society..and over here the imposition of a carbon tax on the whole economy;
    5. In the olden days this storm would have run its course without 24 hour media coverage or internet speculation as to its severity. Viewed from a couple of days ago no one would have known in NY what to expect and they would have gone about their business ignorant of the scenarios that awaited them..and it might have rained and some part of the eastern US might have flooded and houses built on shifting sand may have been dragged into the ocean etc. etc. But now the fear of these things can harnessed for the greater good of government.

    Ok so i couldn’t resist the commentary…

  56. Squidly says:

    boballab says:
    August 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    While I understand where you are going with this Boballab, I am guessing, and pretty confident, that today alone, there were more than 3 deaths across the country from cars that did indeed tear out a street sign. I would be willing to bet money on it.

    I only count 3 deaths from this storm at present, because I don’t believe one can consider a heart attack victim as a hurricane victim just because they had a heart attack while there was a hurricane somewhere on the planet, if that were the case, then there are likely more across the country, better count them too.

  57. Bob Tisdale says:

    With a bunch of old trees, at least 20, within striking distance of the house, I prefer high rainfall to high wind. And it appears I’m getting my wish.

  58. boballab says:

    Squidly says:
    August 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    boballab says:
    August 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    While I understand where you are going with this Boballab, I am guessing, and pretty confident, that today alone, there were more than 3 deaths across the country from cars that did indeed tear out a street sign. I would be willing to bet money on it.

    I only count 3 deaths from this storm at present, because I don’t believe one can consider a heart attack victim as a hurricane victim just because they had a heart attack while there was a hurricane somewhere on the planet, if that were the case, then there are likely more across the country, better count them too.

    And again epic logic fail.

    If you don’t count heart attack victims that die because paramedics can’t get to them, you can’t count any death attributed to cars unless the car kills them directly, ie the car has to hit them, or somehow it fails mechanically. Your continued attempts to compare apples to chairs is providing good comedy though.

  59. tom T says:

    Irene has reminded me all along of Gloria in 1985. Which was also way hyped, but with pre-Karena hype. When Gloria finally hit New York it was not much at all. Back then the Mayor did not panic and close the subways before it hit.

  60. Brad says:

    Ya, 75 MPH winds on buildings that haven’t seen a hurricane in decades and in the most populated area in the US – ya, no worries. Anthony says so, he’s a weatherman!

    REPLY: Brad you are a real putz. I never said anything like that, I made no commentary whatsoever on structures. Don’t put words in my mouth not said. 24 hour timeout for you. – Anthony

  61. tom T says:

    Dr Dave I have never seen Joe Bastardi not hype a storm. He is liked because he is right about global warming, but he full of it when it comes to hurricanes.

  62. Houndish says:

    Some key features lie with the temperature differential between the upper air (3500′ – 5500′) and the surface temperature. Remember, the bigger the differential the larger the potential for sustained high wind speeds. The storm is losing out due to the lack of large gradient potentials.
    Cheers:)

  63. Latitude says:

    …..I supposed for the next week we will have to watch pictures of boardwalks, trees, and power lines down….

    …while the people in the Bahamas try to find a roof, their commercial docks, and the rest of their houses

  64. Richard G says:

    “Making predictions is really hard, especially about the future!”- Yogi Berra

  65. huishi says:

    I just watched the cable news channels for the first time. I looked at 6 of them including the weather channel. I could not find one that would mention the wind speed of the storm. There was talk of how big the storm was. One channel showed a street flooded with a foot or so of water. Rainfall was a hot topic.

    No one would say how much the sustained winds were at any location.

    So I looked here:

    http://irene.windalert.com/

    Can they be trusted? If so, I can not see a hurricane.

  66. dallas says:

    Boballab said, “For those that think this thing has “weak” winds might want to take a look at the street sign set in concrete that was ripped out of the ground in Norfolk.” The pressure across that sign goes up as the square of the wind speed. At cat 2, you probably would not see the sign, it would be gone. This storm will do a lot of damage, more with flooding than wind. Be thankful it is “weak”, a cat 5 cruising the beach would be devastating beyond belief.

  67. Ged says:

    According to the radar, Irene doesn’t even have a defined central spinning core anymore. The eye disappeared hours ago. This thing can no longer be a hurricane, it’s obviously a TS. Thank goodness. I guess we’ll see what happens when it hits the bay, but from the looks like it seems to have spent itself on the land (considering it was fading before it even made landfall).

    This is seriously good news for all the residents. The weaker this gets, the better. Who gives a flying frick about global warming or politics at the moment? That’ll sort out after the storm. There are real lives, livelihoods, and people’s homes on the line. So, I thank God we didn’t get that fabled cat 4 they were going on about before Irene turned north, or anymore more than the cat 1 we have gotten.

  68. pokerguy says:

    “you are a real putz.”

    I needed a laugh. And I’m not laughing at the reputed putz either…God knows I’ve posted some dumb crap….but at the simple directness of the statement. I’m a fan of Bastardi, but this is an all too familiar position for him to be in, defending in retrospect, a perhaps hyped forecast. I’ve no doubt his analysis was solid, but his style leaves him open to attack. He spends half his time defending himself against attacks, both real and imagined. I wish he’d take a page out of D’aleo’s book and just be a little more dispassionate about things. But then, he wouldn’t be the inimitable Joe Bastardi…

  69. Alec,aka Daffy Duck says:

    Lameman here… Is it normal for hurricanes to have almost no lightning???
    http://image.weather.com/images/maps/severe/map_light_ltst_4namus_enus_600x405.jpg

  70. tom T says:

    When counting deaths from Irene do we subtract non-deaths? Surly there are people who are alive today because they stayed home, and as result did not get in the car accident that they would have had this been a normal Saturday.

  71. j ferguson says:

    As a graduate of Andrew, Floyd, and Isabel, and about to be passed by this thing maybe 45 miles to the east near kingston, ny, when it hopefully will have lost some oomph, I’m a bit surprised that some of you are so certain it doesn’t amount to anything. I hope you’re right, but I haven’t taken chances with these things in the past, and won’t now.

  72. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Anthony, you heretic you, this is The Worst Storm in History … Didn’t you read your newspaper this morning? Steven Goddard has some good info on “worst storms” in history.

  73. Eve Stevens says:

    What is interesting is that Hurricane Irene hit Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos and eleven islands in the Bahamas without any loss of life. It had to wait until it hit the US as a tropical storm to kill people. People in the US are not smart enough to stay inside during a hurricane?

  74. Theo Goodwin says:

    huishi says:
    August 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    “I just watched the cable news channels for the first time. I looked at 6 of them including the weather channel. I could not find one that would mention the wind speed of the storm. There was talk of how big the storm was.”

    Using the “size” of a storm to hype the storm is unprofessional. The size of the storm as it appears on a satellite photo has nothing to do with the speed of its winds near the center.

  75. djmooretx says:

    Brendan Loy, Pajama Media’s Weather Nerd, has commented that intensity prediction is no where near as good as track prediction. Irene absolutely looked like a monster, but failed an “eyewall replacement cycle“, whatever that is, and never recovered.

    I believe, very much against my inclination, that the officials were right to be cautious. Had they waited until they knew it was going to be bad, it would have been too late.

    It’s wrong to look at these storms from the viewpoint of climate change. Each hurricane is its own storm, highly unpredictable, completely outside the global climate context.

    I understand that flooding and power outages are still a real risk. In that light, “Closure of NYC subway & other mass transit systems” does not remotely imply “disintegration of social fabric”. It implies thousands of unprepared, even smug, New Yorkers trapped underground in flooding, blacked out tunnels. The social fabric might or might disintegrate, but it would have nothing to do with AGW.

  76. Allencic says:

    I suppose if this storms fizzles out then Bloomberg and Christie who put so much on the line, wasted resources and cause so much disruption to so many people’s lives can make the the excuse, “What did you expect, we were stupid enough to believe the CONSENSUS of all these expert weather and climate scientists”

  77. Philemon says:

    AccuWeather is cracking me up! No food for New Yorkers!

    http://www.accuweather.com/video/1805489410/no-food-for-new-yorkers.asp

  78. Robert of Ottawa says:

    William Biggs has a good take on this hurricanette

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=4275http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=4275

  79. huishi says:

    I just don’t understand. I have been watching the data presented here all day and can not see any hurricane force winds in the picture that is updated every 30 minutes. Why are we saying 80 mph wind speeds when your map shows under 50? Am I missing something here — perhaps I can’t read the map correctly?

    Please advise.

  80. Dr. Dave says:

    Drudge just linked to this story. The comments are priceless…

    http://news.yahoo.com/obama-takes-charge-hurricane-command-center-172139005.html

  81. Ric Werme says:

    Leslie says:
    August 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    It is impressive that the earlier models correctly predicted the track so far. But I’m curious why the projected category did not materialize. Could it be that the the ocean temperatures fed into the models were inflated?

    Models have been doing much better with storm tracks than intensity. I assume the difference is that the track is affected by big things, like high pressure “ridges” and low pressure “troughs” that themselves are fairly easy to measure and predict.

    Intensity is affected by thing in the storm’s immediate vicinity. Some of these are smaller structures, some are hard to notice, some are hard to track, and some are quick to change.

    Some of them:

    Warm water.
    The source of energy for the storm. Cold air aloft helps with convection, so that’s important too.

    Low wind shear (change in wind speed and direction with altitude).
    Shear can literally blow the top off the storm and it will take time for convection to build things back up. El Ninos bring a high shear environment and can pretty much shut down an active season.

    Land effects.
    The more land a tropical storm is over the less energy goes into it. The eye needs a lot of energy to maintain its shape.

    Dry air advection.
    If a tropical storm (especially the stronger ones) sucks in some dry air near the surface, that cuts the storm off at its knees. Storms need moist air which releases heat as the air rises and cools, that helps drive convection. Not only does the storm need to get the dry air saturated, (which cools the sea surface), it will have to restart convection through the whole air column.

    A Cat 4 or 5 storm really needs all the elements to come together, and it’s often quite a thing of beauty (well, from Earth orbit) when it does.

    I think what happened to Irene was it got a little wind shear while it was in the Bahamas, then pulled in some dry air as it began to interact with the mainland, then took a course closer to the mainland, and then got a bigger chunk of dry air. The warm water of the Gulf stream wasn’t enough to counteract the problems, plus the storm is wider than the Gulf Stream anyway. I thought the breadth of the storm and lowish category would let it absorb the dry air, but it certainly wasn’t able to handle all of the recent big chunk.

    One thing that’s interesting is that the hurricane hunters use several tools to determine the wind speed. Flight level winds generally follow a standard speed curve down to the surface, the shape of the wave tops and spray vary with wind right at the surface, and radar and satellite data provide useful data too. Irene is a bit odd that the wind speed close to sea level is less than is typical for the barometric pressure (another clue to speed). I’m not sure what affects that, land, size, humidity of inflow probably all have an impact. This anomaly is just in the bottom few hundred feet or so – the NYC skyscrapers may scrape some hurricane force winds down to street level.

  82. Ric Werme says:

    djmooretx says:
    August 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Irene absolutely looked like a monster, but failed an “eyewall replacement cycle“, whatever that is, and never recovered.

    I’m not as confident about this as other parts, but I think what goes on is that the eyewall is a balance point where the low pressure of the eye pulling in air from outside is balanced by the force needed to keep the wind bending around the eye. (It would be a lot easier to refer to centrifugal force, but someone will squawk.) At this point there’s no place for incoming air to go but up, so the eyewall has major updrafts from that in addition to the convection from the warm, moist air.

    At some point the pressure gradient outside the eyewall weakens a bit and a new eyewall begins to form. This cuts of the air flow to the original eye which breaks down and dissipates, but that leads to more suction on the new eyewall and that begins to contract to the new balance point and the eyewall cycle is complete. As this happens, the wind speed of the outer eyewall increases as it’s pulled back in – since hurricane intensity is the peak wind, and that in the eyewall, a replacement cycle forces the hurricane into a lower intensity even though all the rest of the storm is unaffected and is just as destructive.

    I hope Ryan Maue sees this and straightens me out on all the misinformation that may be here.

    I’m not sure how this relates to Irene, it may be the new eyewall let enough air through to keep the old eyewall in existence but weaker than it was. Mostly speculation.

    [RyanMaue: the failed eyewall replacement cycle occurred in concert with the dry air ingestion. usually the inner-core mixes out this dry air and it again contracts into another wind maxima at a higher intensity and lower pressure. but a short-wave trough cut off the equatorward outflow channel and induced southwesterly shear + more dry air. once the inner core is gone, that's pretty much it]

  83. Meyer says:

    Thanks to global warming, the reduced temperature gradient has limited the destructive power of the storm. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  84. Ric Werme says:

    Theo Goodwin says:
    August 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    huishi says:
    August 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    “I just watched the cable news channels for the first time. I looked at 6 of them including the weather channel. I could not find one that would mention the wind speed of the storm. There was talk of how big the storm was.”

    Using the “size” of a storm to hype the storm is unprofessional. The size of the storm as it appears on a satellite photo has nothing to do with the speed of its winds near the center.

    Using eyewall wind speeds as a measure of storm risk is unscientific as it measures a small amount of the storm. However, wind damage doesn’t vary linearly with wind speed or even speed squared, so other metrics like total kinetic energy near the surface doesn’t work well either (and is even harder to determine than eyewall speed).

    Size is an important attribute, so is wind speed, water content time of landfall (both day/night and lowtide/hightide), population density, topography, novelty, and so on.

    A lot of people here denigrate them, but the wind speed estimates reported by the NHC do include the rationale of how it is determined. The sea surface wind speed is rarely measured directly.

  85. TedK says:

    As a former resident of New Orleans and a current resident of Virginia, I really do not mind an overhyped storm. A storm one is over prepared for is far more preferable that a storm one is poorly prepared for. Seriously, falling victim to those that cry wolf is not a reason to fail at being careful when wolf is cried.

    When the media was announcing that the storm would strengthen to a cat 4, the satellite maps clearly showed that the hurricane was not breathing well on the West side. I went to bed suspecting that the storm was weakening (yeah, all those years in New Orleans listening to the experts paid off). The next day while the MSM kept claiming the storm would strengthen again, it was still clear the the outflow to the west was weak and when the storm wrapped that slug of dry air it was a sign the storm was going to seriously weaken. Irene was a cat 1 the next day and encountering land.

    Make no mistake! The East coast was one day away from a disastrous storm. Personally, I would much rather sit down with a sigh of relief than to bitch about a weak storm and to cast aspersions on those weather people who spent a lot of effort and personal stress in trying to predict what is known to be fickle weather. Shame on those who do cast such aspersions! I suppose you’d rather sit fat dumb and happy until one of these storms blast you out of your seats and destroys your property?

    I spent seven days without power or water after Isabel, a supposedly weak storm, roared on through. I lost trees on all four sides of my house and suffered several thousand dollars of wind damage. And Isabel was a pussycat in the world of hurricanes! All of my tubs and water bottles are filled. All movable items normally outside are inside. The Coleman lantern and stove are set up; every one in the household has flashlights and batteries. The car is parked away from trees. I expected to lose power hours ago and though that hasn’t happened yet it is likely. I am prepared and I don’t mind one bit. If Irene turns out to be a light puff, I sit down relieved.

    As for those who call those who got prepared for a hurricane, “thumbsuckers”; I am reminded of a yankee boss we got in New Orleans who ranted about his employees making plans for helping each other get ready for a storm. Then he went through his first hurricane, a small cat 1 no less. When the next storm showed up in the gulf he and his wife were involved in getting ready and helping others. Amazing how one night of lashing wind and rain makes believers out of those who marginalize others preparations.

    No, Katrina did not make me move out of NOLA, my job did a couple of years before that storm hit. I’d happily move back though, even after Katrina. Really great town and people!

  86. EJ says:

    The million dollar question becomes, did they do the right thing by evacuating the critical areas?

    Will there be a critique of the forecasts and actions?

    I hope so

  87. Michael Ronayne says:

    Watching the “NEWS” reports on Television, I feel like I am watching a low-budget SciFi disaster movie. I am monitoring the real-time weather stations in the Weather Underground, including hobbyist stations, official stations and airports. There is a total disconnect between what we are being told on Television and reality. Lies, lies and more lies. I can hardly wait to see tomorrows headline: “East Coast Save From Hurricane Irene by Global Warming”.

    Michael Ronayne, Nutley, NJ

  88. tom s says:

    Don’t believe weatherunderground OBs.

  89. tom s says:

    Plus, this meteorologist has lost all respect for Steve Goddard. What a puss.

  90. djmooretx says:

    Yahoo headline via Dr. Dave: “Obama takes charge at hurricane command center”.

    Facepalm?

    Facepalm.

    You’re going to tell those weather boffins what to do, O? Seriously?

    And Janet Napolitano is going to be second in command here? What you gonna do, Nappy? Give Irene a pat down? Make sure she’s only carrying water in 3.4 oz bottles? See to it that the proles are helpless?

    ===

    Thanks, Ric, for the eyewall explanation.

  91. dp says:

    What do climate change deniers and hurricane deniers have in common?

    REPLY: LOL! In case you can’t read (and it appears you can’t) the title of the post in fact has “hurricane” in it. So, go ahead, make my day, try to show we are denying a hurricane exists. Chortle – A

  92. tom s says:

    I do admit that the news hyped this thing, but for fairly good reason. It weakened more than expected but is still formidable. Winds have gusted above 80mph in some parts of eastern NC. Not 33mph STEVE-O! Unless he was parodying, Goddard is shameful.

  93. Zack G says:

    I’m sorry but not one of you mentioned Hurricane Ike. The size of the storm does matter, the size of the wind field does matter. Ike made landfall with winds of 110 mph, a pressure of 950 in Texas. Ike caused $30 billion in damages and killed 123. Didn’t anyone learn a lesson from Ike? Instead of focusing energy around the core of the Hurricane, Ike and Irene have spread out the energy. I live in south central Massachusetts and between 2-4 PM today 3.74 inches of rain fell in Uxbridge, MA nearly 350 miles from the center of Irene. We we’re forecast by most local TV Mets and the Taunton NWS to receive 4-6 inches of rain. This wasn’t caused completely by Irene, it was a combination of an old frontal boundary and Irene interacting. I am with WUWT with 99% of the time but right now I am slightly baffled. 18 hours of 45-60 mph winds with gusts to 75 on top of 5-8 inches of rain will cause widespread tree damage and power outages. 14 inches of rain will cause major flooding. The northeast has been pounded with rain in August, increasing the flood and tree damage threat. I’m pretty sure 53.6 million people live in the way of this.

    I do think people like Diane Sawyer and NBC want people to think this is because global warming. That doesn’t mean everyone forecasting a major impact is doing so with an agenda. Some people just did not want residents to take a cavalier attitude to Irene. Over 1 million people are without power right now and the center is off the coast of VA. The force of such a large area of strong winds is going to create a large surge along a vulnerable coast. Perhaps we should let Irene play out before calling political motives into question.

  94. Ted Dooley says:

    If a Cat 1 is correctly defined as having sustained winds of greater than 64kts and less than 82 kts, what am I missing in the data provided here;
    http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/radial_search.php?storm=at4
    I can’t find recorded gusts of >64 kts. much less a sustained wind speed…
    Are we ignoring surface winds in determining scale? I

  95. TrueNorthist says:

    dp says:
    August 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    What do climate change cultists and Lemmings have in common?

  96. tom s says:

    Alec,aka Daffy Duck says:
    August 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm
    Lameman here… Is it normal for hurricanes to have almost no lightning???
    http://image.weather.com/images/maps/severe/map_light_ltst_4namus_enus_600x405.jpg

    YES.

  97. Ryan Maue says:

    Who is this man on Obama’s right?

  98. pokerguy says:

    I’ve got the sense this is holding together pretty well. I think when all is said and done this will find a secure place in the record books with widespread flooding, tree damage, and power outages. I think Bastardi will be vindicated concerning his general ideas. I think the consensus that seems to be developing here is underplaying the situation.

  99. Ryan Maue says:

    Geeze, the link to SteveGoddard’s site on Drudge has some people having an absolute conniption in his comments. very entertaining

  100. Interstellar Bill says:

    Let’s remember that the ‘computer models’ of the hurricane track
    are TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the so-called models of long-term climate.
    These are millions of times more real, because they have:
    High temporal resolution (minutes, not months)
    High spatial resolution (kilometers, not hundreds)
    High altitude resolution (hundred levels, not a dozen)
    Good initial conditions (regional, not global)
    Because hurricane models are short-term and ‘well-fed’,
    they indeed can be ‘validated’, because they issue actual forecasts.
    And none of them have any use for CO2.

    Just watch out how Big Media will use the same ‘computer models’ phrase when they push AGW.

  101. Carrick says:

    I haven’t been able to find any weather stations that survived the power outage when the storm came ashore near Beaufort, NC. So I’m not sure we can say there weren’t hurricane force winds when first landfall was achieved.

    toms, when they are in the tropics, it’s not uncommon for them to be lightning free until the eye makes landfall (cheekily stealing a reference sent to me by a colleague):

    See Shao et al., Eos, 86, 42, 18 Oct. 2005

  102. Frank K. says:

    Zack G says:
    August 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Zack I agree with you – all of us in the path of this storm (I’m in New Hampshire) should take it seriously. We’re supposed to get the brunt of it tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, any power outages will be minimal, but the rain forecast is for 4 – 8 inches in my area, which mean lots of flooding.

    However, it should be stressed that Irene is a typical hurricane which happens to have hit the eastern US. It isn’t unprecedented. It’s perfectly natural. It’s not really unusual. This is hurricane season! Unfortunately, people in the CAGW cult want to use this (and really any “exterme” weather event) to promote their beliefs. I find that utterly repugnant, every bit as much as when they attempted (unsuccessfully) to highjack the spring tornado outbreaks. I’ve lamented in the past that weather has now become repulsively political, which is why I avoid such sites as weather.com (and the Weather Channel on TV) and the “weather underground”.

  103. TrueNorthist says:

    TedK @ August 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Few here take storms very lightly, and many in fact have been relieved to see that Irene has turned out to have been a lot less damaging than expected. The problem isn’t that authorities have been zealous in making sure folks are informed and prepared for any eventuality. Every effort should be made to ensure that people fully understand the danger and that they take the appropriate steps. I applaud the actions of some meteorologists and virtually all emergency personnel in doing their jobs very effectively. (Except for that New Jersey(?) chief of police that made those first comments about toe-tags yesterday. He needs to be run out of town on a rail. Grandstanding jackass.) Rather, this is a case of the media and their political masters going so far beyond what was necessary and warranted that it beggars description. I would suggest that they have intentionally frightened people for reasons other than public safety. This is clearly a case of partisan politics dictating the actions of politicians, and money and “access” dictating the actions of the media. I don’t believe these folks had the public’s safety even remotely in mind.

  104. TrueNorthist says:

    Ryan Maue says:
    August 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    “Who is this man on Obama’s right?”

    ahem… That is Janet Napolitano. I can understand your confusion though.

  105. tom T says:

    Brad: I don’t know whether you were commenting to me or Anthony because your comment was right below mine. But I based my comment solely on my observations, my being in New York when Gloria hit, and the meteorology classes I have taken, they have nothing to do with anything Anthony said.
    I happen to think that high-rise building today are almost certainly better designed to withstand high winds now than they were in 1985. It is always possible that due to a design flaw there might be a building that can’t survive these winds but it is highly unlikely, and as I native New Yorker I can tell you that New York gets quite high winds on a regular bases.

  106. Smokey says:

    Very good, True Northist.☺

  107. Zack G says:

    @Frank K. I think if you read my blog you’ll see that I am fully aware of New England Hurricanes…and Hurricanes in general. Check back to the 2011 North Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast from June (if interested). However being a young meteorologist I cannot remember living through Bob and neither can any people my age, so to us a New England hurricane really is unusual. If history is an indication this will be the first in a multi-year cycle of Hurricanes threatening the region and by 2025 (give or take) my generation will be use to the storms.

  108. sceptical says:

    Amazing all of the people who claim there can be no global warming because this one hurricane was not as powerful as these claimers first thought. I suppose any straw when you are drowning.

  109. dp says:

    Anthony and I said:

    What do climate change deniers and hurricane deniers have in common?

    REPLY: LOL! In case you can’t read (and it appears you can’t) the title of the post in fact has “hurricane” in it. So, go ahead, make my day, try to show we are denying a hurricane exists. Chortle – A

    The comment was tongue in cheek and aimed not at you (I’m on your side in all of this) but at a good number of posters here who clearly are in a state of denial regarding the bona fides of Irene. I could see by the track and the storm density it was going to fade fast when it made land fall. I doubt has the heart to reform again over water and suspect it will blow itself out over the next several days. I also agree it was over-hyped and I understand why (Katrina – good job, Brownie), but I was always more concerned about wind damage even at TS speeds, and the inevitable storm surge. So yes, this storm evolved per my estimates, but is and remains dangerous in those areas that are vulnerable to TS intensities and storm surge. That includes a lot of low lying, old growth areas and is not a trivial area. The 650 mb core pressure was more than adequate to drag in a lot of ocean into Chesapeake Bay, were it to hold.

    It was actually Steven Goddard that made the worst claims and was as you know, listed by Drudge as a scientist who is mocking the hurricane classification, and he has a good many like-minded posters there who are also posting here with the same disregard for the danger remaining in Irene. As you and I agree that was way over the top. And I remain skeptical of the WU reporting station quality, and as any good critical thinking person should be. Trust but verify.

  110. Dr. Dave says:

    Ryan Maue says:
    August 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    “Geeze, the link to SteveGoddard’s site on Drudge has some people having an absolute conniption in his comments. very entertaining”
    _____________________________________________________________
    I was curious so I went over to Goddard’s site to have a look. Holy Cow! I’ve seen bar fights with greater civility. The accusations, the insults, the language…it was like a meeting of the DNC 2012 planning committee.

  111. Caleb says:

    Interesting to read about the dry air getting sucked in and the eyewall failure. However there is plenty of juice in the NE quadrant, and some jet stream venting up that way too.

    Irene is making a mess of certain rules. The pressure is at 951 mb. Check out what the winds should be, using the Staffir Simpson Scale. At that pressure the winds should be 120 mph. The fact they are only 80 mph likely is causing melt-downs, within very expencive computers. In fact my understanding is that Hansen’s computer is saying, “Warning! Warning! Danger! Danger!” in the voice of the robot in the old TV series, “Lost In Space.”

    With the pressure at 951 mb, I would say there is still some danger of winds picking up. This baby ain’t over ’til it’s over.

  112. Ric Werme says:

    Zack G says:
    August 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    If history is an indication this will be the first in a multi-year cycle of Hurricanes threatening the region and by 2025 (give or take) my generation will be use to the storms.

    Well, its really the first of a multi-year cycle with the active period starting in 1995. The northeast has been really, really lucky in that we haven’t had a few of these before now. 1938, 1944, Carol, Donna, ….

    You may indeed be used to these storms before the AMO flips negative again.

  113. Theo Goodwin says:

    Ric Werme says:
    August 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm
    Theo Goodwin says:
    August 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm
    Using the “size” of a storm to hype the storm is unprofessional. The size of the storm as it appears on a satellite photo has nothing to do with the speed of its winds near the center.

    “Size is an important attribute, so is wind speed, water content time of landfall (both day/night and lowtide/hightide), population density, topography, novelty, and so on.”

    I do not understand. Back in the 1990s, Floyd’s clouds covered the entire state of Florida yet the damage from Floyd was tiny. How can you say that the size of the cloud system viewed from space is related to the storm’s damage?

  114. Ray says:

    Every year in the Northwest we get winds much higher than that without coming from hurricanes… we don’t claim the end of the world or global warming calamity… watts up with that!

  115. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Originating from Forbes.com:
    http://news.yahoo.com/real-hurricane-irene-renamed-hurricane-hype-021402485.html
    Get Real: Hurricane Irene Should Be Renamed “Hurricane Hype”
    By Patrick Michaels | Forbes – Fri, Aug 26, 2011

    Over the years the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has employed the world’s best experts on Atlantic tropical cyclones, from “Dr. Bob” Simpson, to the mediagenic Neil Frank and on to the current director, Bill Read.

    The lifesaver-in-chief was probably Frank, who indefatigably crisscrossed the nation educating the public to the dangers—hidden and obvious—that accompany these curiously seductive weather systems. His era was one of many innovations, including extensive use of satellites, and tailoring the “names” of storms to the culture where they roam in order to attract attention.

    One of Frank’s nightmare scenarios goes like this: A strong hurricane threatens a heavily-populated resort area with few escape routes, such as the North Carolina Outer Banks. Vacationers reluctantly abandon their $20,000/week palaces on Pine Island for 36 hours in an immobile SUV conga line, drenching tropical showers, and no toilets. The storm falls apart or unexpectedly turns away from land. Lotsa folks rent for more than a week, so they return, an equally strong storm shows up, and they don’t leave. The title of this movie is “how to die in a 10,000 square foot house-boat”.

    We have just lived through something pretty close to this nightmare. Last April 27, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 41 died because they disregarded a weather warning.

    While the number of strong tornadoes is hardly changing (there may even be a slight decline), the number of tornado warnings has increased exponentially as Doppler radar picks up twisting circulations embedded in thunderstorms that could produce a ground tornado.

    The number of false positives has so cheapened the currency of tornado warnings that few now bother to interrupt their work when one is given. While the very good forecasters at the National Weather Service were not at all happy when veteran TV meteorologist James Spann blamed a large number of Tuscaloosa deaths on the very high false alarm rates, he had a point.

    Now on to Hurricane Irene:

    Up until now (Friday evening) Irene has been very similar to 1985 hurricane Gloria, though a bit weaker. But the level of hype—because of its projected path near all of the I-95 major cities—is similar to that of 26 years ago.
    (…)
    When Gloria didn’t kill enough people to suit CBS’s Dan Rather—a serial hurricane hyper who made his career on 1961 Hurricane Carla—he yelled at poor Neil Frank on live TV.
    (…)
    As I complete this, there’s another tropical depression out in the Atlantic, and a couple more on the way in the very near future. Suppose one of these takes a similar path, except that it improbably threads the needle of the Mid-Atlantic Bight and makes landfall immediately to the west of New York City as a Category 3 storm. How many people will the hyping of Irene have killed?

    That’s how Hurricane Hype followed by Hurricane Insanity leads to hurricane death.
    (…)

    ===

    Looks like Obama will have several opportunities to be in charge at the NHC.

    Welcome to the “Stealth Stimulus” method. There’s a lot of panic buying, lots of stocking up, even many “one time” purchases of items like generators, gas cans, and inflatable boats. So next month the administration can gleefully point to the increased August GDP numbers as a sign of the continuing recovery and the success of the President’s policies.

    Let’s see how many more “natural emergencies” pop up before the next presidential election. ☺

  116. rbateman says:

    It certainly does look like the Hurricane is evaporating.
    On Wednesday, I drove through a whirling dervish (dust devil) on Hwy 3 in Hayfork, CA. It slammed both sides of the car as we plowed right through the eye. It had a radius of 3 ft. and was a whopping 8 feet tall, dust wall and all. Darn, should’ve reported a twister.

  117. Larry in Texas says:

    I only wish we could take some of that rain from Irene (without the high winds, please) and transfer it here. We can still use it, we need it badly. More intense water rationing has started in the Dallas/Fort Worth area now. Maybe we should start hyping up the drought down here in Texas, speaking of whether it is a good thing to hype up the potential hurricanes and tornadoes so much. For me personally, I’d rather put up with some of the hype (not all of it – the boy-who-cried-wolf syndrome comes to mind) than to be caught unaware of a coming storm.

  118. j ferguson says:

    Guy next to O is head of Fema. Napolitano doesn’t wear glasses.

  119. Wade says:

    Last update from me. Our electricity came back at midnight last night. So we were without electricity for a little over 12 hours. When you are without electricity for that long you really appreciate how much better life is with electricity. One of the things I worry about is if the eco-communists dreams come true and we have rolling blackouts and high electricity costs. It is not so bad during the day, but at night it is a problem. One day of that nonsense and the eco-communists will lose all the support they have. Where I live I know we had gusts that were hurricane force and sustained winds around 50 MPH. However, and this is what people forget, the worst part of a hurricane is all that rain. So much rain means flooding. Flooding lasts longer than wind and does more damage.

  120. Terry W says:

    It looks like the weather underground totally missed it and in this case looks very amaturish. The MSM greatly over hyped it and would not admit it was weakening after the eywall callapsed before landfall in NC.

    The storm still maintained hurricane (cat 1) status up until someplace in New Jersey. The winds were most effective on bringing a storm surge in that caused a lot of flooding. There is a street named West Ocean View in Norfolk that hadn’t flooded in over 20 years and now has done it twice – 2 years ago and now. Not from rainfall but ocean surge.

  121. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    j ferguson said on August 28, 2011 at 3:42 am:

    Guy next to O is head of Fema. Napolitano doesn’t wear glasses.

    Really? The pic here must show a transparent alien life form stuck to her face:
    http://standing-firm.com/2009/04/24/j-nap-attack-why-antis-want-napolitano-out-and-why-they-are-wrong/

    To be fair, although she needs some level of vision correction (unless she got Lasik recently), apparently normally she wears contacts. Ah, vanity!

  122. Irene was like a really bad nor’easter.

    Alot of tidal flooding and insurance claims unfortunately. Power outages…well they come with the territory.

    But she lost her tropical characteristics long, long ago. In the Bahamas, actually.

    In that sense, Irene was no Ike. By far.

    But past tracks, and large-scale meteorological conditions, made me nervous about this one…heh…someday another Hazel will rake the coast of the US.

    Power outages and coastal flooding and especially inland flooding notwithstanding…but this is not the disaster it could have been.

    Something is going on with the atmosphere that is decidedly different than the analog years of 1954.

    There always COULD be a worst case scenario for the Eastern Seaboard, which contains 37% of the population of the USA, but only 12% of its area…but hell, anything could happen…at any time.

    That being said, we are OVERREACTING.

    On that point, equilibrium is needed.

    Seriously.

    Would have a little bit of risk and freedom…and deal with that risk when it happens…than with the totalitarian Bloomberg “historic” evacuations.

    Ridiculous.

    Big Brother…get the hell outta here.

    Chris

  123. Correction. Meant to say:

    Would RATHER have a little bit of risk and freedom…and deal with that risk when it happens…than with the totalitarian Bloomberg “historic” evacuations.

  124. Brian H says:

    “Bloomberg evacuations”. Sounds like a meme with legs!

    Pols like throwing their weight around. Considering they sit on most of it, that’s a problem.

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