Friday, August 26, 2011

Irene brings brief wind gusts to 45 mph but the billion-dollar storm is moving away from the First Coast!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What a morning! I do not call this time of year my Super Bowl for nothing! I have been on the phone with friends from Maryland to New England while looking at the latest weather models, radar images of Irene and snapping shots of those impressive rain bands that drenched many kids going to school this morning. So let's get to it! Irene has passed 250 miles east of the First Coast and is moving away! What a breath-taking view from the International Space Station. The astronauts said it looked downright scary as they passed over it! We did have an official wind gust at St. Augustine of 38 mph with a quick 1.07 inches of rain. Meteorologist Tim Deegan reported a 45 mph wind gust in Jacksonville Beach. But as quickly as the rain came this morning it was pretty much all said and done and as expected most areas west of the river will not see a drop of rain.

I think Irene's clouds will even start clearing out of the area by late today and tonight. I love the tropical breezes and have the screen door open but we are only talking occasional breezes near 20 mph. If you are at the beach you could still see a few gusts of 30 mph but even the wind will start to slacken by late today. You have survived Irene and we are all counting our blessings!

But this is no time to celebrate, especially with our friends to the north in harm's way. I have a ton of family and friends up that way and have been telling my fam and friends in Annapolis, Maryland to make sure to have the flashlights and candles ready because power outages are looking more likely. So how will this storm end up behaving...well I think it will take a track similar to GLORIA like you see above. The year was 1985 and I believe the song Gloria was very popular. Here in 2011 we do not have an Irene song but many have been singing Come on Eileen. I love both of those songs as I am an 80s music junkie! Now good music but bad news! My areas of most concern stretch from Delmarva to Jersey, Long Island and New England. Gloria caused almost 2 billion dollars in damage by today's standards. Irene wil likely have a big impact on millions and will be another billion dollar storm.

With Gloria, wind gusts in Ocean City, Maryland reached 90 mph along with a few spots on the Jersey shore. Like 1985 I expect the eye to pass 50 miles east of Ocean City, Maryland or Marty's Playland on the boardwalk right near Thrashers where I have a ton of wonderful memories. Unfortunately the boardwalk was torn up back then and I am not sure how it will escape Irene's ire this time around.

Long Island had the worst of it with a direct hit from Gloria and it was still a category 2 hurricane with wind gusts of 115 mph reported on Long Island. Damage and flooding were widespread. The storm surge average was 4-7 feet along the coast. By time Gloria made it to New England it quickly weakened to a strong tropical storm but even Rhode Island had wind gusts of 92 mph! The pristine beaches and coastline of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire were spared a lot of damage because of the inland track it took. I think history will repeat itself with Irene and I have some New England friends on standby to update us here on the blog and newscasts this weekend. Yes, Mark in Rhode Island is ready!

So here are my latest impacts: Here locally high tides will run about a foot above average but I am not expecting much in the way of any coastal flooding. Dangerous rip currents will continue at least one more day and surf will build from 6 to 8 feet with occasional 10 foot sets. Enjoy, but be very careful surfers! Over the weekend the best surf day will be Saturday but the earlier you go the better as the surf will quickly fall from 4 feet in the morning to only 1 to 2 feet by late day with a strong west wind. Rip currents will still be moderate so only experienced swimmers should be in the water. Boaters will have improving conditions Saturday afternoon with seas down near 6 feet but still 10 feet well offshore. Sunday looks like the better boating day.

Now farther north: I expect a landfall from Irene in the Outer Banks near Cape Fear, a second landfall near Southhampton on Long Island (where I also love taking boat rides), and a third landfall near Groton, Connecticut.

Jacksonville, FL...20-30 mph winds with gusts to 45 beaches, rain less than one inch.

Outer Banks....80-100 mph winds with gusts to 115 mph, rain of 10-15 inches of rain.

Virginia Beach to Ocean City...50-70 mph winds with gusts to 90 mph, 8-12 inches of rain.

Jersey Shore...60-80 mph winds with gusts to 100 mph, 10-15 inches of rain.

DC, Annapolis, Baltimore...30-40 mph winds, gusts to 60 mph, 4-8 inches of rain.

Philly....35-45 mph winds, gusts to 65 mph, 6-10 inches of rain.

New York City 45-55 mph winds, gusts to 75 mph, 8-12 inches of rain.

Long Island....southern Connecticut and Rhode Island..55-75 mph winds, gusts to 95 mph, 10-15+ inches of rain.

Massachusetts, Central and Northern New England...40-65 mph winds, gusts to 75 mph, 10-15+ inches of rain

I will be back this evening with the timing and latest track of Irene...God bless America and may a more progressive trough coming in from the Midwest kick Irene even farther out to the East! Come on Irene!

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