Friday, August 26, 2011
Irene heads north and a sleepless night for many
Yes, I am sleepless in Jacksonville. I do need to get some rest before Good Morning Jacksonville but it is tough when you are watching over friends and family farther north. Now if there is some good news it is that Irene as of 11 p.m. has 100 mph winds and she will continue to slowly weaken! You see the hurricane hunters reported an eye wall collapse. Here is a cool link showing the microwave satellite of Irene.
It is like an MRI for storms. You can see a distinct eye when it was a major hurricane with 120 mph winds and then it fades during the day today as the storm went under shear and some cooler waters to the north. The bad news is that this hurricane is abnormally large and really the size of Europe. So even though it will hit Ocracoke Island with wind speeds of a strong category 1 storm do not let the number fool you because in this case size means power and lots of it. It is pushing a lot of waves and water around and remember water has 1,000 times more power than air. So do not get caught up in wind speeds. I think flooding will be the big battle with this storm. So even if winds are not as high super-saturated grounds mean a ton of trees down. We also cannot forget there will also be a tornado threat.
But the good news is for points farther north our sustained hurricane force winds chances continue to diminish and the track has also shifted a bit east. Take a look at those red and purple colors showing the best chance of wind speeds at 74 mph or greater. It looks like by time this hurricane does make landfall most of your hurricane force winds will be gusts of 74 mph or higher which will keep devastating damage less widespread. It helps not having to worry about an eye wall! Now you have to keep in mind tornadoes will enhance damage as well and they will certainly be a threat along with deadly flooding. So while the news is more positive this storm will still be one for the books. Already we have had 70 mph wind gusts in Wrightsville Beach, NC a good 12 hours ahead of landfall. Amazing!
So how about my friends in Delmarva and up the Jersey Coast. Here is the latest track I have and I will update this by noon Saturday.