Irene Makes LandfallAug 27th, 2011 | By tony | Category: Blog
Hurricane Irene made landfall at about 7.30 this morning (August 26 2011) at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Irene’s winds of 85 mph were lower than feared a few days ago – even the BBC was predicting Category 3 (winds of 111 – 130 mph). Irene will travel at about 14mph in a north-easterly direction. That means the storm will be back out over open water. The water will be cooler as she goes north and drier air from the land side of the storm will be drawn in, so no real strengthening is likely.
New York City is looking at a Category 1 hurricane coming at it – as is Boston Mass (the eye should move west of Boston on its journey up to Canada). Hurricane force winds are spreading out 90 miles from the center and tropical storm winds extend 260 miles – it’s a big storm. Windows in high buildings will be most at risk from damage – the wind is stronger higher up as there’s no drag from the ground, vegetation and, let’s say, two story buildings.
I think the biggest danger (unless your home is poorly protected from wind) will be water. Two issues to consider – up to 10 inches of rain is being forecast – 7 inches is, perhaps, more likely in most areas). There’s been so much rain on the east coast this year that the ground is sodden; it won’t absorb much, so flooding is expected. And trees and utility poles will be easier to bring down – damage to property and danger to life.
The other big issue is storm surge, of course. The forecast height of storm surge is lower than before but 6 to 8 feet is still more than enough to destroy everything close to waterways. As they say – hide from wind, run from water.
In future posts I’ll be covering how to recover and how to deal with the immediate aftermath of flooding.