Atlantic Basin is Quiet Again.
Number of days since last Hurricane Landfall in US: 323 (Arthur)
, in Florida:
3498 (9 y 6 m) (Wilma)
Meteorologist & CFHC Forum Moderator
Loc: Melbourne, FL
Hurricane Irene has pulled in some dry air from the west which has weakened the inner core of the storm - a process that has been ongoing throughout today. As a result Irene has weakened to a Category I Hurricane with sustained winds of 90mph (my estimation based on data from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft) - which is good news for those in her path. Don't misinterpret that news - Irene is still a hurricane and even a Category I hurricane can cause damage and considerable discomfort. Widespread power outages and flooding rains are common with a Cat I hurricane. Irene is a slow moving storm and folks in the north often expect a hurricane to fly through their area in a couple of hours - but thats not going to happen with this hurricane until it gets into southern Maine. Prepare yourself for long-duration high winds - not as strong as originally anticipated, but lasting quite a bit longer given the large size of this hurricane. The good news is that its not going to be 12 hours of 95mph winds - the bad news is that its still going to be 12 hours of 65mph winds (or more in the North Carolina and Maryland coastal areas). With lower wind speeds as Irene heads north northeast and eventually northeast from New Jersey into eastern Maine (and eventually into Labrador late Monday evening) the coastal storm surge will not be as strong, but wave heights will be at 15 to 20 feet in some coastal areas near the core of the hurricane.
My expectations for the future track of Irene are about 60 miles to the east of the current guidance. Irene should brush the Outer Banks of North Carolina around Noon on Saturday with winds of 85mph gusting to 100mph. Note that although the storm is huge, the hurricane core is small so the area of highest winds will be confined to a small area near the center. Hurricane Irene should move north northeastward remaining offshore of the Mid-Atlantic coast and make landfall on central or eastern Long Island, New York, around Noon on Sunday as a Category I Hurricane with sustained winds near the center of 75mph gusting to 90mph.
Providence, Rhode Island, early Sunday afternoon: 70mph gusting to 85mph
Haverhill, Massachusetts, late Sunday afternoon: 60mph gusting to 75mph
Portland, Maine, early Sunday evening: 60mph gusting to 75mph
Houlton, Maine, after Midnight Monday morning: 55mph gusting to 65mph
Except for those folks in New England, the time for storm planning and preparation is just about over and its time to stay safe.
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