Aside from the wind and the potential for damage from it, the amount of rainfall on already saturated ground, and the high tides and waves are going to do enormous damage both inland (rainfall) and along the coastal regions (tides and surf). Long Island will be heavily impacted being mostly on the stronger, East side of the storm. After LI, it will be the coastal areas of RI, CT, and MA. What is the projected forward speed of Irene when it is forecast to cross LI and then into New England? Historically, tropical storms have had fairly rapid forward speeds when they have impacted the NE US thereby lessening the total impact on that area. If Irene is moving comparatively slowly, the impact will be much greater due to the longer duration of severe conditions. Yes, this could be historic in striking a heavily populated region.
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