The fact that it is category 2 is actually deceptive.
When a category 4 storm hits land, the eye is ripped apart by the interaction with land. Only the first hour or so after landfall gets the category 4 strength, while most people experience only category 1 or 2 strength, if not tropical storm strength. The winds expand outward as a result of this core dissipation, allowing tropical storm and weaker hurricane force to affect a larger area than at landfall.
This storm has already had its core decay. The wind field has already expanded. And it is 950mb pressure (approx). While the eye is trying to reform, the fact that wind field is already at post-landfall size means that this storm is going to huge. Think of it this way: the tropical storm force winds with Irene cover an area nearly half the size of the Gulf of Mexico and will be hitting 45 million or more people.
Storm surges are estimated to be up to 7 feet in some coastal areas from North Carolina to New England. Graphics I have reviewed show 4 foot storm search surrounding Manhattan Island. Norfolk area may have up to 7 feet.
I've been a little less active today due to stowing deck furniture, boats, hammocks, telescopes, and other things I want to protect from my 40 miles of NE exposure on the Chesapeake Bay.
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