While I’m concerned for the safety of those on the Atlantic coast, particularly NC and the low-lying areas north of there, I’m sorry to be so far away from landfall. Our forecast here is for highs in the 90’s, lows in the 70’s and sun. For the next 10 days. Sigh. Oh, and the ever present humidity. (of course)
It looks like although Irene has been downgraded to a category 2, it will probably make landfall in NC as a 3. I think that some people (not so much on the outer banks of NC – they’re too experienced) think of a 3 as a fairly weak hurricane because it’s not a 4 or a 5. Anything above a 2 is a strong hurricane. Another thing, the strength of a hurricane does influence the storm surge, but you can have a pretty devastating storm surge with a category 3 hurricane. Besides the category, it also depends on the size of the hurricane, the angle of impact on the coastline, the bathymetry (the slope and contour of the coastal floor) and the speed.
Any area that is impacted by a hurricane only rarely may have a few reactions to being placed under a hurricane watch or warning: (1) OH MY GOSH GET OUT NOW! AAAUUGGHH!!!, (2) Heck, we’ve weathered hurricanes before and even my grandmother doesn’t remember it ever being bad here or, and less commonly, (3) Take all necessary precautions calmly. It looks like Hurricane Irene is going to impact a similar area to the 1938 New England Hurricane (the “Long Island Express”) which devastated Rhode Island and caused great damage to NJ, NY, CT and MA. That was the first major hurricane to impact the coast since 1869. As far as I can tell the last major hurricanes to strike that area was in 1954 (Carol then Edna two weeks later) and they weren’t as bad as the one in 1944 (the Great Atlantic Hurricane). When memories fade, lots of people don’t take action.
|1938 “Long Island Express”|
|1944 “Great Atlantic Hurricane”|
|projected path of Irene|
I hope people will pay attention to the advisories and stay safe. Storm surge doesn’t just happen on the beach. There was over 13 feet of water in some areas of downtown Providence in 1938…