Showing posts from August, 2011

Irene Wrap Up

Sorry for the lack updates during the height of the storm.  I've been without power since 9 am on Sunday.  I am over my brothers place now.  Many have said Irene was no big deal.  If you still have power, no tree damage on your property, and no serious flooding then yes I agree, Irene was no big deal to you.  However hundreds of thousands are still without power and floodwater's are only slowly starting to recede in VT.  It may a week before power returns in communities like Marlboro, Northboro, Southboro, Mendon, Upton, Uxbridge, Blackstone, Millville, and Northbridge.   Was Irene as bad as it could have been? No it wasn't because there was very little in the terms of structural damage.  Irene spread it effects out over a large area.  It will go down as a memorable storm, probably worse than Bob in Central and Western New England.  In all 35 people are dead.

The national media coverage has been criticized about how they handled the storm.  Many people who are criticizing …

Uxbridge Flooding from Saturday Afternoon

This is Rt 122 in Uxbridge, MA.  3.74 inches of rain fell in about two hours and this was the result.  Thank you to Greg and Shawn Walker for the photos.

Some final Irene thoughts

Irene became the first Hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Ike in 2008.  Early reports out of North Carolina are indicating some heavy damage.  Irene has already caused 3 deaths in North Carolina.  The wind field is still very large and the central pressure remains at 952.  The central pressure is the true indication of how strong a Hurricane is.  We will be in a long duration wind event.  The strength of the wind is not overwhelming; however the long duration and constant pounding of the winds will lead to significant tree and power line damage.  North Carolina is going on 24 hours of Irene.  The backside of Irene has been very powerful which is very rare for Hurricanes.

Track will come in to our west.  Expect 4-6 inches of rain to the east of the center with lesser amounts at the coast.  The winds will be sustained between 45-65 mph with gusts to 80.  The worst of the storm is between 6am and 3pm.  It will be raining long before the core of the Hurrican…

The Calm Before the Storm

Irene is a huge hurricane.  Hurricane Watches are now in effect for the entire Massachusetts, RI, and Connecticut coast

What does that mean?  It means that Tropical Storm force winds extend 425 miles from the center.  It means that Hurricane Force winds extend over 100 miles.  It also means that you need to ignore what Category the winds fall in.  The central pressure is the true indicator of strength in a large Hurricane like Irene.  Right now the central pressure is 946 mb.  This can support winds of up to ~140 mph which is a category 4 hurricane.  So why are Irene's winds "only" 105 mph?  The answer lies in the large wind field.
In small, compact Hurricanes, they can really spin up and when the pressure goes low, the winds respond.  However the area that experiences heavy wind is limited.  In the case of Irene, she is distributing her power across a much larger area.  This is very similar to what happened to Hurricane Ike in 2008.  Ike devastated Galveston and the Nort…

Hurricane Irene- What's New

If possible, the hurricane models continue to show a worst case scenario.  Yeah we are 3-4 days away, but there doesn't seem to be a way to send Irene out to sea.  Irene is forecast to smash the Outer Banks of North Carolina and then hug the Mid-Atlantic coast sending ferocious waves and devastating surge all along the shore.  The storm will then turn Northeast right into southern New England.  The west side of the storm will drop copious amounts of rainfall on areas that are already over saturated.  Mid-Atlantic flooding will be severe there is just no way around that.  New York City is going to be vulnerable to storm surge from Irene.  The south coast of New England is going to be extremely vulnerable to storm surge.

Irene is a large Hurricane, with a large wind field.  Pressure is low in the storm so she is going to drive a lot of water toward the shore.  The surge will depend on how strong and fast Irene moves north.  If it is a strong Category 3 around the Outer Banks then th…

Wednesday Night Irene Briefing

Irene is ravaging the Bahama's tonight with fierce 120 MPH winds and a central pressure of 952 mb.  Irene is currently undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle.  That means the strong inner core around the eye where the strongest winds are collapses and then reforms.  For a reference think that a Hurricane does Tommy John surgery on itself. After an ERC the storm can restrengthen bigger and badder than before.  I really do not have much more to add that I haven't said in the past few posts.  Its coming.

The center is likely to pass through the Blackstone Valley.  It may go right through Providence and Boston.  These are the details that will get worked out as Irene passes the Outer Banks.  Southeast Worcester County could have either flooding rains or damaging wind and tornadoes from Irene.  It depends on where the center passes.  Flashlights, batteries, food, and important documents must be taken care of by Saturday.  Do not wait. Hurricanes are the most powerful weather syste…

Hurricane Irene

Irene has already claimed one victim here in New England, the Sunday Kenny Chesney/Zac Brown Band concert in Foxboro.  The show has been moved to Friday due to the potential hazard of having an outdoor show in the middle of a Category 2 Hurricane.  Model guidance continues to suggest that a large Hurricane will miss the Outer Banks of North Carolina and make landfall in the Rhode Island/Southeast Massachusetts area on Sunday night.  Jim Cantore is being sent to Providence, RI.  You know if he is there, all of The Weather Channel's best meteorologists think that Irene is heading for Southern New England.

The latest computer model information is also surprising.  Most models are now indicating that a hurricane will make landfall on Long Island and then New England,  or just in New England.  The models are also picking up on the predecessor rain event (PRE) that I talked about last night.  So that means that Saturday night's Chesney/ZBB show will be wet.  The air is going to feel …

Tuesday Night Weather and Irene Update

Not much has changed with Irene tonight, except the fact that Irene is increasing with strength at the moment.  Check out the latest Infrared radar...
This has long been expected.  The central pressure in the core of the Hurricane has dropped to 969 mb.  With the warm ocean, both at the surface and at depth, this storm will continue to get stronger.  In fact, Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT has a chart that suggests Irene could be as strong as a Category 5 all the way to the Outer Banks.  This won't happen because that map only takes into account oceanic heat content and nothing else.  There are other factors that will hold Irene back from approaching that strength.  That said, I also do not see any reason to change my forecast track.  Unfortunately there is a lot of guidance that suggest the minimal impacts from New England will still be dangerous.  After watching  NECN's Matt Noyes technical discussion tonight, I want to bring up another hazard that may occur with this storm.  I tha…

Hurricane Irene Tuesday Latest- 303 PM Earthquake update

People seem a little riled up over this earthquake.  There is some damage in the DC/Virginia area.  A water main break has caused mandatory evacuations at the Pentagon.  The airports are running slowly because air traffic control towers were evacuated.  Amtrak service is delayed because investigators have to check every single rail.  The earthquake was felt from Atlanta to Canada.  Is that rare?  Actually no not really.  While earthquakes in the east are rare, they do occur every few years.  The long ranging effects of the earthquake aren't that rare either.  The Earth's crust along the east coast is solid and relatively cool.  Therefore, the earthquake shock is able to travel far and fast.  
The EURO model is also in line with a North Carolina strike and then it hugs the Mid-Atlantic before crossing into New England.   This almost exactly what the NHC track is (see below). This would be a very bad track because PA, NJ, and NY have very saturated grounds right now.  This would …

Hurricane Irene- The Latest

By tonight there should be a pretty big ramp up in coverage of Hurricane Irene.  Irene is a Category 1 Hurricane located north of the Dominican Republic.  It appears less and less likely that the circulation is going to be disrupted by the mountains of the DR.  It appears more and more likely that Irene will become a major Hurricane (Sustained winds greater than 111 mph).  Already 800,000 people are out of power on Puerto Rico and over 10 inches of rain has fallen.  Next in line after the DR are the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southern Bahama's.  Most models are taking the threat away from Florida and sending Irene to the Carolina's.  However, one very reliable Hurricane model is refusing to take the storm up the coast; instead this model is sending Irene to Miami as a category 4 hurricane.  I don't buy the solution, but its hard to ignore and discount the model since it has been consistent.  It remains an uncertainty and I want to let it be known that not all models …

Irene Update

Tropical Storm Irene is nearing Hurricane strength as she bears down on Puerto Rico.  Here is the latest Infrared  Rainbow Satellite Image. Winds are up to 70 MPH and pressure has dropped to 989 mb.  This already makes Irene as the strongest storm of this season thus far.  Irene will break this shortly.  Puerto Rico is certainly in for a rough night.   Winds will gust to 80 mph and flash flooding is likely as 5-10 inches of rain will fall on the island.  I had hoped to get a radar image of the Hurricane on the blog, but the images are currently down.  This confirms how strong Irene has already gotten.  With pressure down to 989 I expect Irene to be a Hurricane by 2 AM.
I believe the National Hurricane Center is keeping the track too far to the west.  They note in their 11 pm discussion that they are uncertain of what effects the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola will have on the system.  I believe the storm is hardly effected by these and will strengthen, turning north more quickly.  Al…

Severe Thunderstorm Watch 795

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Western and Central Massachusetts.  The watch is in effect until 900 PM tonight.  Damaging wind and large hail are the main threats from this complex of thunderstorms.  A vigorous line of thunderstorms is approaching the Berkshires now.  Check out for more information.

Sunday Thunderstorms and Tropical Storm Irene

Hope everyone enjoyed the first part of the weekend.  Tomorrow will not be as pleasant as today was because a surface front will set off showers and thunderstorms.  The latest North American Model (NAM) is showing the potential for nearly two inches of rain in the next 48 hours. The majority of this will fall after sunset tomorrow.  Any outdoor activities will be in good shape until about 130 PM.  After that showers will develop and then thunderstorms will push through after 5 PM.  As usual, as the threat develops I will post blog updates.  The high tomorrow will again be in the mid 80's.  Monday may start gray due to the leftovers from Sunday night but these clouds will clear and the humidity will drop back into the 50's.  Combine that with highs in the mid 70's and it will be a comfortable day.  Some late afternoon clouds could spit out a sprinkle or two late Monday afternoon and the most likely spot for these is Northern MA/Southern NH.
After tomorrow night's rains t…

Thunderstorms this Afternoon and into the Weekend

Good afternoon everyone.  If you've been outside today you'll know that it is warm and humid.  Isolated to scattered thunderstorms will begin to fire between 2-4 PM, moving into our region by the 5 PM rush.  Forecasting the strength of these storms is tricky.  On one hand, the available energy is substantial.  On the other hand, the wind shear is minimal.  What that means is the wind is basically blowing in the same direction at all levels.  Therefore any thunderstorms that form will need to tap into other factors to become severe which is less likely.  However, Western areas and even the Worcester Hills may have enough elevation to "force" the thunderstorms to become severe.

So in English, thunderstorms will be scattered across Southern New England this afternoon and evening.  They will be hit or miss and one or two may be severe.  The threat from the severe storms will be damaging winds and small hail.  There is also not much to drive these storms, so locally hea…

Thursday and Tropics forecast

Originally it appeared that today would be a second straight nice day.   However checking the radar returns showers and thunderstorms are moving from eastern New York into Western New England.  These appear to be weakening but don't be surprised if there are some showers around.  With all the recent rains small streams and creeks are flowing steadily in August, which almost never happens.  Tomorrow there will be another shot of precipitation, but this time its summer thunderstorms instead of a steady soaking rain that belongs in October, not August.  In the long range, a tropical threat is emerging for the Eastern United States.  How significant is TBD.  See below forecast for details (if interested).

Today will be warm, with increasing humidity.  Skies will be partly cloudy and there is a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm.  A cold front is moving east and it will stall over New England, keeping weather unsettled for a few days.  Overall, Friday is worse than today.  The…

Backlash rains then Clearing later

The Nor'Easter that dumped on the northeast is pulling away, finally.  By this evening breaks of sun will be breaking out in central and western Massachusetts.  Northwest winds will make Wednesday the pick of the week as dew points will drop and dry Canadian air makes a brief return.  I say brief because on Thursday some summertime showers and thunderstorms could pop up in the afternoon.  These will be isolated, but a small threat is there.  On Friday/Saturday upper level energy will set off more widespread showers and thunderstorms.  The good news is that temperatures will be in the 80's so when the storms are not around the day will be nice.  These systems will not be the constant rain producers that the region has seen over the past few weeks.

For my friends who go north for the weekend...clouds with showers and thunderstorms are the rule not the exception for the beginning of this weekend, but later Saturday and Sunday will be decent days.

Tropics Discussion
As I've con…