The national media coverage has been criticized about how they handled the storm. Many people who are criticizing have no damage on their property. Was the coverage a bit over the top? Yes it was. The Weather Channel did not have a meteorologist in New England. Many focused on the potential destruction of NYC by storm surge flooding. It was clear by Thursday night that Irene did not have the wind speeds to cause that type of destruction. It was also clear that flooding was going to be a major issue west of the storm track. I do not believe residents of VT and upstate New York were properly warned.
I also believe that residents let their guard down when Irene was downgraded to Tropical Storm. For New England that meant absolutely nothing; the large wind field was still going to knock down trees and power lines. I missed on the landfall wind speed of Irene and my track was off a few miles. All in all I am satisfied with my forecast, but I learned some lessons from forecasting Irene as well. This was the first time I made a public forecast for a Hurricane. If there is a lesson to be learned from Irene it is that a storm with a large wind field will have large impacts. Just imagine the damage if we took a direct Hurricane hit.
So whats next in the tropics? Tropical Storm Katia has formed in the deep Atlantic. The same general pattern is in place across the Atlantic. Katia should track north of the islands and then re-curve in between the east coast and Bermuda. Way to early to be sure where exactly she will go but I will leave you a few maps from past Hurricane seasons that are similar to 2011.