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.

IR image of Irene
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 so tropical that for concert-goers that will be relief.  By the the afternoon on Sunday things will really begin to go downhill as heavy wind driven rain will begin to pelt the area.  Tornadoes will be spawn in some of the intense outer thunderstorm bands. Because of the PRE, it will be much easier for Irene's powerful winds to knock down trees.  Some of those trees will fall on onto power lines and therefore it is extremely important that people have enough food and water.  The south coast will be flattened by storm surge and 100 mph winds.  Officials will likely focus on potentially extreme damage in coastal Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  How extreme?  Please read the accounts of past New England Hurricanes.   It's all happened before when New England had less people and less coastal development.  Therefore, getting power restored in other areas of Massachusetts may take days.

National Hurricane Center Track and current info (click to enlarge)
If you live on the coast, evacuation is long frustrating process.  With the emerging consensus of a direct strike, my suggestion would be to leave if and when evacuations are issue.  For inland people, if you live in areas prone to river flooding please be ready to evacuate if rivers rapidly rise.  This is the best way to protect lives.  Do not be tempted to go to beach on Sunday to watch the waves.  This is extremely dangerous.   The models have trended west today, ending what had been a steady march east for the last few days.  What has changed?  NOAA and the Air Force were dropping weather instruments ahead of the path of Irene.  They also sampled the atmospheric players that will drive Irene.  With remarkable agreement at 4 -5 days, I do now believe its time to prepare for Irene like she will strike.

Please see this link- simply look at the location of 4 different major computer models Sunday at  8 pm
Upper Air pattern/energy 
The Upper Air (500 mb vorticity) shows the major players in where Irene will track.  High pressure in the Atlantic is blocking Irene from moving out to sea while high pressure in the southwest is allowing the short wave trough to dig in between the between the two to catch Irene and accelerate her north.  And here is the 48 hour rainfall forecast from Monday at 2 pm for one last image..

click to enlarge
There could also be some severe weather with the passage of a cold front tomorrow.  Other than that Friday looks to be the calm before the storm.  More tonight


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