Irene Update - Wednesday Evening

Probably the biggest change with the latest data is the speed of Irene. Things have slowed down by about 12 hours. In addition, the operational ECMWF has shown a dramatic shift to the west with the eye over VA Beach Sunday morning, but when you look at the ECMWF ensemble mean (51 forecasts from the Euro averaged together) the track is back east off the coast. My bets are on it staying off the VA coast...for now.

Let's look at the data. First we'll start with Saturday evening. Models generally agree on having Irene near the Outer Banks, though ECMWF is a little quicker and farther north. I do want to mention that the GEM has been terrible this entire event, but is finally coming together.

Now onto Sunday morning: all three models basically have Irene *just* off the coast of VA. Again, operational ECMWF has it 50 miles to the west. But I'm not buying that track...yet. Richmond is far from the center of Irene, so the impacts will not be as great. You can expect sustained winds of 25 to 35 with gusts up to 40 mph. Because Richmond is away from the center, the rain will not be continuous. Instead, rain bands will bring occasional downpours that will amount to 1 to 3". Rain totals will be significantly higher towards the coast, where isolated areas will pick up over 10" of rain. 

Last images are the forecast for Sunday evening. GFS pummels New England at this time. ECMWF and GEM are not as aggressive, but still have Irene as an impressive storm. I still contend that New England will get the most damage from this storm. Hurricanes have historically caused most of their damage from storm surge and flooding rains. New England will see a prolonged period of heavy rain that could amount to over 15" in less than a day!

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