Hurricane Irene Battering Eastern North Carolina; Tropical Storm Conditions Spreading Northward, August 27, 2011 (11 AM EDT)

Miami, Florida—(ENEWSPF)—August 27, 2011 (11 AM EDT).  Hurricane Irene continues to batter the eastern coast of North Carolina.  Tropical Storm conditions are spreading northward along the Delmarva Coast.

As of 11 AM EDT, Irene is located 35.2n (76.4W), approximately 12 miles (190 KM) south of Norfolk, Virginia.  Maximum sustained winds are 85 mph (24 km/h).  Present movement is NNE or 15 degrees at 15 mph (140 km/h).  The minimum central pressure is 952 mb (28.11 inches).

Changes in Watches and Warnings

The Tropical Storm Warning south of Little River Inlet has been discontinued.

The Tropical Storm Watch has been replaced with a Tropical Storm Warning for the coast of New England from the Nerrimack River northward to Eastport, Maine.

Summary of Watches and Warnings in Effect

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Little River Inlet, North Carolina northward to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts, including the Pamlico, Albemarle, and Currituck Sounds, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay south of Drum Point, New York  City, Long Island, Long Island Sound, Coastal Connecticut, Rhode Island, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Chesapeake Bay from Drum Point northward and the Tidal Potomac  
  • North of Sagamore Beach to Eastport, Maine

Interests in Eastern Canada should monitor the progress of Irene.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your Local National Weather Service Forecast Office. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your National Meteorological Service.

Discussion and 48-hour Outlook

At 11AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irene was located near latitude 35.2 north, longitude 76.4 west. Irene is moving toward the north-northeast near 15 mph (24 km/h) and this General motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.  On the forecast track, the center of Irene will move across Northeastern North Carolina this afternoon.  The hurricane is forecast to move near or over the Mid-Atlantic coast tonight and move over southern New England on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts.  Irene is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Slight weakening is forecast as Irene crosses eastern North Carolina, but Irene is forecast to remain near hurricane strength as it moves near or over the Mid-Atlantic states and approaches New England.

Irene remains a large tropical cyclone.  Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 260 miles (415 km).  A wind gust to 87 mph was recently measured at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  Norfolk Naval Air Station recently reported a wind gust to 63 mph. Estimated minimum central pressure is 952 mb (28.11 inches).

Hazards Affecting Land

Tropical-storm-force winds will spread northward along the Mid-Atlantic coast today with hurricane conditions expected by this afternoon.  Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach southern New England late this evening with hurricane conditions expected by Sunday morning.  Winds affecting the upper floors of high-rise buildings will be significantly stronger than those near ground-level.

An extremely dangerous storm tide will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 9 feet above ground level in the hurricane warning area in North Carolina, including the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.  Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 8 feet above ground level within the hurricane warning area from the North Carolina/Virginia border northward to Cape Cod Including southern portions of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large, destructive, and life-threatening waves.  Storm surge values are very location-specific, and users are urged to consult products issued by their Local National Weather Service Offices.

Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 6 to 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches from eastern North Carolina northward through the Mid-Atlantic states Into eastern New York and interior New England.  These rains combined with heavy rains over the past few weeks, could cause widespread flooding, life-threatening flash floods, and significant uprooting of trees due to rain-softened grounds.

Large swells generated by Irene are affecting much of the coast of the United States.  These swells will cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Isolated tornadoes are possible over southeastern Virginia, eastern Maryland, Delaware, and southern New Jersey through this evening.

Surface Wind Field

Click image to zoom in[Image of initial wind radii]
About this product:

This graphic shows the areas potentially being affected by the sustained winds of tropical storm force (in orange) and hurricane force (in red). The display is based on the wind radii contained in the latest Forecast/Advisory (indicated at the top of the figure). Users are reminded that the Forecast/Advisory wind radii represent the maximum possible extent of a given wind speed within particular quadrants around the tropical cyclone. As a result, not all locations falling within the orange or red shaded areas will be experiencing sustained tropical storm or hurricane force winds, respectively.

In addition to the wind field, this graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The white dot indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone, and the dashed line shows the history of the center of the tropical cyclone.