Irene: Here Comes the Rain, Wind, Flooding
By By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist.
August 30, 2011, 6:44:46 AM EDT
With eastern North Carolina already hit hard by Irene, flooding rain, downed power lines and coastal problems will spread northward this weekend from Norfolk, Va., to New York City and New England.
Thus far portions of eastern North Carolina has received between 10 and 14 inches of rain with more on the way into tonight. Gusts as high as 115 mph have been reported earlier this morning.
Farther up the coast in the mid-Atlantic and part of New England, projected common rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches with local amounts of a foot appear to be on target.
Even though Irene will weaken upon moving north, interaction with cooler air and hilly terrain will squeeze every bit of moisture out of the atmosphere.
Power outages, many resulting from downed trees are mounting with Irene. As of Saturday evening, around a million people were without power from Delaware and Maryland through Virginia and North Carolina.
Prior to Irene's arrival, these areas were having a relatively dry summer. As tropical storm-force sustained winds and hurricane-force gusts roll northward over already saturated ground in the Northeast, millions may be without power during and for a time in Irene's wake.
Remember most crews will not venture out while the storm is in progress for safety reasons and they will not get everywhere once in Irene's wake.
There is the potential for tornadoes with any hurricane encountering land, and Irene is no exception. There have already been a number of reports of short-lived tornadoes with Irene. The tornadoes will be concealed by heavy rain in many cases.
Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski has the details on the coastal flooding, beach erosion and wave action that could leave some areas damaged through the end of the summer season.
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