Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm

Brad Knickerbocker in the Christian Science Monitor: Irene has been downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour gusting to 75 mph. But Irene’s weakening is no reason for complacency, meteorologists and government officials say.

Major flooding is expected well inland across the Northeast, with several large rivers likely to remain above flood stage for days, predicts meteorologist Bill Deger at Records could be approached on a few rivers, he says, rivaling those recorded during hurricane Floyd in 1999.

“Rainfall totals will continue to be excessive and impressive. Many areas from the mid-Atlantic into New England will get 3 to 6 inches of rain, with localized amounts above a foot,” he writes. “While flooding along streets and in low-lying areas will be worse in the interim, river flooding will worsen in the hours and days after the rain stops falling. The Schuylkill River in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Passaic River in northern New Jersey and the Winooski River in northern New England are among the waterways that will likely experience major flooding.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says Irene’s change in storm designation shouldn’t change the way individuals and businesses prepare and respond. “Even though Irene is now a tropical storm, it is critical that residents and businesses continue to listen to the instructions of their local officials and closely follow news and weather reports,” FEMA says on its website. “Tropical storms still bring high sustained winds, heavy rains, and can cause dangerous conditions and flash flooding.”…

Preparing for Irene, MTA Police finished securing Grand Central Terminal after the last trains departed. Shot August 27, 2011, Marjorie Anders, Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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