Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Officials eye Irene, begin preparations

Ray Gronberg in the Herald-Sun (North Carolina): Local officials have begun preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, even as they hope weather patterns push the storm far enough to the east for the Triangle to miss its worst effects. Projections at 5 p.m. on Tuesday were calling for Irene to pass along the North Carolina coast on Saturday.

Federal officials, though, cautioned that the season’s ninth named hurricane is a big storm that will make itself felt up and down the county’s eastern seaboard. “Just about everyone who lives on the East Coast needs to be prepared for it,” National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read told reporters during a Tuesday morning conference call.

To Federal Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate, Irene’s predicted track at that time was looking like those of Hurricanes Bertha and Floyd, 1996 and 1999 storms, respectively, that caused significant destruction in eastern North Carolina. A subsequent update of the projected track moved it a bit more to the east. But state and local officials are taking no chances.

In Durham, Emergency Management Director Jeff Batten asked police, fire and other officials to review their emergency plans, to ensure that each of their departments “understand what their role and responsibilities are” if Irene causes trouble here....

Irene became the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season this weekend. The storm, with 80 mph sustained winds, passed over Puerto Rico on Sunday, and is now on a path towards the Bahamas and Florida coastline. A ridge of high pressure to the north of the storm, around Bermuda, should stay in place over the next few days, forcing the storm along a west-northwest path. Irene is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours, potentially into a Category 2 hurricane. This image from the GOES-East satellite shows the storm on August 22, 2011 at 1345z.

1 comment:

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