Saturday, August 25, 2012

Irene's March Up The Coast

One year ago, Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the Carolina coastline and was lurking as a rather formidable beast.  While Irene's winds were not the primary culprit of misery for the East Coast, it still produced a great deal of localized damage....and a ton of rain.

Irene dumped as much as thirteen inches of rain in parts of  New Jersey, with Philadelphia picking up 5.70" to help push the monthly total to a record-drenching 15" plus in August 2011.

Irene was not as well organized by 24 hours before its impact in our region (above) as it was earlier in its life (left), when it was a major hurricane in the Central Bahamas.  The storm's relatively slow movement up the coast provided the perfect conduit to a rainy, miserable 24 hours across our region as rains slowly pushed northward from Saturday morning before the storm's brunt was felt across the region on Saturday evening and night.  Irene at its strongest sported  120 mph max winds but made landfall at the Carolina coastline with 85 mph winds.

The storm crawled up the coast, with the worst impacts felt across the region from mid afternoon Saturday until early Sunday morning, with the specific "worst of worst" generally between 8 PM and Midnight across the Philadelphia metro despite the center of the storm gradually moving from the Outer Banks of Virginia late in the afternoon to a position near the coast of the Delmarva near Midnight, still over 150 miles south of Philadelphia by this point.   A few breaks in the action took place towards Midnight as the brunt of the storm worked through but more rain continued on.

Irene produced more than rain and gusty winds -- a tornado dropped from the storm in Delaware and numerous tornado warnings were out across the Delaware Valley as the storm moved through thanks to radar detecting rotation of wind within rain bands.

On Sunday, we will show some of the after effects of the storm once it passed us by and worked into New England.

More:  Blog of the storm from August 26th