Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene Impacts: Baltimore/Washington Area

***Please note.  This post was replaced by a new, updated post on 8/27/11.  Please go to the new post here for details.

--------------------------------Original post from 8/25/11:

I won't be as specific in this post as I was in my last impact post (which dealt with the threat to North Carolina). Not because the potential impacts are any less for the Baltimore/Washington area (which is certainly not the case) but because we still have some time to monitor Irene's progress and fine tune the intensity and track forecasts on Friday.

With that said, I feel strongly that the Baltimore/Washington area will face significant impacts from Irene on Saturday evening and into early Sunday.

Let's start with the GFS computer model forecast, valid 5pm Saturday:

The affects will already be felt by this time.  If the above model verifies, and it has a very good chance of doing so, large swells will be pushed up into the Chesepeake Bay, potentially flooding portions of Baltimore.

In addition to the threat of storm surge flooding, strong, damaging winds are also likely.  By the 8pm EDT Saturday evening to 2am EDT Sunday morning timeframe, the GFS model depictions below are forecasting sustained winds of hurricane force as far West as Baltimore and Washington:

As I pointed out in the North Carolina impacts post earlier, vegetation and trees are loaded with water across this region from higher than normal rainfall this spring and summer.  This, in addition to widespread 6-8 inch rains that are forecast with Irene (see image below), along with strong winds will further enhance the potential for widespread tree and power line damage, which will further increase an already very high threat of widespread power outages across the region.

This is a very dangerous and potentially life threatening situation.  If you live across this region, please heed all warnings and local evacuation orders.  Your preparation and evacuation plans should be well underway at this time, and you should strive to complete those actions by tomorrow.

Tomorrow we'll be able to become even more specific with respect to the potential threats that Irene will pose to the region.

For more details on the expected track and East Coast impacts of Irene, please see my earlier post here.  Also, watch for upcoming detailed posts for specific areas further North along the forecast path, which are forthcoming later this evening and/or tomorrow....

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