Hurricane Irene made landfall near New York City at about 9am EDT this morning. Shortly after making landfall (at which time a wind gust to 91 mph was recorded over Long Island), maximum sustained winds decreased to near 65 mph (due to friction with the land, buildings, etc., as we would expect in such a large urban area) and she has now been classified as a Tropical Storm.
At 11am EDT, the center of Irene was located 10 miles West of Danbury Connecticut, and was moving North/Northeast at about 26 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 60 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 28.53 inches of mercury (966 millibars).
The image below (click to enlarge) shows widespread high wind and wind damage reports from across the region overnight and this morning:
...and the same data is presented on the image below, but I've zoomed in to the NYC area and highlighted some of the more significant reports in the blue text boxes:
As expected, and as we saw further South on Saturday, widespread tree and power line damage has been the primary type of damage thus far. Unfortunately, as you can see by a few of the highlighted reports, some folks were injured when outside and a tree fell, or even trapped in vehicles due to fallen trees. I think if folks hadn't heeded the warnings in general, though, we'd be hearing of a lot more injuries, so that is certainly good news overall. I'll make a separate post later today with a breakdown of reports all along the path of Irene, up through New England as well...so stay tuned for that.
Sustained winds of 50-60 mph with gusts to 70 mph are spreading Northward through southern New England at this time. Both sustained winds and gusts are 20-30% higher above the 20th floor of high rise buildings, so please keep that in mind this morning and early afternoon as Irene moves through the region.
The primary threat, wind wise, will continue to be the downing of trees and power lines which could result in widespread power outages up into parts of New England this afternoon and evening.
Once the center of Irene passes into Vermont and New Hampshire this afternoon, the winds will likely have decreased into the 40-50 mph sustained with gusts to 60 mph range, which will continue a possibility on up into Canada tonight.
Tropical Storm Warnings continue in effect all along the coast along and ahead of Irene's path (dark blue shaded area on the image above).
Gusty winds to tropical storm force are still being observed well South of the center, as far back as coastal Virginia, New Jersey and Long Island, which is why warnings continue for those areas as well. Winds will taper-off from South to North across Virginia, New Jersey, Long Island and the New York City area during the afternoon hours.
Storm surge coastal flooding of up to 4-8 feet can be expected as Irene continues to pull water up over Western portions of Long Island Sound, Eastward along the Southern coasts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This will especially be a hazard today near the times of high tide. For more detailed information on potential for local storm surge impacts, please go to this link and select the NWS office nearest you.
Very heavy, potentially flooding rains will be the other hazard from Irene today. Widespread amounts of 5-7 inches with localized totals of 10-12 inches can be expected along and ahead of Irene today and early tonight:
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