Archive for Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene makes way toward East Coast

August 26, 2011


— A monstrous Hurricane Irene tightened its aim on the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday, threatening 65 million people along a shore-hugging path from North Carolina to New England. One of the nation’s top experts called it his “nightmare” scenario.

The Category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph — the threshold for a major hurricane — would be the strongest to strike the East Coast in seven years, and people were already getting out of the way.

Tens of thousands fled North Carolina beach towns, farmers pulled up their crops, and the Navy ordered ships to sea so they could endure the punishing wind and waves in open water.

All eyes were on Irene’s projected path, which showed it bringing misery to every city along the I-95 corridor, including Washington, New York and Boston. The former chief of the National Hurricane Center called it one of his three worst possible situations.

“One of my greatest nightmares was having a major hurricane go up the whole Northeast Coast,” Max Mayfield, the center’s retired director, told The Associated Press.

He said the damage will probably climb into billions of dollars: “This is going to have an impact on the United States economy.”

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said damages could exceed most previous storms because so many people live along the East Coast and property values are high.

“We’ve got a lot more people that are potentially in the path of this storm,” FEMA Director Craig Fugate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “This is one of the largest populations that will be impacted by one storm at one time.”

The storm would “have a lot of impact well away from the coastline,” he added. “A little bit of damage over big areas with large populations can add up fast.”

Irene was massive, with tropical-force winds extending almost twice as far as normal, about the same size as Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

“It’s not going to be a Katrina, but it’s serious,” said MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel. “People have to take it seriously.”

The governors of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York and New Jersey declared emergencies to free up resources, and authorities all the way to New England urged residents in low-lying areas to gather supplies and learn the way to a safe location.

Irene was expected to come ashore Saturday in North Carolina with 115 mph winds and a storm surge of 5 to 10 feet. Warnings were out for the entire coast. It could dump a foot of rain, with as much as 15 inches falling in some places along the coast and around Chesapeake Bay.

With heavy rain and storm surge predicted for the nation’s capital, organizers postponed Sunday’s dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 4 months ago

'Good Night Irene' Pick your favorite performer:


Eric Clapton

Van Morrison

Frank Sinatra

Jim Reeves

Nat King Cole

Johnny Cash

Ferre Grignard

Ry Cooder

Peter Delaney with Carol Anne McGowan

Pete Seeger

Willie Nelson

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Lee Lewis

William Elliott Whitmore

Tom Waits

Mississippi John Hurt

Dr. John (on keyboard!)

Bristol Rovers Club (British)

The Pogues (Irish)

Ernest Tubb & Red Foley (country style)

This isn't probably a complete list of all the performances of 'Good Night Irene' on youtube, but I'm getting tired of this!

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

From what I found online, Leadbelly didn't actually write the song...he learned it from his was written by Gussie Lord Davis in 1886...but no recordings of that

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 4 months ago

That's unfortunate. Far to many songs are remembered not for who wrote it, but for who became famous for performing it well.

verity 6 years, 4 months ago

"farmers pulled up their crops" (3rd paragraph)

Could somebody explain to me why they would do that?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 4 months ago

I grew up on a farm, and there are only a couple things that come to mind. Once in a very great while, a wheat or other crop such as corn that is usually grown for its seed is swathed (that is, cut for later use as cattle feed) in order to get something rather than nothing when really severe destructive weather is known to be on its way.

But that would be a desperate last ditch last effort, and so I don't think that really explains it.

It's possible that what was actually meant was that hay or other feed crops that were in the field were quickly picked up to avoid the rain, which makes it moldy, and also difficult to collect from the field. Those situations can cause quite some problems.

It's quite possible that the newspaper reporter that wrote the story misunderstood what he had been told, and was in a rush to meet a publication deadline.

verity 6 years, 4 months ago

Probably you're right that the reporter misunderstood or misstated. It just sounds really odd.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

"...Huffing and puffing and blowing your house down..."

riverdrifter 6 years, 4 months ago

The National hurricane Center is doing great work. The first issuance with Irene was a tropical storm warning on Aug. 20th. They've forecast both the track and intensity very well since. This storm could hit the tip of Greenland as still a tropical storm. Amazing.

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