What is in this article?:
- Mid-Atlantic facing heavy damage from Hurricane Irene
- Hardest hit area
• The impacts on lives, property, commerce and travel will be serious.
• While Irene is not forecast to track as far west, nor as fast, as Hazel did in 1954, it will ride up along the mid-Atlantic coast in such a way as to inflict major damage in many coastal and some inland communities.
Hardest hit area
The worst conditions will be in the stretch from the Delmarva northward through New Jersey, western New England and the Hudson Valley of New York. In part of this area, a foot of rain could fall over a 24- to 48-hour period.
Serious coastal flooding and beach erosion are expected from North Carolina northward to Maine. In a specific sense, the exact degree of above-normal tides is tricky and highly variable due to the highly varied shapes of the coast, barrier islands and back bays.
In a general sense, tides will average 2 to 4 feet above normal, but locally higher surge is likely with wave action on top of the mean level of the sea and open bays.
If you get coastal flooding during a strong nor'easter, you will likely get flooding with Irene. Some barrier islands may be cut off for a time.
Some beaches and boardwalks in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England could sustain damage so severe that they are un-repairable for the duration of the 2011 summer season.
Many people along the Atlantic Seaboard probably have not experienced such a strong storm as we expect with Hurricane Irene.
People in the path of Irene should stay indoors during the height of this storm. Some of the youngest of the crowd were not around for Floyd (1999), Fran (1996), Gloria (1985) and others. Then there are the storms of the more distant generations of the 1960s and 1950s, which include Donna (1960), Diane (1955) and Hazel (1954).
In addition to the potential for a great number of downed trees and power lines, Irene can cause other property issues ranging from damaged roofs and siding to broken windows. These items, and others knocked loose, will become airborne projectiles.
High winds will affect air travel and high-profile vehicles in the path of Irene.
There are many bridges that reach sky-high in the major port cities. The higher up you are, the stronger the winds will be. Travel over these bridges for a time at the height of Irene could be halted.
We can only hope that people heed warnings and get out of harm's way in advance of Irene.
Keep checking in at AccuWeather.com as there may be further adjustments to Irene's path in the north, as the two-way impact between the hurricane and other weather systems becomes clearer.