Climate change, population growth making more people vulnerable to coastal threats
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Though climate change wasn’t mentioned directly during the first panel session at this year’s Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, it may have been the invisible 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Looking back at the 2012 season, National Hurricane Center director Dr. Rick Knabb said this year’s tropical storms were all about the water, rather than winds. Rainfall and storm surges from storms like Isaac and Debby had significant impacts while the centers were far offshore and even though their winds weren’t particularly strong, Knabb said.
Powerful late season storm could affect U.S. East Coast
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Jamaica is about to take a direct hit from what is now Hurricane Sandy, which is generating sustained winds of 80 mph just off the island nation’s southern coast. Hurricane warnings are in effect for the entire island, where six to 12 inches of rain is expected, leading to dangerous flooding.
Sandy’s storm surge will raise water levels by as much as one to three feet above normal along Jamaica’s southern and eastern coast, along with large and dangerous waves. Hurricane-force winds extend outward about 25 miles from the center of the storm, with tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 140 miles.
A hurricane warning is also in effect for most of eastern Cuba, where the storm surge could reach three to five feet along the southeastern coast. An even more intense storm surge of five to eight feet is expected in the Bahamas, where a hurricane watch is in effect.
Sandy will pass over Jamaica Wednesday afternoon and evening and reach Cuba Wednesday night and approach the Bahamas Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are possible along the southeast Florida coast Friday.
Beyond that, each subsequent forecast model has been pushing the storm closer to the East Coast, where emergency preparations have started. Some tracks show the storm interacting with an approaching cold front and hitting the North East as a powerful non-tropical storm, but the exact path is still uncertain.
Second major hurricane of the season expected to graze Newfoundland on Monday
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Hurricane Ophelia reached peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane as it raced to the east of Bermuda Saturday with sustained winds of 140 mph. Parts of the islands experienced tropical storm force winds as Ophelia headed north toward Newfoundland.
Ophelia has been making a slow circuit of the Atlantic for several weeks now after being born from a tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa. It reached tropical storm strength while still far to the east of the Caribbean, then dissipated near the leeward islands before regenerating as a hurricane a few days ago. Continue reading “Hurricane Ophelia peaks as Category 4 storm”→
New England will be under the gun Sunday afternoon, with parts of the Canadian maritimes also under warnings
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Swirling up the coast and packing sustained winds of 80 mph late Saturday night, Hurricane Irene approached New York City, where tropical storm conditions are expected Sunday morning.
The Associated Press reported late Saturday night that the storm was responsible for eight deaths and has left up to 2 million people without power.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene is still expected to make another landfall on Long Island sometime Sunday morning before continuing up to New England. Widespread hurricane and tropical storm warnings remain in effect, extending from New York up to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The tropical storm warnings are in effect through Eastport, Maine and the southern coast of Novia Scotia. Irene is expected to reach eastern Canada by Sunday night. Continue reading “Hurricane Irene approaching New York”→
Flooding, wind damage expected up through New England
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Hurricane Irene hit the North Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm Saturday morning, with sustained winds of 85 mph damaging houses and piers along the shore. Heavy rains and a storm surge of several feet will continue to cause flooding in coastal areas and inland rivers.
The storm weakened just before it made landfall as dry air swirled into the core, but the size of the storm still left about 2 million people under evacuation orders up and down the Eastern Seaboard, where transportation will likely come to a standstill during the weekend, with major airports and transit systems shut down in many cities and towns. Although the winds have weakened, the storm continues to show a well-defined center and low atmospheric pressure of around 961 millibars Saturday morning.
Irene is forecast to maintain sustained winds of up to 70 mph for the next 36 hours as it moves up the coast toward New York City and New England, with widespread hurricane warnings now in effect. The National Hurricane Center warns that Irene is still expected to have significant impacts across New England, whether it’s classified as a weak hurricane or strong tropical storm, with damaging winds, a dangerous storm surge and flooding rains.
As of Saturday morning, hurricane warnings were in effect from North Carolina through Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, New York City, Long Island Sound, coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Details on watches and warnings are updated online at the National Hurricane Center website.
Exact track still uncertain but SE coast of U.S. is in the bullseye
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Irene strengthened overnight to become the first hurricane of the 2011 season with sustained winds of 75 mph. The storm is expected to gradually intensify the next few days, developing winds of more than 100 mph by the end of the week, when it could pose a threat to Florida or the Southeast coastline.
The storm left at least 800,000 people without power in Puerto Rico before gradually moving away from the island, with the forecast track taking just north of Hispaniola and Cuba before gradually curving more to the north toward Florida.
Hurricane watches are in effect for the parts of the northern Haiti coast and the central Bahamas, while tropical storm warnings have been issues for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and parts of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.