The Biggest Problem From Irene Will Be Rain And Flooding

Irene rain
Precipitation map – Hurricane Irene

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With projections for Irene putting the storm’s centre offshore, the biggest concern for East Coast residents will be huge rainstorms and flooding.Drawing many comparisons to hurricane Floyd, which swept up the coast in 1999, Irene is poised to dump up to 15 inches of rain as far north as Maine.

Jeff Halverson from the University of Maryland tells the Baltimore Sun, “This is a very potent dynamical set-up for huge rainfall.”

It looks like areas to our north and east are in for a monster soaking this weekend,” he said. “The morning models have Irene merging with a trough in the jet stream (crossing the Great Lakes on Saturday), and I suspect a potent coastal front will develop. This is looking more and more like a Floyd-type extra-tropical transition, but shifted further north than in 1999. Things are looking very wet from NJ north through Maine. The models have us right on the edge of this heavy rain shield, but I would not be surprised to see it back-build further west.”

If Irene does swing wider to the west expect ocean swells and winds up to 144 mph if it hits the expected Category 4 designation.

Check out the NASA video of Irene’s approach >