Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene -VS- Hurricane Gloria. A Glimpse Into The Near Future Of Our Eastern Coastline. Are You Prepared?

Current Threat Level for Hurricane Irene

Northeast U.S. Threat Level

TWC's Exclusive Threat Level for Hurricane Irene

Find out the potential impacts from Hurricane Irene in the U.S. on The Weather Channel's exclusive threat level graphics below.

  • We've added an "EXTREME" threat level category from eastern North Carolina to southern New England. According to Hurricane Expert, Dr. Rick Knabb and Sr. Meteorologist, Stu Ostro, "this is a particularly threatening situation and it's best for people to be on alert."
  • Computer models are currently trending toward a forecast solution of rare potency for portions of the Northeast.
  • Irene has the potential to be a serious and multi-hazard threat for the major metropolitan areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. This includes Norfolk, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, and Boston. This hurricane has the potential to produce flooding rains, high winds, downed trees (on houses, cars, power lines) and widespread power outages. Significant impacts along the immediate coast include high waves, surge and beach erosion. The severity of the impacts will be determined by Irene's exact path and intensity, which remain uncertain at this time.
  • For North Carolina, odds are increasing that the main impacts of damaging winds and storm surge flooding will be confined to the far eastern portions of the state. In addition to the Outer Banks, this potentially includes Morehead City and Atlantic Beach.
  • Timing: Irene will make its closest approach to North Carolina late Friday night through Saturday. Northeast U.S. impacts would be this weekend into early Monday of next week.
  • We remain a couple of days away from Irene's direct impacts along the US East Coast and critical uncertainties related to Irene's exact track and intensity remain. Stay tuned to The Weather Channel and right here on for further updates.
Tropical Depression Eight

Thank you to for keeping us updated on this massive storm.

Now it is your time to prepare.  Are you following the preparedness orders from your local officials and from the media outlets in your area?  Don't take their emergency preparedness exclamation lightly.  This storm is being compared to Gloria, which ocurred in 1985.

Here's a little bit about what Hurricane Gloria did to the Atlantic coast.  This may be a glimpse of what the next few days may bring, so read carefully!...

Hurricane Gloria ...formed during the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season and prowled the Atlantic Ocean from September 16 to September 28. ...

Storm path

Overall, the storm caused extensive damage along the East Coast of the United States, amounting to $900 million ($1.84 billion in today's terms), and was responsible for eight fatalities.  

Gloria to the south of North Carolina

...the hurricane turned to the north-northeast, and its winds strengthened to 105 mph as it passed over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

Gloria then struck Cape Hatteras, North Carolina early on September 26, with winds of 105 mph ... while accelerating to the northeast.

Gloria became the strongest recorded hurricane to strike the U.S. East Coast so far north, a distinction it still holds. 

...Originally, the National Hurricane Center classified Gloria as a major hurricane upon making landfall ... the hurricane did produce Category Three wind gusts throughout Long Island.

Shortly thereafter the storm crossed the Connecticut coastline near Bridgeport as a Category 1 hurricane, and while continuing northeastward through New England, it became extratropical over Maine early on the 28th.

...Gloria brought strong wind gusts to the area, downing thousands of trees and leaving over two million people without power.

Overall, Gloria caused $900 million (1985 USD) in property damage and eight deaths, a total lower than expected due to the hurricane's arrival at low tide.

Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic

Upon making landfall on the Outer Banks, Gloria was a fast-moving hurricane that struck at low tide, reducing storm surges to a maximum of 6 ft in North Carolina.

 ... Diamond Shoal Light reported sustained winds of 100 mph, and Cape Hatteras, where the storm's eye came ashore, experienced 75 mph winds.

...Though Gloria moved quickly through the region, it dropped moderate rainfall in locations, including peaks of 7.09 inches in New Bern, North Carolina and 6.04 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

In addition, some unofficial reports in southeastern Virginia indicated amounts of up to 8 inches  of rain.

...High winds downed numerous trees throughout the area, leaving hundreds of thousands without power, including 237,000 in New Jersey, 124,000 in Maryland, and 56,000 in Virginia.

Extreme rainfall in Virginia resulted in $5.5 million (1985 USD, $9.8 million 2005 USD) in damage.

Intense flood waters split Long Beach Island in half for a period of time.

The hurricane's winds caused significant beach erosion, the area most affected being the Outer Banks.

Long Island and New York

Though Gloria hit Long Island with winds of 95 to 100 miles per hour, wind gusts reached 115 miles per hour in eastern Long Island.

Islip, New York recorded a wind gust of 85 miles per hour. However, few other wind reports were available from the island, as other weather instruments were damaged.

Weather forecasters believe that damage across parts of Long Island indicated winds in the Category Three range, as evidence of the damage received at MacArthur Airport.

Because the hurricane arrived at low tide, storm surges were generally low, peaking at 6.9 feet at Battery Park.

...Gloria's high winds caused significant damage across Long Island and southeastern New York.

The area hit the worst was eastern Long Island, where high wind gusts blew thousands of trees into buildings and across roads.

The broadcast tower of WBLI-FM toppled on Bald Hill in Farmingville.

In addition, the winds ripped roofs off of many buildings, including hangars at the MacArthur Airport and the roof of the Islip Police Station.

Prolonged exposure to high winds and waves led to moderate beach erosion, washing away several piers and docks.

The storm surge, though relatively weak, destroyed 48 houses on the ocean side of the island.

Gloria's high winds left 683,000 people in New York without power, with some lacking electricity for over eleven days.

Even though damage amounted to $300 million ($532 million in 2005 USD), due to well-executed evacuations there was only one casualty, the death occurring from a falling tree.

New England and Canada

Upon making landfall in Branford, Connecticut, Gloria was a weakened hurricane that passed quickly through the area.

Though still a large hurricane, Gloria hit at low tide, resulting in low to moderate storm surges of 5 feet in Groton, Connecticut, 6 feet  in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and 3 feet in Portland, Maine.

The hurricane produced gusty winds across New England, with a peak observation of 83 mph in Waterbury, Connecticut and Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in Massachusetts.

Gloria dropped moderate precipitation in the area amounting to a maximum of 6 inches in Littleville Lake, Massachusetts. In addition, Gloria caused significant beach erosion in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Rainfall totals from Gloria
Gloria's high winds downed numerous trees across New England, causing minor to moderate damage.

In the region, Connecticut received the worst of the hurricane, where tree and structural damage was greatest.

Along the coastline, storm surge and strong waves washed away several fishing piers, and some roadways were underwater during the storm's passage.

... In Maine, damage was more severe, where strong wind gusts ripped off roofs and uprooted hundreds of trees.

High winds across New England resulted in significant power outages, leaving 250,000 in Maine, 84,000 in Massachusetts, 174,000 in Rhode Island, and 669,000 in Connecticut without power.

In all, 7 deaths occurred in New England, many of which occurred from falling tree limbs.

The extratropical remnants caused minimal damage in Nova Scotia and produced tropical storm force winds across southern Newfoundland.


...Due to its impact, the name Gloria was retired from the Atlantic tropical storm name list in the spring of 1986, so it will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane.

Emergency preparedness is key in these disasters.  Follow what the officials tell you to do, i.e., evacuation, and remember your 72 hour kits.  If you are allowed to stay home and you are without power for an extended amount of time, you will find that you can live comfortably with plenty of water storage and rotating food storage, alternative lighting, generators, as well as a plan. 

Sending out prayers for all who are involved in this event!  May you find yourself safe, fed, clothed, and loved.

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