First an “earthquake”, now a hurricane? From the insane winter, no spring, another hot summer, and the events of this week, New York City has been at the center of the natural events world this year. Irene will only add to this year’s craziness.
Much like the WWE character, Irene will enter the stage, twirl around, provide some entertainment, then get the crap kicked out of it. In Irene’s case cold water will provide the beating rather than the Undertaker. The “entertainment” in this case will be a nice long period of rain and wind. Unless you have an endless supply of umbrellas, or feel like swimming in the subway, it will be a good idea to stay in Saturday night. I know, I know, who wants to do that, but I offer a solution. Hurricane Party!
A hurricane party was a right of passage at the beginning of each semester down at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. In 1999 Hurricane Floyd kept us partying for nearly 3 days. Our game of choice? Drink every time you heard thunder/big gust of wind. It was always difficult figuring out how much beer to buy. You never wanted to run out, but the more you bought, the harder it was to keep the beer cold after the power went out. This probably isn’t a problem in the city. The power won’t go out and a refill is right around the corner at your neighborhood bodega. I never thought I’d see a day in NYC where I would be justified in having a hurricane party, but I might just have to party like it’s 1999!
In all seriousness, Irene is a legitimate threat to the Northeast. I normally try to ignore the media’s fervor over any weather related event, but Irene actually is something to get a little excited/nervous over, but why?
The why can be answered fairly simply. The low pressure system that passed through the Mid-Atlantic today, combined with what is known as an “Azores High”–a big high pressure system parked over the Azores Island system–will funnel the storm along the eastern seaboard. Once along the coast it will have a longer path of warm sea surface temperatures thanks to warmer than average waters north of Cape Hatteras. The warmer water up the coast means that Irene will weaken, just not as rapidly as it normally would. It’s like when Mr. Kennedy enters the ring at 4:52–it only temporarily prevents The Hurricane from receiving his inevitable tombstone. Once Irene enters the NYC metro area, its sheer size means Irene will maximize its impact. Irene is a big storm, with a “wind shield” (how far tropical storm force winds extend from the “eye”) of 290 miles and expanding. The larger the wind shield, the further away from sea you can be and still have nasty wind gusts, it also contributes to more coastal flooding because of a stronger storm surge.
Take what the local forecasters are saying seriously, but don’t fall into the chicken little strategy the news uses to attract viewers. If you have a beach house go prepare for the storm now. If you are at the beach, leave now come back to the city where it’s safer. Don’t be an idiot and get stuck behind because you want to see what a hurricane is like. Here’s what happens: the power goes out, the water rises fast, and you have no way to call for help. Lastly, get your beer now, figure out how to feed yourself (or tip the delivery guys like kings), invite friends over, and properly enjoy an event that doesn’t happen very often.
Metro Area Forecast:
Saturday Afternoon/Evening: Outer thunderstorm bands enter NYC Metro Area
Saturday Night: Rain and winds pick up
Sunday 6 AM – 10PM: High Winds with intense rain. 50-60 mph sustained winds with gust between 75-90 MPH likely.
Sunday Night – Monday Morning: Rain and Wind Exiting
Monday Afternoon: Lingering Wind
Total Rain: 5-10″ and no that’s not a typo!