Hurricane Irene may have been downgraded to a Category 1 storm overnight but the system is still packing a serious punch.
Irene is currently impacting the North Carolina coast with 90 mph winds and has already dropped in excess of seven inches of rain, based on Doppler estimates.
Hurricane warnings remain posted for the southern counties of Connecticut, as well as Putnam, Rockland, Westchester counties and points south into New York City and Long Island. Tropical storm warnings are in place for the northern Connecticut counties.
Here's a few facts of what kind of punch Irene is packing:
- Current Wind Speed- 90 mph (Category 1).
- Travel Speed – North-northeast at 14 mph.
- Areal Coverage – Approximately 800 miles wide.
- Rainfall Thus far – In excess of seven inches in portions of eastern North Carolina.
- Estimated Storm Surge – Three to six feet in Long Island.
Sound clouds have already overtaken the Tri-State area; in fact Doppler radar on Long Island is already picking up the extreme outer rain bands of Irene off to the south.
What can we expect?
Initial showers in New York City will begin as early as 10 a.m. Saturday morning; Hartford will see it at noon.
The steady/heavier rain will begin to arrive in New York City around midnight Saturday, and by 2 to 3 a.m. in Hartford.
Tropical storm force winds, in excess of 39 mph, will arrive between 7 and 10 a.m. Sunday in New York City. It will take a bit longer to make it to Hartford, probably between 9 and noon.
Winds of this strength have the potential for devastating effects. Downed trees and power lines are likely to lead to power outages and could prove quite dangerous. Hurricane destruction of this magnitude will be on the scale of Hurricane Gloria, back in 1985. Residents are urged to heed emergency warnings.
The peak of the storm is forecasted to reach New York City around 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday and reach Hartford by 5 to 8 p.m. Maximum winds will peak around 65-75 mph with gusts as high as 85.
Rain will taper off first in New York City, around midnight, and by 2 a.m. Monday in Hartford - but not before dumping upwards of seven to 10 inches of rain.
If you haven’t stocked up on supplies yet, now is the time. Within 12-18 hours, heavy rain and winds will begin to be felt over the Tri-State area.
Another update will be posted this afternoon.