Saturday, August 27, 2011

9 p.m. Irene update from the National Weather Service

At this hour:

• Hurricane Irene is lashing Virginia’s Tidewater region and the southern Delmarva peninsula with heavy rains and hurricane-force gusts.

• Despite being over land for much of the day, Irene still has maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

• This is a huge storm. Rain from it currently extends from Maine all the way south to North Carolina. Tropical storm-force winds still extend up to 290 miles from the center of circulation, while hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 85 miles.
• Irene is picking up the pace on her forward speed, now booking north-northeast at 16 mph.

• Central pressure still remains a significantly low 951 mb.

• The storm is expected to maintain hurricane strength as it moves up the coast and through Long Island. A drop in strength is expected after its center strikes New England.

• A wind gust of 76 mph was recently reported at the Williamsburg-Jamestown, Va., airport.

• A storm surge of about 5 feet has been observed at Oregon Inlet, N.C.

• A storm surge of 4 feet has occurred thus far at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

• Rainfall totals of 10-14 inches have already occurred over a large portion of eastern North Carolina and extreme southeastern Virginia.

• The highest rainfall total of 14.0 inches was reported at Bunyan, N.C.

• Isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches are still possible throughout the storm area.

• Isolated tornadoes are possible along the coasts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey through tonight.

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