Jumat, 02 September 2011

Hurricane Irene (2011)

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This article is about the hurricane of 2011. For other storms of the same name, see Tropical Storm Irene.

Hurricane Irene
Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)

 Hurricane Irene over the southern Bahamas on August 24

August 20, 2011
August 29, 2011
1-minute sustained:
120 mph (195 km/h)
Lowest pressure
942 mbar (hPa; 27.82 inHg)
55 total
$10.1 billion (2011 USD)


Hurricane Irene was a large and powerful Atlantic hurricane that left extensive flood and wind damage along its path through the Caribbean, the United States East Coast and as far north as Atlantic Canada in 2011. The ninth named storm, first hurricane and first major hurricane of the 2011 season, Irene formed from a well-defined Atlantic tropical wave that showed signs of organization east of the Lesser Antilles. It developed atmospheric convection and a closed cyclonic circulation center, prompting the National Hurricane Center to initiate public advisories on the tropical cyclone late on August 20. Subsequent convective organization occurred as it passed the Leeward Islands, and by August 21, it moved very close to Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The next day Irene made landfall at hurricane strength near Puerto Rico, where high winds and intermittent torrents caused significant property damage.
Irene tracked just north of Hispaniola as an intensifying Category 1 hurricane, skirting the coast with heavy precipitation and strong winds that killed several people. After crossing the Turks and Caicos Islands, the hurricane quickly strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane while passing through The Bahamas[1], leaving behind a trail of extensive structural damage in its wake. Curving toward the north, Irene skirted past Florida with its outer bands producing tropical-storm-force winds. It made landfall over Eastern North Carolina's Outer Banks on the morning of August 27, and moved along southeastern Virginia, affecting the Hampton Roads region.[2]
After briefly reemerging over water, Irene made second US landfall near Little Egg Inlet in New Jersey during the morning of August 28, becoming the first hurricane to make landfall in the state since 1903.[3][4] Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made its third U.S. landfall in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York, at approximately 9:00 a.m on August 28. Considerable damage occurred in the Catskill Mountains and Mohawk Valley of New York State[5] and in Vermont, which suffered from the worst flooding in centuries.[6]
Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least 54 deaths; monetary losses to the Caribbean could be as high as US$ 3.1 billion according to preliminary estimates.[7] Early damage estimates in the US are about $7 billion.[8]


[edit] Meteorological history

Storm path
On August 15, 2011, a tropical wave exited the west African coast, and emerged into the Atlantic, characterized by distinct low-level cyclonic rotation and deep tropical humidity.[9] It remained well-defined while moving steadily westward for several days through the Cape Verde Islands, although at the time any notable convection occurred well to the southwest of its axis.[10] As the wave distanced itself from the islands, development of thunderstorms and showers in its proximity continued to remain scarce, and it became rather broad in appearance.[11] On August 19, the convective structure began to show signs of organization as the associated atmospheric pressure lowered, and with a progressively favorable environment situated ahead of the wave its chances of undergoing tropical cyclogenesis markedly increased.[12][13] The strong thunderstorm activity continued to become more pronounced around the main low-pressure feature. By August 20, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that tropical cyclone formation was imminent as the wave neared the Lesser Antilles,[14] and a reconnaissance aircraft confirmed the presence of a small surface circulation center just southwest of a burst of vigorous convection and unusually high sustained winds, indicating sufficient organization for the cyclone to be upgraded into Tropical Storm Irene at 23:00 UTC that day.[15]
Irene was positioned about 190 mi (305 km) east of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles when it was classified and named, along weakening high pressure over the west-central Atlantic, inducing a roughly west-northwestward path for most of its journey through the eastern Caribbean.[15] Its mid-level circulation continued to become better established as hints of pronounced banding features curved north of the surface center.[16] On August 21, the surface center reformed closer to the deepest convection; furthermore, an anticyclone aloft provided supportive outflow over the cyclone. With the improved structure, as well as light wind shear and high sea surface temperatures, Irene was forecast to strengthen to near hurricane force prior to landfall in Hispaniola.[17][18] Over the subsequent day (August 22), while passing near the island of Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands,[19] Irene traced toward Puerto Rico, more northward than initially expected, where it underwent a considerable increase in strength and organization.[20] Hours later, Irene moved ashore, approaching from the southeast at landfall near Punta Santiago, Humacao, Puerto Rico, with estimated sustained winds of 70 mph (110 km/h).[21] Despite the storm's interaction with land, radar imagery showed a ragged eye-like feature, and Doppler weather radar data indicated wind speeds in excess of hurricane force. Just after its initial landfall, Irene was accordingly upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, the first of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.[22]
Irene goe 201108 h264 sm xo.ogv
Play video
Loop showing Irene's progress as viewed from the GOES-EAST satellite
With the hurricane then situated just north of the mountainous coast of Hispaniola, the storm deepened little after reemerging over water, and any additional organization during the rest of the day was gradual.[23][24] After briefly weakening on August 23,[25] however, Irene began to develop a distinct eye encircled by an area of deepening convection the next morning. Moving erratically through the southeast Bahamas over very warm waters,[26] Irene quickly expanded as its outflow aloft became very well established; the cyclone intensified into a Category 3 major hurricane as it recurved toward the northwest along a weakness in the subtropical ridge.[27] The cyclone subsequently underwent a partial eyewall replacement cycle, which resulted in some reduction in its winds. Although a distinct eye redeveloped for a few hours, it obscured once again soon thereafter; Irene was unable to recover from the cycle, with no further significant intensification expected henceforth.[28]
Early on August 27, Irene further weakened to a Category 1 hurricane as it approached the Outer Banks of North Carolina.[29] At 7:30 am EDT (11:30 UTC) the same day, Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout, on North Carolina's Outer Banks, with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h).[30] After having tracked over land for about 10 hours, the eye of Irene became cloud-filled, although the center remained well-defined on radar images.[31] Later on August 27, Irene re-emerged into the Atlantic near the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.[32] Shortly before sunrise, at about 09:35 UTC on August 28, Irene made a second landfall at the Little Egg Inlet on the New Jersey shore with winds of 75 mph,[33] and soon after moved over water again. Hours later, Irene weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph just as it made a third U.S. landfall in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, in New York City, New York, about 9:00 am EDT (13:00 UTC) on August 28.[citation needed]
Following its August 28, New York landfall, Irene moved northeast over New England, becoming post-tropical over the state of Maine at 11:00 pm EDT (03:00 UTC August 29).[34] The extratropical cyclone continued northward into eastern Quebec, Canada,[35] then crossed the St. Lawrence River into Labrador before emerging into the Labrador Sea, late on August 29.[36]

[edit] Precautions

The eye of Irene as viewed from the International Space Station

[edit] Caribbean

The eye of Irene as viewed from the International Space Station

[edit] Caribbean

In response to the formation of Irene, tropical storm warnings were issued for all of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.[37] As Irene was forecast to make landfall on Hispaniola, a tropical storm watch was initially issued for the south coast of the Dominican Republic, though it was upgraded to a hurricane warning on August 21, after strengthening was forecast.[38] In light of the expected intensification to hurricane status, a tropical storm warning was also issued for the northern coast fire of that country, while a tropical storm watch was put in effect for all of Haiti; the tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico was simultaneously upgraded to a hurricane watch.[39] Later that day, all of the Dominican Republic was placed under a hurricane warning, with the tropical storm watch for Haiti upgraded to a warning and a tropical storm watch initiated for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.[40] As Irene's forecast track became justified, the latter watch was upgraded to a warning on August 22, while a hurricane watch was declared for the central Bahamas.[41]

[edit] United States

With Irene's projected path fixed over much of the United States East Coast, over 65 million people from the Carolinas to Cape Cod were estimated to be at risk.[42] Due to the threat, state officials, as well as utilities, transportation facilities, ports, industries, oil refineries, and nuclear power plants, promptly prepared to activate emergency plans; residents in the areas stocked up on food supplies and worked to secure homes, vehicles and boats.[43]
In advance of the storm, hundreds of thousands of people evacuated near coastal areas, and hundreds of shelters were prepared. Many gasoline stations in the region reported shortages due to the preparations for Irene.[52] Six Major League Baseball games and one National Football League preseason game were postponed.[53][54][55] The Barclays golf tournament was shortened[56] and three Major League Soccer games were postponed.[57]
Hurricane Irene shortly after landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina


Hurricane Irene shortly after landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina

[edit] Southeast

In South Carolina, Emergency Management was already on standby in Charleston and Dorchester counties for preparation of Irene. On August 23, preparations were also being made in Beaufort County as well. [58] Besides heavy rains and winds along Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, there were only minor effects in South Carolina.
In North Carolina, a mandatory evacuation order was issued on August 23, for Ocracoke, Carolina and Hyde County.[58][59] Governor Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency on August 25, with hurricane and tropical storm watches posted for the state; a mandatory evacuation was issued for Carteret County and for all tourists of Dare County, though the latter was extended to include all residents by the next day.[44][60][61] In addition, officials urged residents at the Bogue Banks to commence evacuations by 6 a.m. August 26, and tourists in Currituck County were advised to move inland.[60][62] Seymour Johnson Air Force Base planned to move jets to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana;[63] Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Marine Corps Air Station New River both evacuated their aircraft as well.[64] Progress Energy announced on August 26, it would have 800 more line workers and 250 tree cutters ready after Hurricane Irene.[65] As low-level atmospheric confluence within the outer bands developed near the coast, a tornado watch was issued from north-northeast of Cape Hatteras to southwest of Wilmington.[66]
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in preparation for any possible effects from the hurricane along coastlines. Authorities in the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Hampton, and Portsmouth issued voluntary and mandatory evacuations for low-lying and oceanfront areas.[67] The city of Poquoson ordered a mandatory evacuation for all of its citizens.[68] Public storm shelters were opened in most the cities, and officials also prepared school buildings to accommodate evacuees.[69] By August 25, dozens of vessels at the Norfolk and Newport News shipyards began to evacuate or prepare to weather the storm, including the carriers Enterprise, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Theodore Roosevelt,[70] and the construction site of the Gerald R. Ford. The United States Navy has ordered ships to halt their operations and clear the warning zone.[62] Fort Monroe Army base was evacuated on August 26; Langley Air Force Base followed suit the next day, save the essential personnel.[56][71]

[edit] Mid Atlantic

On August 25, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley declared a state of emergency in preparation for Irene.[72] The town of Ocean City initiated "phase one" of its contingency plan that same day, which includes a mandatory evacuation order for international workforce students.[73][74] Hours later, phase three of the plan was instituted; it ordered a mandatory evacuation scheduled to start at midnight August 25, for all residents, with the requirement that everyone be evacuated by 5 p.m. local time, August 26.[75] On August 26, Dorchester and Wicomico Counties declared states of emergency.[76][77] Certain geographic areas of Somerset and Wicomico Counties, along with all mobile homes in Wicomico County, had mandatory evacuation orders put in effect.[78][79] Public shelters were made available in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties.[80]
In Delaware, Governor Jack Markell ordered visitors to evacuate the Delaware beaches effective 6:00 pm on August 25. In addition, he declared a state of emergency; shelters were scheduled to open throughout the state on August 26.[46] The Cape May – Lewes Ferry across Delaware Bay also suspended service for late August 27, through August 28, in response to the pending arrival of the hurricane.[81] Toll operations on Delaware Route 1 were halted in order to optimize evacuation rates along highways. Transit services were expected to be shut down on August 27, and 28, while bridges over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and the Indian River were closed due to high wind.[82][83] A tornado watch was issued for Delaware in association with Irene at 10:40 a.m. August 27.[84]
In Washington, D.C., the forecast arrival of Hurricane Irene caused postponement of the planned August 28 dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.[85] In anticipation of the storm, thousands of sandbags were prepared for placement at flood-prone Washington Metro station entrances.[45] Amtrak service from Washington's Union Station southward was cancelled from August 26, until August 28,[44] and MARC commuter rail schedules were modified to cope with possible hurricane conditions.[citation needed]
In eastern Pennsylvania, given that August 2011, was the rainiest month in recorded history,[86] the ground was already saturated with water when the hurricane arrived. Accordingly, flash flood watches were in effect for major cities, including Philadelphia and Harrisburg.[citation needed] Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter expressed concern that there could be severe devastation in the city and surrounding areas,[citation needed] and Governor Tom Corbett declared a state of emergency for the city and the surrounding counties.[citation needed] The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority decided to halt all commuter rail service after midnight August 28.[56] On August 26, Philadelphia's mayor announced there would be no mandatory evacuations for the city, but urged residents to be prudent and to take action and leave should conditions warrant.[citation needed] Officials prepared to open three large shelters on the evening of August 27, capable of holding up to 6,000 people.[87] In Marcus Hook, along the Delaware River, the Sunoco oil refinery preemptively lowered its production rate by 25 percent, to 140,000 barrels per day.[88]
A restaurant boards up in preparation for Irene in Ocean City, New Jersey
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency on August 25,[89] with President Obama reaffirming the declaration by August 27.[90] New Jersey Transit rail, bus and light rail operations were suspended for Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28.[91] That same day, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey suspended incoming flights at the five metropolitan airports under its jurisdiction and the on Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) rapid transit system.[92][93] The Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G) opted to dispatch roughly 6,000 workers in case of power outages, with 840 lineman and 540 tree contractors.[52]
In Cape May County, New Jersey, mandatory evacuations were ordered for visitors on August 25, and for residents the next day. All Atlantic County shore communities east of Route 9—including Brigantine, Ventnor, Margate and Longport—were placed under a voluntary evacuation at 8 p.m. August 25, and the following day a mandatory evacuation effective starting 6 a.m.[94] All Atlantic City casino resorts shut down on August 26, as the city faced the first mandatory evacuation in history; the city only underwent a partial evacuation during Hurricane Gloria in 1985.[95] At an August 27, afternoon press conference, Christie stated that 90 percent of Cape May County residents had evacuated and announced plans to send buses to the Atlantic City region to urge remaining residents to leave the area.[96] At the same press conference, Christie stated that 1,500 National Guard troops had been deployed in New Jersey.[97]
In Ocean County, all of Long Beach Island was under mandatory evacuation starting at 8:00 a.m. on August 26, while evacuations of the Barnegat Peninsula barrier island to the north were simultaneously underway.[98] To relieve evacuation traffic, toll operations were temporarily suspended on the Garden State Parkway south of the Raritan River and on the Atlantic City Expressway.[69][99] The southbound lanes on the Garden State Parkway south of exit 98 were closed at 8 p.m. on August 26, while east-west bridges and arteries such as Route 70 and Route 72 would be closed to eastbound traffic.[100] That same day, traffic on New Jersey Route 55 south of Vineland,[101] New Jersey Route 47 and New Jersey Route 347 was only allowed to head north.[69]
Meteorologists noted the potential of up to 16 in (410 mm) of rain in some New Jersey locations. The Ramapo River floodgates were opened in an attempt to reduce flooding associated with the possible overflow of the river.[102]
Grand Central Terminal stands empty following shut down of the Metro-North Railroad.
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on August 26,[103] urging the Office of Emergency Management to prepare for a possible landfall or direct hit from Irene.[104] Accordingly, a mandatory evacuation order for low-lying areas of New York City was issued at 2:00 p.m. that day.[87][105] A day prior, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had announced that the city would prepare to create an "an enormous shelter system" for residents without access to higher ground.[106] President Barack Obama issued a state of emergency declaration for the New York metropolitan area, freeing federal disaster funds, and tasking the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief efforts.[107]
Cuomo ordered the deployment of 2,000 National Guard troops and oversaw their departure from the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, and stated that the Guard would assist police, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority in New York and Long Island.[97]
Possible rising seawater levels from storm surge and a predicted high tide led to a complete shutdown of the MTA, the nation's largest mass transit system. All subway, bus, and commuter rail service in New York City was halted[108] at noon on August 27.[56] The Staten Island University Hospital, Coney Island Hospital, New York University Hospitals Center, and the Veterans Administration Hospital[disambiguation needed] began evacuating patients on August 26;[56][69][87] sixteen nursing homes and adult care facilities were also evacuated.[69] The New York International Fringe Festival cancelled all performances for August 27, and 28, as did all Broadway shows for those days.[109] The United States Tennis Association cancelled special events planned for the 2011 US Open.[110]

[edit] New England

Southern Connecticut, along the Long Island Sound, had a hurricane warning in place as of August 27, while northern Connecticut had a tropical storm warning. Governor Dan Malloy declared a state of emergency[47] and the state's emergency operations center was fully activated. As of 11 a.m. on August 26, about 33,000 sandbags had been distributed to state residents.[citation needed]
In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency on August 26, activated 500 Massachusetts National Guard troops, and also planned to activate an additional 2,000 troops the following day in preparation for the storm.[111] In an unprecedented move, the MBTA suspended all metropolitan Boston transit at 8:00 a.m. on August 28.[112]
Vessels riding out the storm in Bedford Basin near Halifax, Nova Scotia
In Vermont, Governor Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency on August 27, in preparation for the hurricane's arrival.[50] In a joint statement, Vermont electric utilities announced that they planned to have extra staff on hand.[113] The National Weather Service stated that it anticipated 2–5 inches of rain on the Champlain Valley and western Vermont and 3–7 inches in the Green Mountains and eastern Vermont, with the risk of flooding near streams and rivers and an anticipated sustained wind speeds of 30–45 mph and gusts of up to 45–65 mph, causing significant tree damage and damage to power lines.[114]
In Maine, Governor Paul LePage declared a state of emergency on August 26, in preparation for the expected arrival of Hurricane Irene on August 28.[51] Canadian utility and line workers were dispatched to Maine to assist in reinforcing the state's electrical infrastructure.[51] Ten shelters were to be opened in Maine.[115]

[edit] Canada

Near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, numerous large local and ocean-going vessels anchored in Bedford Basin to ride out the storm.[citation needed]

[edit] Impact

Fatalities by area

[edit] Lesser Antilles

Following its path through the northeastern Caribbean, Irene spread tropical storm conditions across all of the Leeward Islands, causing overall little damage but flooding some low-lying areas.[118] To the south, strong thunderstorms and showers spread over Martinique, though most of the activity occurred prior to development into a tropical cyclone.[119] In spite of the center tracking just north of Guadeloupe's island Grande-Terre, the strongest effects were brought on by Irene's outer rainbands. Tropical-storm-force winds generated brief rough seas, with peak wave heights of no more than 18 ft (5.6 m). Accompanying intermittent torrents swept through much of the territory, but overall rainfall was moderate; precipitation totals of between 3.1 and 4.7 in (80 and 120 mm) fell in Basse-Terre during the event.[120] Due to the storm conditions, LIAT was forced to suspend all of its flights in Antigua for early August 22.[121]
Passing near the British Virgin Islands while strengthening, Irene brought gusty winds and heavy precipitation to the territory; however, resultant property damage was minimal.[122] A lightning strike over Necker Island sparked a large fire at one of business magnate Richard Branson's resort homes, but all of its guest occupants—including British actress Kate Winslet—were able to exit the area.[123] Prior to the storm's arrival in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands, authorities issued the closure of air- and seaports, as well as the preparation of public shelters. Irene crossed Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as a strong tropical storm on August 21, though relatively calm winds associated with the passage of its center were recorded over the island. To the north in Saint Thomas, storm conditions became progressively worse; sustained gale-force winds swept across the territory, with a gust of up to 68 mph (110 km/h) recorded at 21:20 UTC. Upon impact, the winds and inclement weather caused scattered power outages across all islands.[124] Wide-scale assessments confirmed light damage to public schools, mostly confined to debris and leaks.[125]

[edit] Greater Antilles

[edit] Puerto Rico

Hurricane Irene's rainfall across Puerto Rico
Across Puerto Rico, heavy rains caused extensive damage to roads while hurricane-force winds toppled many trees and utility poles, leaving more than 1 million residences without power.[126][127] President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency.[128] About 121,000 customers were cut off from potable water service at the height of the storm, and islandwide at least 771 people had to take shelter.[126][129] At higher elevations, winds estimated by radar neared 111 mph (178 km/h).[130] The highest amounts of precipitation fell across eastern parts of the territory; in Gurabo, a peak total of 22.04 in (560 mm) was recorded.[131] Several rivers burst their banks as a consequence of the rains, causing additional flooding.[127] The agricultural sector also suffered losses from the storm, particularly near the location of landfall. High winds uprooted crop plants, and several coffee and banana plantations sustained minor damage.[132] Of the plantations, the most affected were situated in Yabucoa and Maunabo, where severe flooding washed out copious amounts of banana crop.[133] The rains continued to fall for hours into the wake of the storm, prompting the issuance of flood watches.[134] In total, Irene affected over 1,500 people in Puerto Rico, and one driver was killed after their vehicle was caught in swollen currents.[135] Preliminary estimates indicate structural damage could be as high as $500 million (USD), with additional losses due to the three-day labor suspensions pinned at over $60.4 million (USD).[136]
Image of Irene showing storm clouds covering part of the Dominican Republic and all of Puerto Rico.
Offshore near Culebra Island, a sailboat was reported sunken due to rough seas prior to landfall in mainland Puerto Rico. Gale-force winds felled fences and shattered windows, with a flying object piercing through one residence. A total of 46 locals sought refuge to ride out the storm, but one family required post-storm shelter after the roof to their home was lost.[137] On the island of Vieques, similar sustained winds of 51 mph (85 km/h) were recorded, as well as some gusts of up to 71 mph (115 km/h).[138] Some power and telephone service cutoffs were reported, and the island's airport halted its operations.[139]

[edit] Hispaniola

Skirting barely north past Hispaniola, the large storm produced gales and prolonged precipitation in the Dominican Republic, displacing over 37,700 people and leaving at least 88 communities isolated in its wake.[140][141] Accompanying storm surge affected roughly 200 homes and prompted evacuations along the northern coastlines.[142] The strongest winds also occurred in northern Cibao, where they felled multiple trees and toppled utility poles. Swollen rivers, creeks, and streams caused widespread residential flooding and damage to roads; saturated soil in the region triggered mudslides, causing additional disruptions.[143] Despite its distance, Irene produced extreme rainfall in southern parts of the country that led to many secondary effects. Resultant floods combined with two overflown rivers swept through much of San Cristóbal, causing one bridge to collapse under the rushing waters.[144] The flooding produced at least two drown victims in that area, both later confirmed dead. Elsewhere, another fatality occurred in Cambita Garabitos, and six others were listed as missing.[145] Heavy rains also fell across La Altagracia Province, where one person in Higüey went missing and hundreds were evacuated. Most of the damage in the region occurred due to flooded rivers, with some agricultural losses reported.[146] The excess surface waters overwhelmed and damaged some 170 inlets.[147] In all, Irene affected at least 2,292 households according to preliminary reports, with 16 houses rendered beyond repair.[141] The associated monetary losses surmounted RD$1 billion (US$30 million) in the wake of the event.[148]
In northeastern Haiti, the prolonged precipitation overflowed rivers and produced surface floods and damaging landslides across multiple road sections.[149] About 500 residents in risk zones evacuated while some sought shelter, but only one of more than 160 evacuation sites required usage.[150] Rough surge produced high coastal flooding, with some reports of thousands of damaged homes. In the vicinity of Port-au-Prince, brisk winds blew down many refuge tents home to victims from the major January 12, 2010 earthquake.[151] Overall, officials indicated impact was less severe than initially feared; the storm only left isolated flood damage in its wake, particularly throughout northern parts of the country.[150] However, two people lost their lives after being caught in swollen rivers, and four others suffered injuries.[152]

[edit] Cuba

As Irene was tracking through the Bahamas, the outerbands of the storm dropped light rainfall in eastern Cuba. The cities of Moa and Sagua de Tánamo in Holguín Province reported 2.36 in (60 mm) of rain. However, the average rainfall throughout the Holguín Province did not exceed 0.20 in (5.1 mm).[153] Some damage occurred throughout Guantánamo Province, where rough surf and rains caused flooding in Baracoa. In addition, waves of 10 to 12 feet high were seen in Gibara, Holguín, on Wednesday 24th, when Irene's eye was located between Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bahamas, just 270 km northeast of the city. The strong waves, combined with high tide, caused a slight coastal flooding.[154]

[edit] Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas

Turks and Caicos: On August 24, Irene passed over the British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos Islands at Category 1 strength. The hurricane produced high winds that blew off roofs and downed power lines throughout the territory.[155] In Cockburn Town, residences reported loss of power, and light poles were toppled. Many homes on Grand Turk Island also reported a loss of electricity during Irene's passage, although structural damage in the area was limited.[156] The strongest of the rains and gusts occurred in Providenciales, where light wind damage was reported to roofs and resorts.[157] The Grand Turk cruise port also sustained some minor damage from the storm, but operations resumed three days after impact.[158]
Bahamas: A major hurricane, Irene trekked right through the Bahamas, with its eye making landfall on several of the islands.[44] A peak wind gust of about 140 mph (225 km/h) was recorded at the height of the storm, and localized heavy rains of up to 13 in (330 mm) fell in the area.[159] The extreme winds damaged at least 40 homes on Mayaguana Island, and dozens of homes on Acklins were completely obliterated.[62] On the latter island, the hurricane reportedly wiped out 90 percent of the Lovely Bay settlement.[160] Similar winds tore off the roof and shattered the windows out of a high school on Crooked Island, where wind gusts as high as 99 mph (159 km/h) were reported.[161] As well, a local church on the island partially collapsed due to the storm.[162] The worst of the destruction occurred in Cat Island, characterized by widespread shattered glass and torn houses. In all, the storm caused "millions of dollars" worth in structural damage on the island, and left many homeless.[163] Across New Providence and Grand Bahama, only limited impact occurred as Irene remained well offshore; businesses operations were scheduled to return to normal shortly after the storm.
Despite the overall extensive structural damage inflicted, there were no reports of fatalities on the islands in the wake of disaster.[162] According to local officials, Irene was the worst tropical cyclone to hit the Bahamas since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.[159]

[edit] United States

Map showing the swath of tropical storm and hurricane-force winds from Hurricane Irene
Gales from Irene affected much of the Eastern Seaboard, extending from Florida to New England and as far inland as Pennsylvania. The winds, combined with soil saturation due to the extreme amounts of precipitation, uprooted countless trees and power lines along the storm's path. Roughly 7.4 million homes and businesses lost electrical power, with approximately 3.3 million still without power as of Aug. 30, three days after landfall.[164] Coastal areas suffered extensive flood damage followings its potent storm surge, with additional freshwater flooding reported in many areas. The storm spawned scattered tornadoes, causing significant property damage as evidenced by destroyed homes. In the northeastern region, more than ten rivers measured record flood heights at their hydrographs.[165] Hundred-year flood conditions in rivers of at least six US states, while the Christian Science Monitor described flooding in Greene County, New York as five-hundred-year-flood conditions.[166] Throughout its path in the contiguous United States, Irene is estimated to have caused up to $7 billion (2011 USD) in damage and at least 45 deaths,[167][unreliable source?] with the death toll still reportedly rising as of August 30.[168]

[edit] Florida and South Carolina

Florida: Though Irene spared Florida from a direct hit, its outernmost rainbands produced squalls and intermittent torrents along the state's eastern coastlines. Brisk winds produced scattered power outages[169] and waves reaching as high as 12 ft (3.7 m);[169] rough surf in the Boynton Inlet injured at least eight people,[170] and two surfers were killed offshore Volusia County.[171] Elsewhere in Lantana, large waves sweeping over seawalls went on to destroy a lifeguard tower.[172] Localized beach erosion was also reported, although it was not significant.[169] Onshore, comparatively light winds brushed the state; the Lake Worth pier reporting a peak gust of 40 mph (65 km/h), with the Palm Beach International Airport recording winds of no more than 31 mph (50 km/h).[169] Precipitation in the area was also light, with a peak accumulation of 2.67 inches (68 mm) recorded at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.[173] Further north in Melbourne, rainfall from the storm totaled no more than 1.31 inches (33 mm) on August 24.[174]
South Carolina: Owing to its unusually large windfield, Irene affected long stretches of South Carolina coastlines with gusts and sporadic showers, even though it remained offshore. Gale-force winds picked up through the Lowcountry during the afternoon of August 26, with a gust of 55 mph (89 km/h) measured at a coastal marine observing site on Folly Island.[175] Scattered power outages left over 4,000 residences in the dark, mostly due to toppled utility poles.[176] The winds also felled trees and generated rough surf along Charleston County coastlines, and minor beach erosion was noted. Elsewhere in that county, a downed tree trapped several people in their vehicle, but they were all rescued.[175]

[edit] North Carolina

Wiki letter w cropped.svg
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Radar image of the storm at landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Irene over North Carolina on August 27
In North Carolina, tropical-storm-force winds began to affect the Outer Banks hours before landfall, producing waves of 6–9 ft (1.8–2.7 m).[177] In addition to the gales, Irene spawned several tornadoes early on August 27, while approaching the coast.[178][179] No regular weather station or buoy, however, measured sustained hurricane-force winds from the storm, with the highest winds officially recorded at 67 mph (107 km/h) by a buoy near Cape Lookout.[180] Precipitation totals from Irene in the region were particularly high, ranging between 10–14 inches (250–360 mm); Bunyan recorded a peak amount of approximately 14 inches (360 mm).[32]
The large hurricane left extensive damage in its wake and there were reports that tornadoes may have leveled homes and overturned vehicles.[181] Following the touch down of a potent tornado, at least four homes were demolished in Columbia, while up to three others sustained significant damage.[182] Preliminary assessment indicated multiple flooded areas and uprooted trees along coastlines;[181] in Nash County, a snatched tree limb struck and killed one person.[183] Prior to the storm, a resident in Onslow County suffered a fatal heart attack while installing plywood to their home.[184] Two people in Pitt and Sampson Counties were additionally killed by falling trees, as were two others in Goldsboro and Pitt County in traffic accidents. A man also drowned in the flooded Cape Fear River.[167]

[edit] Mid-Atlantic states

A Lexus RX450h damaged by a fallen tree in Washington, D.C.
Hurricane Irene caused widespread power outages in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.[185][186][187]
A tornado moved through the Sandbridge community in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in the morning hours of August 27, ripping the roofs off at least five homes and damaging several others.[188] High winds in Newport News, Virginia, knocked a tree into an apartment complex, killing an 11-year-old boy lying in bed with his mother.[189][190] Three other Virginians in Brunswick, Chesterfield and King William Counties were also killed by falling trees.[167] Most severe damage consists of many downed trees on power lines, cars, homes, and roads; and flooding in many low-lying roads and neighborhoods – 1.2 million homes and businesses lost power due to Irene.[191]
Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge, Maryland was evacuated after there was wind and water damage to the laboratory roof.[192] In Queen Anne's County, Maryland, an 85-year old woman was killed when a tree fell onto her house causing the chimney to collapse.[193] Farm fields on the Eastern Shore of Maryland were saturated with water after the storm, causing farmers to hand-pick their crops. Some tomato, corn, and cantaloupe crops were destroyed.[194]
Two 25-year-old men were killed in the Hockessin, Delaware area in an apparent drowning after attempting to run home through the storm on Saturday night. Their bodies were recovered near Wilmington on Monday afternoon.[195] An F-1 tornado touched down in Lewes, Delaware, at 6:38 p.m., causing a path of destruction 80 yards wide and 3/4 mile long, damaging about 50 homes and destroying one.[196] Heavy rains throughout the state were topped at 10.43 inches in Ellendale, Delaware.[197]
Five people were killed in Pennsylvania: three died as a result of fallen trees, one was killed in a traffic accident, and a woman was swept away by flooding in the Wissahickon Creek.[167] In Philadelphia, the storm left thousands without power. More than 400 trees fell in Philadelphia, seven buildings collapsed and twenty roads were closed. PECO worked on restoring power by mid-week.[198]

[edit] New Jersey

The Raritan River on August 29, 2011 one day after Hurricane Irene landfall, New Brunswick, NJ.
The Raritan River on August 29, 2011 one day after Hurricane Irene landfall, New Brunswick, NJ.
In New Jersey, the northern part of the state bore the brunt of the storm, where flooding was widespread.[199] While the storm made landfall next to Little Egg Harbor on the southern Jersey shore, the lower half of the state received little damage and flooding.[200] Floods in Cumberland County were the extent of the damage in the southern part of the state, particularly in Bridgeton, which received damage to infrastructure in a storm a week earlier.[201] At the Trenton Train Station along Assunpink Creek, flooding impacted Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, SEPTA's Trenton Line, and New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor Rail Line. Engineers reported that the service disruption could last a week.[202] However, service was restored to and through Trenton on August 31st, barring a few exceptions. Severe river flooding occurred, including Raritan, Millstone, Rockaway, Rahway, Delaware[203] and Passaic due to record rainfall.[204] Highest rainfall recorded in the state was in Freehold (11.27 inches (286 mm)), followed by Jefferson (10.54 inches (268 mm)) and Wayne (10 inches (250 mm)).[205]
The flooding affected roads, including the heavily used Interstate 287 in Boonton where the northbound shoulder collapsed from the force of the Rockaway River.[206] Six deaths occurred in New Jersey including a medical rescue squad worker who was swept away in flood waters and was pulled from the water early Sunday in Princeton Township.[207] All of these deaths occurred due to inland flooding.[167]
Two days after the storm passed over half a million residents in the state were without power down from a peak of about 928,000 on August 28.[208] Flooding in some parts of the state continued for another three days.[209][210] On August 29, the governor asked that President Obama expediate the release of emergency funds to the state. The President later announced he would tour Paterson to view damage to the area.[211][212] The city, on August 31, still counted 6,000 displaced persons. Three of four bridges crossing the Passaic remained closed.[213] Touring the state on August 31 with and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared "This is as bad as I’ve seen, and I’ve been in eight states that have been impacted by Irene." The president the same day declared the state a disaster area.[214]

[edit] New York

Flooding in Staten Island (time lapse) due to Hurricane Irene.ogv
Play video
Time lapsed video of flood waters on Staten Island, New York City, New York (7:07–8:52 EST)
In New York City, the Hudson River flooded, starting at approximately 8:50 a.m., into Zone B as well as Zone A, mostly in the Meatpacking District along the Hudson River in Manhattan. At 9:15, the northern end of the Holland Tunnel closed.[citation needed] As of 9:20, the flooding was at about a foot deep.[where?] Water rose over portions of the Hudson Line north of New York City, and the tracks were blocked by mudslides in several places.[citation needed] Flooding of the Ramapo River has led both Metro-North and NJ Transit to suspend service on the Port Jervis Line north of Suffern indefinitely; the line was later found to have more than a half-mile (1 km) of washouts.[215] After touring the damaged area, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Jay Walder told the media the damage could take months to repair.[216]
One man drowned at a marina in City Island in the Bronx, New York City while checking on his boat during the storm,[167][217] while just north of New York City, one person was killed when an inflatable boat capsized on the Croton River. Another fatality occurred on the south shore of Long Island, when a windsurfer drowned in Bellport Bay. In Spring Valley, a man suffered electrocution from downed wires. A woman drowned in a flooded creek while evacuating her home in New Scotland, just southwest of the capital Albany.[167] Three days after the hurricane, the body of a New Jersey man who had driven past roadblocks through a flooded area of Tuxedo, New York was found.[218]
Two sets of railroad tracks twisted and tilted, with some woody debris on and around them
Damage to the Port Jervis Line
Extensive power outages occurred in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, on Long Island. Almost 350,000 homes and businesses were without electricity, mainly due to heavy winds knocking down trees, which in turn knocked out many power lines. Many Long Island residents expressed frustration that it took days for LIPA to restore power.[219]
Disastrous flash floods occurred in the northwestern Catskill Mountains, particularly in the town of Margaretville.[220] An elderly woman drowned in creek flooding at Fleischmanns, also in the Catskills.[167] Record flooding along the Schoharie Creek, was reported to have destroyed the Old Blenheim Bridge, a 156-year-old covered bridge that had been designated a National Historic Landmark.[221] Prattsville's Main Street has been described as "a total loss" by its town supervisor.[222] Residents of the area around Frost Valley YMCA in the Ulster County town of Shandaken were stranded when washouts, including one that created a 50-foot–deep (15 m) ravine, cut off the road through the area in both directions.[223] The electricity utility, NYSEG, estimates that most residents of Shandaken (about 2,000 customers) will be without power until September 7, 2011.[224]
Irene also did significant damage in the Adirondack Mountains, farther upstate. A section of NY 73 was washed out, isolating the hamlets of Keene and St. Huberts in the High Peaks region of Essex County.[225] The state's Department of Environmental Conservation reported that "landslides too numerous to count" had taken place on many of the High Peaks themselves, all of which are located on state Forest Preserve land. It closed the Dix and Giant wilderness areas and the eastern zone of the High Peaks Wilderness Area to the public due to the threat of additional landslides and damage to trail infrastructure.[226]

[edit] Connecticut

Storm surge from Hurricane Irene in Greenwich, Connecticut
In Connecticut, there was flooding along the shore of Long Island Sound.[227] On Sunday, Connecticut's two main electric companies, Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating, reported that a record 754,000 customers, about half the state, were without power. More than two days after the storm made landfall, about 400,000 people were still without power, some being told they would have to wait more than a week, especially in heavily wooded areas. In Ridgefield, 90% of houses lost power, requiring the utility to turn off power to the other 10% to ease restoration efforts.[228][229] Route 15, one of the state's main highways, was closed from the New York state line to I-91 in Meriden due to fallen trees.[230] As Hurricane Irene worked its way up the East Coast, Connecticut's governor said Hurricane Irene was responsible for a 10th death Sunday: a man who died in a fire likely caused by downed wires from high winds.[231] An elderly woman, who resided in Prospect, died in similar situations, when a falling tree caused power lines to collapse onto her home, starting a fire;[167] her husband is in critical condition in Bridgeport Hospital.[232] In Bristol, a man drowned when his canoe capsized.[167]

[edit] Massachusetts

Two trees toppled by Irene in coastal Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, damage was greatest in the hill towns and Western Massachusetts as the eye of the storm tracked westward, toward Albany, New York.[citation needed] High winds toppled trees and heavy rain caused widespread flooding of Connecticut River tributaries. The Westfield River rose almost twenty feet in a matter of hours; the Deerfield rose over fifteen feet in the same period. Both rivers reached flood stages not seen since the 1955, and 1938, hurricanes and floods.[citation needed] A public works employee was electrocuted by downed power lines in Southbridge.[167] A dam failure was mistakenly reported in East Becket, yet 200 people were evacuated as a precaution.[233]

[edit] Rhode Island

Rhode Island had gusts of wind up to 71 miles per hour,[234] uprooting trees and causing extensive damage to its power grid. By the storm's end, an estimated 256,000 out of 480,281 customers were without power.[235] Rhode Island electric company, National Grid, expects it to take well into Labor Day weekend to restore power to the most remote areas and areas which were most damaged. As of Tuesday morning, about 138,000 customers remain without power.[236] The storm surge into Narragansett Bay caused some coastal damage, although Providence, at the head of the bay, was spared downtown flooding in part due to its hurricane barrier. There was some localized river flooding,[237] however being on the eastern side of the storm, most of the damage came in the form of wind.

[edit] Vermont

Almost every river and stream in Vermont flooded, resulting in at least three deaths and one missing.[167][238][239] In Wilmington, the flood level of the Deerfield River east branch reportedly exceeded levels measured during the 1938 New England hurricane.[240] Throughout Vermont, numerous covered bridges, many over 100 years old, were damaged or destroyed.[241] Extensive road damage resulted in the isolation of nearly a dozen rural towns that would require helicopter air-lifts of necessities in the days immediately following the storm.[242]

[edit] Other States

New Hampshire and Maine: In New Hampshire one man died in Wolfeboro after a tree fell on him. In Maine two people died from Carbon Monoxide from a backup generator in Raymond, Maine. [167]

[edit] Canada

On August 28, in Quebec, high winds and heavy rain from post-tropical storm Irene knocked out power to 250,000 homes, felled tree branches, and damaged some buildings and traffic lights in Montreal. One person was killed after a road was washed out and cars were swept into the Yamaska River near Sorel-Tracy; another section of road in Charlevoix was also washed out, and flooding forced evacuations in Estrie.[243][244][245]
The storm then tracked up the St. Lawrence River Valley in southeastern Quebec through the night of August 28, crossing the St. Lawrence River into Labrador.[35][36] From Late August 29, to late August 30, Irene's remnants left Canada, and emerged into the Labrador Sea.

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