Hurricane Irene Heads for East Coast

Hurricane Irene Over the Bahamas (NOAA)

Hurricane Irene is headed towards the east coast of the United States. The latest prediction I heard is that it will hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where an evacuation is already underway, on Saturday. From there models show it could impact the entire mid-Atlantic area, on up to New York City and possibly into New England.

Earlier today AccuWeather reported:

Hurricane Irene is now on a path that could take it dangerously close to, if not over, the mid-Atlantic coastline and New York City on Sunday, posing a serious danger to millions of people.

Irene could be “once-in-50-year” hurricane for the Northeast. …

Damaging tropical storm-force winds (winds between 40 and 70 mph) will extend 150 miles westward and nearly 250 miles eastward from Irene’s center.

These winds will likely reach Richmond, Va., Baltimore, Md., Philadelphia, Pa., Albany, N.Y., and nearly all of New England, threatening to cause significant tree damage and power outages.

The winds will have no trouble downing trees where recent flooding and record rainfall has saturated the ground in areas such as Philadelphia and New York City. …

Philadelphia is bracing for heavy rain and wind from late Saturday evening through Sunday, and Mayor Nutter is urging those who live near water to evacuate. New Jersey has already declared a state of emergency, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering evacuating coastal areas.

The storm is having an impact on the schedule of Major League Baseball, the Phillies were the first to reschedule a game. Sunday’s game against the Florida Marlins will be played Saturday afternoon, in a double header with the already scheduled game to be played later in the evening.

I’m especially worried about this storm because my children went away with their grandparents for a few days – they arrived in the Philadelphia area today, and will be going to the Phillies game Saturday evening. Which means there is no way they will be out of there before the storm hits on Sunday. This is the first time they’ve gone away without us. Regardless, I’d be hoping for the storm to lose some steam as it moves along, but this hits pretty close to home, even though we’ll probably only get some rain here. So much for a few days of relaxation.

Addendum: This post at PJM, referencing this post at Weather Underground, kind of, sort of, makes me feel better about my kids. Then again, it’s not looking good for those on the coast. Time for prayers.

Also, it was just announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just declared a state of emergency.

(Photo source)