Entries in Irene (3)


Hurricane Irene: New York City Direct Hit?

NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response(NEW YORK) -- Philadelphia, Boston and New York are some of the largest metro areas in the United States, and Hurricane Irene is heading their way.

Thursday night, many of the forecast models show the center of the storm blowing straight through New York City.

There are dozens of models that are changing all the time, but Thursday morning, one had the Big Apple and its 19 million people taking a direct hit. The model showed the center of the storm going up Fifth Avenue past the iconic lions of the New York Public Library and then up the west side of Central Park.

So is a city like New York that has seen only five hurricanes since 1851 ready for a storm like Irene?

Experts say the skyscrapers are built to withstand hurricane-force wind, but it is the flooding that is the real problem.

In the major hurricane of 1821, all of lower Manhattan was under 13 feet of water.

Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out and said he was activating a command center, positioning boats and helicopters to rescue the stranded and preparing to shut down one of the the largest subway systems in the world if needed.

"We hope for the best, but we prepare for the worst," said Bloomberg. "That's why this city is, I think, ready for this weekend."

But critics say in the unlikely event that the city had to order major evacuations, the plans are not sufficient.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, says he is worried that New Yorkers themselves, many of whom live in high-rises and many of whom have never experienced a hurricane, are not ready either.

Redlener recommends that everyone in the path of the storm make sure to have enough food, water and medicine to last at least three days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene: Could Be Category 4 by Thursday

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Hurricane Irene's fury is growing, and the National Hurricane Center warned Wednesday that the storm could be upgraded from its current level of Category 3 to a more ominous Category 4 by Thursday.

The core of the hurricane is expected to move across the southeastern and central Bahamas Wednesday night, with maximum winds near 120 mph.

As the storm clears the island and continues over the warm water of the Atlantic, its wind speed is expected to strengthen and the size of the storm could increase, the Hurricane Center predicted.

"Warm water is essentially like their fuel. It helps them strengthen and it's got plenty of that ahead of it, at least in the next few days," said John Cangialosi, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

The threshold for a category 4 is wind speeds of at least 131 mph.

Forecasters predict Irene could hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Saturday, move up to the mid-Atlantic region including Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey late Saturday or early Sunday, and hit New England late Sunday.

The storm is shaping up to be the most powerful hurricane to strike the East Coast in years and thousands of people in Ocracoke Island, N.C., have been ordered to evacuate as the storm bore down on the fragile islands of North Carolina's Outer Banks. The island is reachable only by ferry.

Cangialosi also said that hurricanes fluctuate in strength and size, so two days of strengthening could be followed by weakening as the storm moves north.

"It loses strength considerably when it tracks over cooler water," he said. "For the next couple of days, the general theme is that it will probably continue to strengthen."

An updated bulletin from the National Hurricane Center said that the "extremely dangerous" storm will raise water levels by as much as seven to eleven feet above normal tide levels in the Bahamas, potentially causing "life-threatening flash floods and mud slides in areas of steep terrain" as well as "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."

Hurricane Irene went from a Category 2 to Category 3 from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning after ripping street signs out of the ground in the Turks and Caicos and destroying buildings in the Dominican Republic.

Craig Fugate, the manager of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, urged those from the Mid-Atlantic region to New England to start preparing now for the possibility of the hurricane's landfall.

Fugate referenced Tuesday's surprise 5.8 magnitude earthquake to urge those living in the Northeast to prepare.

"It's again a reminder that we don't always get to pick the next disaster," Fugate said. "We know this hurricane is coming this way. We just don't know where it's going to hit or how bad it will get. So take time now to get ready."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Warnings Issued for Tropical Storm Irene

Hemera Technologies/ -- Hurricane warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as tropical storm Irene spirals closer Sunday.

Irene has already battered the Leeward Islands. National Hurricane Center forecaster Todd Kimberlain says the storm is expected to turn around in a few days and move towards Florida.

"It could lie anywhere west of Florida to all the way east of Florida, so at this point in time what we are telling residents of Florida to definitely be paying attention," Kimberlain says.

The storm is expected to pass close to Puerto Rico Sunday night or early Monday, and then move on to the Dominican Republic. Forecasters believe it will gain strength over the next day and reach hurricane status.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio