Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Irene Pounds the Bahamas
Hurricane Irene pounds the Bahamas with 120MPH winds. Image source: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/avn-l.jpg
Hurricane Irene is strengthening as it crosses the Bahamas. The NHC reports that maximum sustained winds are now up to 120MPH, and it is possible that Irene will become a Category 4 hurricane, with winds exceeding 130MPH, according to the NHC.
SURGEDAT has identified 5 storm surge events in the Bahamas since 1880. Hurricane Andrew (1992) produced the highest surge in our database, a 4.88 m (16 ft) surge on Lower Bogue. Andrew was a Category 5 storm, packing winds as high as 172 MPH as it approached the Bahamas. (data source: http://www.weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/1992/index.html)
Irene is beginning to elevate sea levels along the East Coast of Florida and the Florida Keys. As of this afternoon, sea levels were about one-half foot above normal at Lake Worth Pier and over one foot above normal at times on Vaca Key, according to NOAA Tides and Currents.