Hurricane Irene makes landfall in North Carolina, killing 3August 27th, 2011 - 6:54 pm ICT by BNO News
MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — The center of Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina on early Saturday morning, forecasters said. Three storm-related fatalities have so far been reported.
Irene made landfall at about 7.30 a.m. local time near Cape Lookout on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina with maximum sustained winds around 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour, and higher gusts. Despite its interaction with land, Irene maintained its strength as it moves towards the north-northeast.
As of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), the center of Irene was located about 45 miles (70 kilometers) west-northwest of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. “Irene should continue to move north-northeastward between a mid-level ridge over the east-central Atlantic and a trough passing over the Great Lakes Region,” said Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
“Irene is forecast to gradually weaken as it moves along the East Coast of the United States due to land interaction, dry air entrainment, and increasing southwesterly shear,” Brown said. Irene is expected to approach New York on early Sunday morning, and Maine by SUnday evening.
“If the center of Irene moves more over land than forecast during the next 12 to 24 hours, it could be slightly weaker than predicted,” Brown said. “Whether Irene is a strong tropical storm or hurricane over New England will make little difference in the expected impacts of damaging winds, a dangerous storm surge, and flooding rains.”
As of Saturday afternoon, officials in North Carolina reported that three storm-related fatalities had been reported in the state. One person died on Friday evening of a heart attack as he was trying to board up his home. Two others were killed on Saturday, one in a road accident and another when a tree crushed him to death.
More than 160,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina, and that number is expected to increase throughout Saturday as the storm moves through. “Today the threat is wind, rain and storm surge. Tomorrow and Monday we have potential for flooding along some of our inland rivers,” said North Carolina governor Bev Perdue.
In North Carolina, 81 shelters are open in 29 counties housing approximately 7,500 evacuees. Many others have evacuated and went to friends or family.
In Virginia, Norfolk Fire-Rescue swimmers rescued two people and a cat after their 30-foot (9-meter) sailing vessel ran aground off Ocean View Beach. There were no injuries.
In preparation for the storm, U.S. President Barack Obama previously signed emergency declarations for North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maryland.
Irene is the ninth named storm and the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. It was followed by Tropical Depression Ten which remains active in the far eastern Atlantic, but poses no threat to land.
According to figures released earlier this month, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 14 to 19 named storms, with seven to ten becoming hurricanes and three to five expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).
An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.
- Hurricane Irene weakens slightly as it marches toward North Carolina - Aug 26, 2011
- Insured losses in the Carolinas estimated between $200-$400 million - Aug 28, 2011
- More than 800,000 without power as Hurricane Irene slams Puerto Rico - Aug 22, 2011
- Tropical depression forms in the western Caribbean Sea, heads for Honduras - Aug 19, 2011
- Tropical Storm Katia forms in the far eastern Atlantic, set to become major hurricane - Aug 30, 2011
- Tropical depression forms in the far eastern Atlantic, may threaten the Caribbean - Aug 29, 2011
- Tropical Depression Seven forms in the eastern Atlantic, set to become hurricane - Aug 25, 2010
- Tropical Storm Jose passes west of Bermuda - Aug 29, 2011
- Dry air could prevent Tropical Storm Katia from strengthening - Aug 31, 2011
- Hurricane Katia strengthens into a major category four hurricane - Sep 06, 2011
- Bermuda on alert as Hurricane Leslie approaches - Sep 07, 2012
- Tropical Storm Emily forms in the Caribbean, heads for the Dominican Republic - Aug 02, 2011
- Tropical Depression Nine forms in the Atlantic, expected to strengthen - Sep 01, 2010
- Category four hurricane Hilary could threaten Baja California - Sep 24, 2011
- New depression prompts tropical storm warnings in the Caribbean - Aug 21, 2012
Tags: bno, cape lookout area, circulation, diameter, exact point, forecasters, gusts, hurricane irene, intensity, kilometers per hour, landfall, maximum sustained winds, morehead city nc, national hurricane center, north carolina, saturday morning, simpson scale, south coast, vicinity