Here is the AccuWeather radar image of Irene at 9:40pm CDT. I have marked the position of the eye and its direction of movement. Sustained winds are now 100 mph. Since the storm will be well below the Cat. 4 intensity I talked about yesterday, there should be little wind-related structural damage. To be clear, I am saying your awning or carport may suffer heavy damage but your home or business should not sustain heavy wind damage if the windows are boarded up (if the glass breaks and a pressure differential occurs, all bets are off) and away from trees (there will be many toppled trees in NC and southeast Virginia).
There will be structural damage to buildings that experience the storm surge.
Irene has weakened a little more which means she should be a borderline hurricane when she reaches NYC-Long Island. Before anyone rejoices too much, there is a problem: She has slowed. This means the rainfall forecast has increased along with the threat of major river flooding.
What are the hazards I have emphasized for New England - New York on this blog?
- Geographically wide and thus extended power outages
- Uprooted trees
- Glass breakage in downtown areas of high-rise buildings
All of those except, perhaps, the glass breakage are still in play. Since the wind speed will be less but the duration will be longer I don't know whether that nets out or not. For residences and low-rise businesses, windows should be boarded up or hurricane shutters closed.
A longer duration of the wind means more piling up of downwind water so the storm surge forecast should be about the same.
River flooding is a major threat.