As many of you should know, we were hit by a pretty nasty hurricane August 27th 2011, Hurricane Irene.
The National Weather Service retires names of devastating storms that cause a certain amount of damage and take a lot of lives, and Hurricane Irene was one of those storms, this means the name Irene will never be used again
Damage in the United States is estimated $15.6 billion, for a total of at least $18.7 billion along its path through the Caribbean with a total of 56 lives lost in the storm.
It hit our area as a Category 1 hurricane with 8-12 inches of rainfall and winds of 50-80 mph, which lead to power outages, major flooding throught the region
Irene as a category 3 hurricane getting ready to turn up the coast
Irenes fury over the Mid Atlantic and NE US
All information on the storm below is from Wikipedia:
“With Irene’s projected path fixed over much of the United States East Coast, over 65 million people from the Carolinas to Cape Cod were estimated to be at risk. Due to the threat, state officials, as well as utilities, transportation facilities, ports, industries, oil refineries, and nuclear power plants, promptly prepared to activate emergency plans; residents in the areas stocked up on food supplies and worked to secure homes, vehicles and boats.“
“States of emergency and hurricane warnings were declared for much of the East Coast, including North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
In advance of the storm, hundreds of thousands of people evacuated near coastal areas, and hundreds of shelters were prepared. Many gasoline stations in the region reported shortages due to the preparations for Irene. Six Major League Baseball games were postponed or moved to August 27 in doubleheaders, and one National Football League preseason game was postponed. The Barclays golf tournament was shortened and three Major League Soccer games were postponed.“
Gales from Irene affected nearly all of the Eastern Seaboard, extending from Florida to New England and as far inland as central New York and central Pennsylvania, affecting all of part of 17 states and the District of Columbia. The winds, combined with soil saturation due to the extreme amounts of precipitation, uprooted countless trees and power lines along the storm’s path. Roughly 7.4 million homes and businesses lost electrical power, with approximately 3.3 million still without power as of August 30, three days after landfall. Coastal areas suffered extensive flood damage followings its potent storm surge, with additional freshwater flooding reported in many areas. The storm spawned scattered tornadoes, causing significant property damage as evidenced by destroyed homes. In the northeastern region, more than ten rivers measured record flood heights at their hydrographs. Rivers in at least six Northeastern states reached hundred-year flood levels, while the Christian Science Monitor described flooding in Greene County, New York, as five-hundred-year-flood conditions. Flooding in Schoharie County, New York was also reported by the National Weather Service in Albany, New York as five-hundred-year-flood conditions. Throughout its path in the contiguous United States, Irene is estimated to have caused over $7 billion (2011 USD) in damage and at least 47 deaths. “
“Though Irene spared Florida from a direct hit, its outernmost rainbands produced squalls and intermittent torrents along the state’s eastern coastlines. Brisk winds produced scattered power outages[not in citation given] and waves reaching as high as 12 ft (3.7 m); rough surf in the Boynton Inlet injured at least eight people, and two surfers were killed offshore Volusia County. Elsewhere in Lantana, large waves sweeping over seawalls went on to destroy a lifeguard tower. Localized beach erosion was also reported, although it was not significant. Onshore, comparatively light winds brushed the state; the Lake Worth pier reporting a peak gust of 40 mph (65 km/h), with the Palm Beach International Airport recording winds of no more than 31 mph (50 km/h). Precipitation in the area was also light, with a peak accumulation of 2.67 inches (68 mm) recorded at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Further north in Melbourne, rainfall from the storm totaled no more than 1.31 inches (33 mm) on August 24.“
- South Carolina
“Owing to its unusually large windfield, Irene affected long stretches of South Carolina coastlines with gusts and sporadic heavy showers, even though it remained offshore. Gale-force winds picked up through the Lowcountry during the afternoon of August 26, with a gust of 55 mph (89 km/h) measured at a coastal marine observing site on Folly Island. Scattered power outages left over 4,000 residences in the dark, mostly due to toppled utility poles. The winds also felled trees and generated rough surf along Charleston County coastlines, and minor beach erosion was noted. Elsewhere in that county, a downed tree trapped several people in their vehicle, but they were all rescued. “
- North Carolina
“Tropical-storm-force winds began to affect the Outer Banks hours before landfall, producing waves of 6–9 ft (1.8–2.7 m). In addition to the gales, Irene spawned several tornadoes early on August 27, while approaching the coast. No regular weather station or buoy, however, measured sustained hurricane-force winds from the storm, with the highest winds officially recorded at 67 mph (107 km/h) by a buoy near Cape Lookout. Precipitation totals from Irene in the region were particularly high, ranging between 10–14 inches (250–360 mm); Bunyan recorded a peak amount of approximately 14 inches (360 mm).
The large hurricane left extensive damage in its wake and there were reports that tornadoes may have leveled homes and overturned vehicles. Following the touch down of a potent tornado, at least four homes were demolished in Columbia, while up to three others sustained significant damage. Preliminary assessment indicated multiple flooded areas and uprooted trees along coastlines; in Nash County, a snatched tree limb struck and killed one person. Prior to the storm, a resident in Onslow County suffered a fatal heart attack while applying plywood to his house. Two people in Pitt and Sampson Counties were additionally killed by falling trees, as were two others in Goldsboro and Pitt County in traffic accidents. A man also drowned in the flooded Cape Fear River. In all, over 1,100 homes were destroyed. The estimated $71 million in damage did not include agricultural losses.
Hurricane Irene cut several breaches across North Carolina Highway 12 on Hatteras Island, isolating the island from the rest of the Outer Banks. Several of the smaller breaches were filled in with sand, but the largest, which is 200 feet (61 m) wide, was left open. As a result, the only way to access Hatteras Island was by ferry. On October 10, 2011, a temporary 662-foot (202 m) long bridge opened over the breach. The bridge could be in place for more than 10 years while other solutions are thought out.
The path of the hurricane was thought by many to be the worst case scenario for the North Carolina Outer Banks passing East of the Outer Banks over the Pamlico Sound. The storm winds pushed the water rushing into the sound in the form of rainfall back up the rivers feeding the sound and when the hurricane passed the water rushed back out causing historic flooding along the Outer Banks in particular in the towns of Waves, Rodanthe and Salvo. The flood caused major damage to the area that can still be seen in Mirlo Beach at the north end of Rodanthe. Flood waters exceeded seven feet in many locations and destroyed many houses and businesses.”
“A tornado moved through the Sandbridge community in Virginia Beach, in the morning hours of August 27, ripping the roofs off at least five homes and damaging several others. High winds in Newport News, knocked a tree into an apartment complex, killing an 11-year-old boy lying in bed with his mother. Three other Virginians in Brunswick, Chesterfield and King William Counties were also killed by falling trees. Most severe damage consists of many downed trees on power lines, cars, homes, and roads; and flooding in many low-lying roads and neighborhoods – 1.2 million homes and businesses lost power due to Irene.“
 Mid-Atlantic states
“Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge was evacuated after there was wind and water damage to the laboratory roof. In Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, an 85-year old woman was killed when a tree fell onto her house causing the chimney to collapse. Farm fields on the Eastern Shore of Maryland were saturated with water after the storm, causing farmers to hand-pick their crops. Some tomato, corn, and cantaloupe crops were destroyed.“
“Two 25-year-old men were killed in the Hockessin area in an apparent drowning after attempting to run home through the storm on Saturday night. Their bodies were recovered near Wilmington on Monday afternoon. An EF1 tornado touched down in Lewes, at 6:38 p.m., causing a path of destruction 80 yards wide and 3/4 of a mile long, damaging about 50 homes and destroying one. Heavy rains throughout the state were topped at 10.43 inches (265 mm) in Ellendale.“
“Five people were killed in Pennsylvania: three died as a result of fallen trees, one was killed in a traffic accident, and a woman was swept away by flooding in the Wissahickon Creek. In Philadelphia, the storm left thousands without power. More than 400 trees fell in Philadelphia, seven buildings collapsed and twenty roads were closed. PECO worked on restoring power by mid-week.“
North Jersey, and Central Jersey, where flooding was widespread, experienced significant damage. While the storm made landfall next to Little Egg Harbor on the southern Jersey shore, South Jersey received little damage and flooding. Floods in Cumberland County were the extent of the damage in the southern part of the state. Severe river flooding occurred due to record rainfall. The highest rainfall recorded in the state was in Freehold (11.27 inches (286 mm)). Record flows were reported at the Musconetcong River in the rural northwest. Eleven reached record levels, and a week after the storm all rivers in the state remained at “moderate flooding level”. The flooding affected roads, including the heavily used Interstate 287 and Garden State Parkway. Along the Hudson River, in parts of Jersey City and Hoboken flood waters rose as much as 5 feet. and the north tube of the Holland Tunnel was briefly closed. At the Trenton Train Station along Assunpink Creek, flooding impacted Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, SEPTA’s Trenton Line, and New Jersey Transit’s (NJT) Northeast Corridor Rail Line. Service was restored to and through Trenton on August 31, barring a few exceptions. According to Executive Director Jim Weinstein Irene cost NJT just under $10 million in lost revenue and damaged infrastructure. The agency was criticized for the system being closed the entire day after the storm. The storm killed seven people in the state, and damage was estimated at around $1 billion.
In addition to major flooding, the combination of already heavily saturated ground from a wet summer, and heavy wind gusts made New Jersey especially vulnerable to wind damage. One of the hardest hit areas due to high winds was Union County. Fallen trees blocked vital roads, including portions of New Jersey Route 28 and U.S. Route 22. Numerous homes suffered structural damages from the wind. Around Union County, fallen wires in combination with flooded electrical substations left parts of Union County, including Cranford, Garwood, and Westfield without power or phone service for nearly a week. In total, approximately 1.46 million customers of JCP&L and PSEG throughout most of the 21 counties lost power. On Sunday September 5, power had been returned to last remaining 2,000 residents who suffered a power outage.
Flooding in some parts of the state continued for another three days. On August 31, Paterson counted 6,000 displaced persons, and three of four bridges crossing the Passaic remained closed. On August 31, President Barack Obama declared the state a disaster area; initially the declaration only included five counties, but was later extended to include all 21 counties. More than 31,000 residents filed assistance claims through FEMA, and within two weeks nearly $38 million had been disbursed with others pending. Hardest-hit counties were Bergen and Passaic in the northeast, each with more than 4,000 claims. While the deadline for applications for disaster relief was set as October 31, as of September 28 more than 54,000 residents had shared in the $116 million which had been distributed. “
” New York
“In Manhattan, the Hudson River flooded in the Meatpacking District. The northern tube of the Holland Tunnel briefly closed. When the storm hit New York, Long Island experienced the strongest winds. Long Beach and Freeport, both of which experienced serious flooding, were among the worst-hit towns on the island. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano stated that flooding had left many roads impassable. The winds knocked down many trees and power lines, leaving almost 350,000 homes and businesses without power in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. Flooding of the Ramapo River and more than a half-mile (1 km) of washouts led both Metro-North and NJ Transit to suspend service on the Port Jervis Line north of Suffern indefinitely. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) replaced the trains with bus service along the Hudson Line. Service was restored on the entire line on November 28, 2011 using one track.
Flooding overwhelmed several sewage treatment plants, since many of them collect and processed storm runoff as well as wastewater. At least 52 municipalities in the Hudson Valley reported raw-sewage spills into local waters. Vaccinations against tetanus and hepatitis were offered to rescuers before entering houses in some areas. Parts of Washingtonville were under 8 feet (2.4 m) of water during the storm due to the flash flood of Moodna Creek. Some homes near the creek had to be condemned. Disastrous flash floods occurred in the northwestern Catskill Mountains. Record flooding along the Schoharie Creek destroyed the 156-year-old Old Blenheim Bridge, a National Historic Landmark. On September 3, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a $15 million federal relief fund to help farmers there cope with the damage. The governor’s office estimated that the state’s farmers lost $45 million in crops planted on 145,000 acres (59,000 ha) of farmland.
Farther upstate, Irene also did significant damage in the Adirondack Mountains. A section of NY 73 was washed out, isolating two hamlets. DEC reported that “landslides too numerous to count” had taken place on many of the High Peaks themselves, all of which are located on state Forest Preserve land. On September 8, DEC reopened some trails and trailheads in the High Peaks and Giant areas, warning hikers that there was still major damage in some areas. The same day, it closed all trails on property it managed in the Catskill Park in Greene and Ulster counties. Along the Shawangunk Ridge, two popular recreational areas, the privately-owned Mohonk Preserve and the public Minnewaska State Park Preserve, closed some trails and parking lots and allowed only foot use of those that remained open. Overall, there were ten deaths in the state, most due to flooding.
In mid-September, farmers reported a smaller-than-average harvest of pumpkins in the northeastern United States. Many farmers in the Black Dirt Region were near bankruptcy by that point, and fundraisers were being held to tide them over pending federal disaster relief. Orange County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension estimates that half of the county’s 3,400 acres (1,400 ha) of cultivated land was damaged, along with $1.5 million in farm infrastructure such as field roads washed away, soil covered in silt and land eroded. In Ulster County, crop losses were estimated at $5 million. Farmers were worried that reports of the damage and crop loss would deter tourists from visiting farm country for traditional autumn activities and purchases, an economic setback which some said would exacerbate the damage from the storm. Many planned to remain open and offer what they could to visitors. The Catskill Mountain Railroad, which saw some of its tracks washed into the Esopus, planned to offer shorter rides at a reduced price during leaf peeping season, its busiest time of year. The Cold Brook bridge was also washed away in the 20+ foot flood waters of the Esopus. “
 New England
“In Connecticut, 20 homes in East Haven were destroyed and five others were damaged beyond repair by flooding and storm surge along the shore of Long Island Sound. On Sunday, Connecticut’s two main electric companies, Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating, reported that a record 754,000 customers, about half the state, were without power. More than two days after the storm made landfall, about 400,000 people were still without power, some being told they would have to wait more than a week, especially in heavily wooded areas. In Ridgefield, 90% of houses lost power, requiring the utility to turn off power to the other 10% to ease restoration efforts. Route 15, one of the state’s main highways, was closed from the New York state line to Interstate 91 in Meriden due to fallen trees.
Governor Dannel Malloy said Hurricane Irene was responsible for a tenth death on August 28: a man who died in a fire likely caused by downed wires from high winds. An elderly woman, who resided in Prospect, died in similar situations, when a falling tree caused power lines to collapse onto her home, starting a fire; her husband is in critical condition in Bridgeport Hospital. In Bristol, a man drowned when his canoe capsized.
A week later, many homes in Connecticut still had not had their power restored. Connecticut Light & Power said on September 2 that it was ahead of where it expected to be, and that less than 100,000 customers would still be without power by midnight the next day. Crews had come from many distant places in North America, including British Columbia, to help the utility’s own crews. The continued outages have meant that in rural areas, many residents still do not have running water a week after the storm since they rely on private wells with electric pumps.“
In Massachusetts, damage was greatest in the hill towns and Western Massachusetts as the eye of the storm tracked westward, toward Albany, New York. High winds toppled trees and heavy rain caused widespread flooding of Connecticut River tributaries. The Westfield River rose almost twenty feet in a matter of hours; the Deerfield rose over fifteen feet in the same period. Both rivers reached flood stages not seen since the 1955, and 1938, hurricanes and floods. A public works employee was electrocuted by downed power lines in Southbridge. A dam failure was mistakenly reported in East Becket, yet 200 people were evacuated as a precaution.“
” Rhode Island
“Rhode Island had gusts of wind up to 71 mph (114 km/h), uprooting trees and causing extensive damage to its power grid. By the storm’s end, an estimated 256,000 out of 480,281 customers were without power. Rhode Island electric company, National Grid, expected it to take until Labor Day weekend to restore power to the most remote areas and areas which were most damaged. On August 30, two days after the storm, 138,000 customers remained without power. A power line on Aquidneck Island near Portsmouth was felled by winds during the morning of August 28, severing power to Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport and Jamestown. Power was not fully restored to Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island communities until August 30. The storm surge into Narragansett Bay caused some coastal damage, although Providence, at the head of the bay, was spared downtown flooding in part due to its hurricane barrier. There was some localized river flooding, however being on the eastern side of the storm, most of the damage came in the form of wind.”
“Almost every river and stream in Vermont flooded, resulting in at least three deaths and one missing. In Wilmington, the flood level of the Deerfield River east branch reportedly exceeded levels measured during the 1938 New England hurricane — the only other tropical cyclone to make a direct hit on Vermont in the state’s recorded history. Throughout Vermont, numerous covered bridges, many over 100 years old, were damaged or destroyed. Extensive road damage resulted in the isolation of nearly a dozen rural towns that would require helicopter air-lifts of necessities in the days immediately following the storm. The storm decimated multiple sections of U.S. Route 4 between Rutland and Quechee, making east/west travel through the state near impossible. The resort town of Killington as well as neighboring Pittsfield were completely isolated from travel in and out for two weeks. Statewide, the cost of repairs for road and bridge damage alone was estimated to exceed $700 million.
Relief concerts were organized by local Vermont bands such as Phish and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. By December the state was recovering more quickly than originally expected. Within a month of the storm 84 of 118 closed sections of state highway,and 28 of 34 bridges, had been reopened. The state had relied on assistance from National Guard units in eight other states, and highway workers lent to it by New Hampshire and Maine. “We’ll do the work and we’ll figure out how we’re paying for it,” said deputy state secretary of transportation Sue Minter, “but we’re not waiting.” Repair costs ultimately turned out to be $175–200 million, with most of it covered by federal disaster relief. “
“Tropical storm conditions occurred throughout the state of Maine during Irene’s passage. Flooding caused by Irene’s heavy rainfall washed out two bridges on State Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. “
“Irene also affected a large section of Canada, stretching from the eastern parts of Ontario to the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. On August 28, in Quebec, high winds and heavy rainfall from post-tropical storm Irene knocked out power to over 250,000 homes, felled tree branches, and damaged buildings and traffic signals across Montreal. One person was killed after a road was washed out and cars were swept into the Yamaska River near Sorel-Tracy; another section of road in Charlevoix was also washed out, while flooding forced evacuations in Estrie.
The storm then tracked up the St. Lawrence River Valley in southeastern Quebec through the night of August 28, crossing the St. Lawrence River into Labrador. From Late August 29 – late August 30, Irene’s remnants left Canada, and emerged into the Labrador Sea.
- New Brunswick
Many trees fell in the wake of the hurricane, mainly due to the strong winds associated with the storm. Power was lost to an estimated 75,000 – 200,000 New Brunswick residents, directly due to the gale-force winds.”
Irene coming up the east coast
Radar at Irenes peak over the NE US