As of 8:00 p.m. EDT,
Irene's location is 36.7°N 75.7°W. Its maximum sustained windspeed is
80 mph. It's moving NNE at 16 mph, and has a 500 mile wingspan. Its
minimum pressure is 951 mb. It is now a category 1 hurricane. Though
category 1 is low for a hurricane, it is extremely dangerous due to the
chance of the formation of destructive tornadoes also. It's equivalent
to an intensely strong tropical storm.
Weather experts state that it is very uncommon that a hurricane will
take in as many cities in its path at Hurricane Irene is taking in her
path up the east coast of the United States, and the dangers are
immense. The danger of this type of hurricane to tall buildings, for
example, is ominous.
Hurricanes are measured by their wind speeds on the ground. But as
you go higher, the winds grow stronger. Irene, it appears, is now a
tropical storm. For a tropical storm, winds at the base of a building
would be about 60 mph. On the 25th floor, the winds would be 90 mph.
And on the 50th floor, the winds would be 110 mph, which is the
equivalent of a category 2 hurricane. Weather experts are saying that
with Irene, more so than with other hurricanes, they're seeing
increasing wind speeds at higher elevations, an obvious threat to New
York City's skyscrapers--what experts are labelling a "stress test."
Another danger, of course, is water. In 1821, a hurricane similiar
to Irene covered lower Manhattan with 13 feet of water. The New York
City Subway system is said to be in grave danger from water from the
Hurricane, as salt water is extremely corrosive and would cause many
problems as the city tried to put the trains back on line, after the
Irene will now move northward near the Mid-Atlantic coast Saturday
night into early Sunday. Heavy, flooding rains and strong, damaging
winds are currently spreading northward well ahead of Hurricane Irene's
circulation center. In addition to the wind and flood threats, a
destructive storm surge will also continue to advance northward along
Although Irene's top sustained winds have decreased, the expansive
size of the hurricane continues to pose an extreme threat to much of the
Hurricane warnings remain posted as far north as New England, including New York City and Long Island.