Friday May 4, 2012

Hurricane Irene sets records

11:30P.M. Friday May 4, 2012

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Last month, the name Irene was retired from the list of Atlantic hurricanes. The list circulates every six years, but the most destructive names can be retired. Seventy-six names have been retired since 1954.

Irene formed near the Lesser Antilles On August 20, 2011. The storm tracked across Puerto Rico as a category one storm, and then through the heart of the Bahamas as a category three storm. Irene weakened back to a category one storm on August 27, before making landfall in North Carlina. Over the next two days, Irene tracked across new Jersey, directly over Manhattan, and into Northern New England and Canada.

Irene caused unprecedented flooding across the region, with many places having received 8 to 15 inches of rainfall. Altogether, the storm caused $15.8 billion in damage in the US… mostly from flooding in the Northeast. The storm also caused roughly $3 billion in damage across the Caribbean, with the majority of the damage having occurred in the Bahamas. As a result, Irene now holds the following records:

5th most costly Atlantic hurricane
7th most costly US hurricane
Most costly category one US hurricane
10th most costly US weather-related disaster

Although I have not been able to find a source, I am fairly confident that Hurricane Irene also set the 24-hour rainfall record for New York State. This record was set near Tannersville between August 28 and August 29. I believe that the amount was roughly 11 or 12 inches.

Irene will be replaced with the name Irma when the list is
reused again in 2017.

Flooding in Margaretville, NY (Ulster County)

Brattleboro, Vermont

Before and after footage from Vermont

The background image is a satellite of Tropical Storm Irene centered over The NYC metro area on August 28 with sustained winds of 65 mph. At the time, intense rain was falling from Pennsylvania through Maine. The state boundaries are superimposed to give a better idea of the storm's immense size. The circulation field extends well into Canada, and as far south as Bermuda and the Carolinas.

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