Hurricane Irene is forecast to hit New York City early tomorrow morning (August 28).
The system is expected to deliver a destructive combination of storm surge, damaging winds and flooding rain. This is mainly due to coastal flooding caused by a combination of Irene’s surge and astronomical high tides.
Parts of New York City, including sea-level lower Manhattan, braced for major flooding. New York has ordered the first-ever mandatory evacuation for 370,000 residents, including five New York City hospitals.
“We have never done a mandatory evacuation before, and we wouldn’t be doing this now if we didn’t think the storm had the potential to be very serious,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
The city is also preparing for Irene with shutdowns of mass transit beginning at noon today (August 27.)
Areas inland, including all of New Jersey and Connecticut and areas of the Hudson Valley, will feel the impacts of this destructive storm as well.
Tremendous rainfall amounts across parts of the Northeast – between 5 and 10 inches – are forecast. This area has already received large amounts of rain during the month of August, which has made tree root systems weak. Experts say that the weakened root systems combined with a prolonged period of tropical storm-force sustained winds might result in trees being uprooted and falling on nearby cars, houses and buildings.
Hurricane warnings now include New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and southern Connecticut.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.