Worst of Irene's winds may hit Mt. Washington (NH)
Weather observers on top of Mt. Washington (in New Hampshire), say they're already seeing the effects of Tropical Storm Irene. But the strongest winds are not expected until tonight. Their forecast calls for winds to gust tonight to more than 100 mph, and perhaps as high as 130.
Here's their report:
"Hurricane Irene will make its way northward into New England today, producing torrential rains and very windy conditions atop the higher summits. Irene will make landfall along the Connecticut coastline this morning, but will spread bands of heavy rainfall well in advance of its center. The periods of rain will become progressively heavier as the day wears on and Irene's eye comes extremely close to a direct pass over the White Mountains.
"Intense thunderstorms are often imbedded within the structure of a tropical cyclone, so rumbles of thunder and dangerous lightning are not out of the question as well. Wind speeds will pick up quickly through the day, gusting near hurricane force by afternoon. Winds are predicted to drop off around dusk as Irene's calm eye perhaps makes its way overhead.
"However, as Irene passes north of the region and begins to transition to an extratropical storm, winds will pick up tremendously, gusting well in excess of 100 mph--perhaps as high as 130 mph--in the wee hours of Monday. Temperatures will take a nose dive as well as the winds sharply shift towards the west and pull in chillier air, with overnight lows dipping into the upper 30s. Rain will taper to showers by daybreak, and come to an end early tomorrow, with the summits emerging from the fog tomorrow to reveal mostly sunny skies.
"Irene's fury will be in full force today, dumping as much as 6-8" of rain atop the higher summits. Tropical cyclones generally do not generate particularly significant wind events on Mt. Washington. However, Irene will be in the unique state of transition between tropical and extratropical system as it passes over and to the north. Should this transition occur quick enough, wind speeds will be on the higher end of the forecasted numbers, perhaps even a bit higher, as a tremendous pressure gradient forms. However, a slower or later transition will translate to less formidable wind speeds tonight. Nevertheless, at minimum, overnight winds will regularly gust in excess of 100 mph. However, the potential is there for a much more significant wind event."
(PHOTO: Mt. Washington Observatory, August 2011)