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Posted at 02:30 AM ET, 08/28/2011

D.C. area dealing with worst of Irene; Eastern Shore still getting hammered

Flash Flood Warnings for most of metro area

Forecast and timeframe of activity
Hurricane Tracking Center with Tweets from NHC
Live updates: After Hurricane Irene
Tropical Storm Warning for most of D.C. metro area
Hurricane Warning for Va/Md/De beaches | Storm surge/wave info
Irene: Are You Prepared?

Power Outages mounting: ~950,000 across DC/MD/VA

2:30 a.m.: It remains quite windy with Reagan National gusting to 54 mph at 2 a.m. and 40+ mph gusts common throughout the metro area (here’s a list of some peak gusts from the National Weather Service). However, the center of Irene, about 15 miles S-SE of Ocean City, was nearing our latitude - so the worst weather is pretty much over. Rain is beginning to pull away, and should decrease in coverage and intensity from southwest to northeast ending before dawn. Winds will take longer to subside, with gusts to 40 mph through morning - but finally becoming merely “breezy” by mid-afternoon. It appears Reagan National’s peak gust may have been 59 mph, which, if true, would best Isabel’s maximum gust of 58 mph.

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2:10 a.m.: Flash flood warning discontinued for much of metro region but areal flood warning in effect through 8 a.m. Additional rainfall likely to be less than an inch most spots, except east and northeast where a little more than that is possible. Areal flood warning is mainly due to the fact some creeks and streams are still rising.

1:45 a.m.: Rainfall amounts (so far): Delmarva/beaches: 6-10”+, So. Md/Prince George’s/Anne Arundel counties: 4-8”+, Inside beltway, 3-5”; western Fairfax and Montgomery counties: 2-4”. Some areas may still receive another 1-2” of rain especially east and northeast of D.C.

1:15 a.m.: Ian Livingston reports the gust of 58 mph at Reagan National matches the highest from Isabel.

1:00 a.m.: Reagan National (DCA) reported a wind gust to 58 mph at 12:48 a.m. It also reported a sustained wind of 41 mph - true tropical storm conditions (tropical storm criteria are sustained winds of 39 mph).

12:45 a.m.: With Irene nearing D.C.’s latitude off the coast of the Delmarva, we should experience our strongest winds in the next hour or two with gusts of 45-60 mph in the immediate metro region. Power outages continue to mount, with Pepco’s numbers over 100K now. Avoid going outside if you can, falling trees (being reported throughout region) are a real hazard and have killed several people today to our south.

12:30 a.m.: The center of Irene is very close to MD/DE coast. Sussex County emergency operations center reported sustained winds of 65 mph in Ocean City, Md., with gusts to 80 mph. It received 0.5” of rain in 15 minutes.

12:15 a.m.: Ian Livingston tells us that Saturday’s rainfall at Reagan National of 2.99” (preliminary total) was the highest single day August total since 8/27/1971 and more than our average monthly tally. The rain is still coming, and flash flood warnings have been extended in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties until 3:15 p.m. We still have two to four more hours of moderate to heavy rain. Gusty winds will stick around longer though gradually subside Sunday.

11:30 p.m.: The flash flood warning over much of the immediate metro region, excluding the western suburbs, has been extended through 2:30 a.m. On top of 2-4+” that has fallen, expect another 1-2”.

11:25 p.m.:Heavy rain and gusty winds continue to rake the area. Here are some estimated rainfall totals up to now: east and southeast Fairfax co and D.C. 2-3”; Prince George’s co. 2.5-5”, southern Md. 4-8”(Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s co), Anne Arundel co. 3-5”, Montgomery Co & western Fairfax 1-2.5”. Some of the higher wind gusts reported at 11 p.m. include: Reagan National 43, Richmond 61, Norfolk 54, Patuxent River 51, and Andrews AFB 51

10:50 p.m.: While Flash Flood Warnings (extended until 2 a.m. south and east of the District) and power outages are no fun whatsoever, we can count ourselves lucky in the immediate D.C. area with no Tornado Warnings so far. Philadelphia had 4 Tornado Warnings in effect at the same time.

10:20 p.m.: Really is amazing how often I-95 is the approximate dividing line for different levels of weather in our area. You can see it right now is this radar loop, with a solid area of heavy rain (probably approaching 1”/hr) east of 95 and light to moderate (though still some heavier showers embedded) rain west of 95.

9:42 p.m.:New Flash Flood Warning for Montgomery County, Howard County and to the northeast. From the NWS: “BANDS OF MODERATE RAINFALL MOVING INTO AREAS NORTH AND WEST OF BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON. RAIN AMOUNTS SO FAR HAVE BEEN AROUND ONE INCH. RAINFALL UP TO A HALF INCH PER HOUR IS EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS.”

9:40 p.m.: Winds really picking up now downtown and in the southern and eastern suburbs. Sustained at 32 mph at National Airport and 36 mph at Andrews Air Force Base. But as you get into the northern and western suburbs Irene has a lot less bite: sustained winds only 18 mph at Dulles, for example, and 23 mph at BWI. Along and east of I-95, could get to near or a touch past 40 mph sustained tonight.

9:10 p.m.: Irene has held its own since making landfall this morning, still holding on as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph. The radius of tropical-storm force winds has held mostly steady as well, still out to 290 miles from the center - that’s quite large as hurricanes go. National radar shows Irene’s rainfall currently covering a wide swath from northeast North Carolina to southern Maine.

Areas along and east of the Chesapeake Bay have been feeling those winds as well as relentless rain for many hours now, including 4-7” in Southern Maryland and a radar-estimated 6-12” across much of the Eastern Shore. The Bay Bridge has been closed thanks to sustained winds of more than 62 mph with gusts of 72 to 80 mph, while to the east, the Rehoboth Beach area has had multiple tornado warnings today. Further south, a whopping 12-16 inches of rain is reported in southeast Virginia. Incredibly, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell says the storm surge (possibly 5 to 8 feet) in Virginia Beach may be worse than Isabel in 2003 and the damaging 1933 storm. The power is off for more than 800,000 Dominion customers across Virginia, more than the company expected but less than in 2003 when Isabel cut power to approximately 1.8 million.

In the immediate D.C. area, various Flash Flood and Flood warnings are in effect even though rain totals have been less impressive than areas to the south and east, including just over 1.6” at National Airport, around 0.5” at Dulles and just over 1.5” at BWI. Andrew’s Air Force Base, however, is over 2.5” and counting, which shows how quickly the rain totals increase as you head south and east. And the heaviest rain and strongest winds are yet to come over the next 6-8 hours or so before things start to wind down toward dawn.

By and  |  02:30 AM ET, 08/28/2011

Categories:  Tropical Weather, Latest, Forecasts

 
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