The radar tells one part of Irene's story tonight:
While the storm is not the Category 2 is was twenty-four hours ago, it is still poised to impact nearly 50 million people tonight and tomorrow as it plows along the coast. Cities like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston will have a variety of impacts. Over 10" rain amounts have been common today through North Carolina and Virgina. At least that much will fall at night, increasing the flash flooding threat. Due to the large wind field, numerous power outages are expected as some locations will endure up to 18 hours of tropical storm or hurricane force winds. Does that sound familiar? It should if you wen through Hurricane Ike here three years ago.
And a category 1 storm is nothing to sneeze at because in addition to the effects listed below, coastal and inland flooding is expected as the winds push high waves into low-lying coastal areas during high tide early Sunday. Additionally, some locations may see Isolated tornadoes from the spiraling rain bands lashing inland.
The track weakens the hurricane to a tropical storm, but there could still be hurricane wind gusts and the funneling effect of high winds passing through the concrete canyons of Manhattan may lead to some broken windows due to wind-blown debris.
We're having the complete opposite of a hurricane - a heaticane. Yes, I made that word up, but I think you get the idea. We tied the all-time record highest day ever in Houston at 109°, last set on Sept. 4, 2000. You can thank dry air, which arrived overnight for the intense heat. Dry air heats up faster than moist air, because moist air competes with dry air when heated. Record highs for this date were also tied or broken in College Station, Galveston and Hobby Airport:
We'll easily break tomorrow's measly record of 101°. But looking down the road, we have a really good chance of seeing the heat dome finally push far to our west, opening up the Gulf of Mexico for some tropical moisture. We may actually see rain and cooler (mid 90s) temperatures by the end of the upcoming week. Stay tuned.