Hurricane preparations and more: The Weather Gang Lab with Gregory Postel (Video)

Aug 25, 2011

Live with Gregory Postel

Hurricane Irene Outlook

Questions from Readers

We are driving down to Durham, NC on Sat. morning and heading to Emerald Isle, NC on Sunday afternoon for a week's vacation. It looks like we'll get to the beach after the storm has hit. What are the chances we'll have bad weather driving down on Saturday morning?

OK, I know this is silly at a time when people are worried about losing power or worse, but...what will the weather feel like by Sunday afternoon? Still warm and sticky, or will it be more blustery cool?

My birthday is Saturday and I wanted to invite people over to my apartment in Dupont. Is this a hunker down hurricane or a lots of rain/annoying hurricane?

Hi! Submitting early so hope you can answer. I am packing up my apartment Saturday morning/early afternoon and early Sunday driving up to NYC. What's the speed of the storm after Saturday night? At 7:30 am, am I chasing and driving into it up the East Coast? Thanks!

I have a flight scheduled to leave early Sunday morning (8 am) from Dulles to Providence. What are the odds that this will take off as scheduled? Should I anticipate a few hours delay or cancellation? Also, we have an outdoor party planned on the Cape for Sunday evening. Would it make sense to move it to Monday?

Hi there - My kayak is tied to a wooden kayak rack about 5 feat above ground on the western side of Assawoman Bay in Selbyville, DE (just across the Bay from Ocean City, MD). Should I be planning to drive there tomorrow and bring the boat home? How much wind and storm surge is likely to cross the dunes and enter the bay?

Hi there! I have a flight tomorrow morning out of DCA and then a flight into DCA (from Chicago) on Sunday night. It will be very challenging for me professionally if my flight gets canceled and I can't get in for another day or two. What do you think the likelihood is of flights being canceled on Sunday night? Thanks!!

I know forecasts will probably change dramatically over the next few days. That being said, what's your best estimate of when different cities along the East Coast are going to feel the effects of the storm? I'm supposed to drive from Lancaster to Philadelphia very late Saturday night (leaving around 11 pm or midnight) and am wondering if it'll be unsafe to drive by then or if the bad storms will hold off until Sunday morning.

I'm leaving out of DCA for a trip to Seattle at 7:55 am on Saturday morning. What are the chances that it will be affected by the hurricane?

What is the prediction for max and sustained wind speeds in the DC metro area? And when are they predicted to occur?

All the news reports about the potential impact of Hurricane Irene on area beaches only talk about the beaches on the Delmarva peninsula. What about Virginia Beach? The track forecasts show Irene passing much closer to Virginia Beach than to the ones further north, so it will obviously get hit harder, but how much harder (potentially)? Also, any word on possible evacuations in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area?

The hurricane looks like its getting worse as of now but should it get weaker as it heads towards NY? Will there be major damage in NY? Will RI get hit badly specifically Providence County? How prepared do we really need to be?

Whenever a hurricane makes landfall, instead of retiring the name, we rename it for a famous villain in history? My first thought was picking the name of a serial killer, but that may be too macabre...

I live in southcentral Pennsylvania, right on the Maryland border. If the storm continues on it's expected route, what should I expect from the storm and how should I prepare?

How far in to NC do you think the this hurricane will come?

Hi Greg, With the storm growing and becoming more ominous, my gut is telling me to get as far out of town as possible. But I feel a little silly running away like Chicken Little. Would you say that we in DC are likely to be safe if sheltered in place and prepared? Thanks!

I live in Moyock Nc and my husband feels like I should evacuate myself and our children. I feel as though he is way over reacting. Moyock is about 45 minutes to an hour from the Outer banks. What are your thoughts?

Many college students are returning to area schools this weekend. Do you have any tips or recommendations for a safe, if not dry, move-in day?

When will the ruling be made that triggers the airlines' willingness to change flights into North Caroline without charging change fees?

Approximately when is the highest surge expected? Last report said 8 on Sunday. I have a boat in Edgewater MD and wonder when I need to go and make sure lines are tied properly.

What causes such a large storm to change course. For example, currently heading in a north westerly direction to become north easterly?

Is it safe to be in a basement during the hurricane?

Irene bears some striking similarities to the 1821 Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane (as well as others such as Hurricane Carol (1954) and Gloria (1985). Do you see potential in this to gain and maintain major intensity up the coast similar to the 1821 hurricane (estimated to be at Cat 3-4 when striking NJ)?

If you had a trip planned to the South Jersey shore this weekend, would you still go or skip it?

I live in Salisbury. Weather forecasts mention the beaches and the cities, but we're often left out. I don't have to worry about storm surge, obviously, but from the looks of things, I need to make some serious preparations. Realizing that storm tracks shift and are generally difficult to predict, can you give me any idea of what we should prepare for in parts of Delmarva areas which are *not* the beach?

How far in advance are evacuation orders usually issued?

My top floor (4th floor) apartment has floor to ceiling windows. I was wondered if I should be worried about them, and what I should do with the furniture and electronics in the rooms that have these windows.

I live in a basement apartment on Capitol Hill- - never flooded to my knowledge, with an effective drain in front of the door. How worried should I be about flooding?

Could you talk a little bit about why there's so much uncertainty in the modeling, even just a few days out? Is there something specific about the way hurricanes behave that causes the uncertainty?

What is expected for the Chesapeake Bay, specifically Deale to Annapolis in terms of storm surge (how many feet) and how high will the wind be overnight Saturday into Sunday? Thanks. Many boaters along the shore are holding their breaths.

Perhaps a question to lob to both Dr. Gridlock and the CWG: I have to drive from DC to NYC in the next 48 hours. What should one expect with regard to traffic on I-95 over the next few days? (And, yes, I do have to make this trip & have to make it in a car.)

My family live in Newport News and Hampton Virginia just the other side of the Norfolk tunnel. What kind of impact is expected there?

Is Irene moving unusually slowly? Does slow movement make it more dangerous than a faster moving storm?

What is your likely (and worst case) wind speed prediction for the DC area?

How is the saturation/rain today going to effect likelihood of trees falling? Anything we can do to help protect our trees? How likely do you think widespread power outages will be?

Where is the best place to be on the East Coast (the least threatened) on Saturday night?

What are the chances of the hurricane changing directions?

what IS storm surge?

Will the cold front passing through virginia Thursday have any influence on pushing irene away from the coast...perhaps pushing it more to the east?

Can this hurricane spark tornados in the area?

LAST QUESTION: How will Irene compare to Hurricane Isabelle in 2003? We were without power for over a week then, and if it is likely to cause more damage, that would be helpful to know. I understand that the path of the hurricane can change, but a best guess would be great.

In This Chat
Greg Postel
Dr. Gregory Postel currently serves as a meteorologist for 6News in Lawrence, Kansas. Prior to joining 6News, Greg was the lead meteorologist for a weather-risk management firm in Overland Park, KS. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he specialized in the dynamics of quasi-balanced interactions between the tropics and extratropics. His post-doctoral research investigated factors leading to the development of tropical cyclones, and in particular the dynamical transition of easterly waves into precursor vortices. He's an avid hurricane chaser and has driven many thousands of miles to intercept land-falling hurricanes.
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