Now, Irene is headed in and it's going to be a nice storm. Cat 2 today, who knows what it'll be when it hits the Carolinas? It's fairly difficult to predict storm intensity and track, especially four to five days out. As Brendan Loy reminds us:
Track forecasting is a much more exact science than intensity forecasting, but even there, errors can be large, as the National Hurricane Center’s advisories consistently note. Every recent discussion on Irene ends with the same admonition: “IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMIND USERS NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK…ESPECIALLY AT DAYS 4 AND 5…SINCE THE MOST RECENT 5-YEAR AVERAGE ERRORS AT THOSE FORECAST TIMES ARE 200 AND 250 MILES…RESPECTIVELY.” In other words, folks in Morehead City shouldn’t panic just because the forecast track is targeting them right now for a Saturday landfall, and folks in Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach shouldn’t breathe easy just because it isn’t. The precise track can, and will, change.And even a near miss can become a catastrophe, because a big hurricane might be 200 miles across.
A word to the wise to my East Coast readers, from a Louisiana native who's lived through these things. Go out out now and get three days supplies of food, water, propane, batteries and flashlights. Fill your vehicle with fuel and fill every gasoline container you own. If you have a generator, make sure that it will start. Make preparations to batten down the hatches at the 24 hour mark, when the storm track will be more precise. I don't need to tell you to make sure you've got ammunition.
You'll all be just fine.