8:00 AM | Storm winds down today


Hurricane Irene made a second landfall early this morning as a category 1 storm about 10 miles ESE of Atlantic City, NJ near Little Egg Harbor Inlet. This is the first hurricane to make landfall in the US since 2008 and, in the case of Irene, it actually made landfall twice, once in North Carolina and now in Southern New Jersey. Winds are currently sustained at 75 mph with gusts of up to 90 mph and Irene should reach the New York City region by early afternoon and weaken to tropical storm status. Widespread power outages and flooding problems have occurred throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and there are 3 million homes without power from North Carolina northward. In the Philadelphia region, PECO has reported up to nearly 300,000 homes without power and rainfall totals have approached 10 inches in many locations. The rain should wind down here during the mid-day hours, but strong wind gusts of up to 50 mph or so will last into the early-to-mid afternoon hours. Winds will then die down rapidly tonight. Do not assume that there will be no more branches or limbs falling down. The winds on the back side of the storm are from a different direction, and the brunt of the pressure will be on a different part of the tree that may be in a weakened state. The sun may actually make an appearance late today and the next several days look nice; however, many of the flooding problems and power outages will linger.