Hurricane Irene May Be Worse Because Of New Moon

Posted By on August 26, 2011

Here comes the mother of all storms for the East coast!  So here’s an interesting question….what happens if you have a giant crane up in the air working a project on the East coast (New York or New Jersey) and it can’t be removed in time because you’ve never before seen a hurricane come this far north like this one?  Just wondering?  Umm….

From the DailyMail:

The intensity of Hurricane Irene and the extent of the flooding on the East Coast could be made worse by a new moon and high temperature of water in the Atlantic, scientists warn.

During new and full moons, the sun, Earth, and the moon are arranged in a straight line, with the sun and moon intensifying each other’s gravitational pull on Earth.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, director of the Weather Underground website, said the result is more severe tidal fluctuations.

That means low tides are lower than usual and high tides are higher.

Due to these so-called spring tides, any town that sees the hurricane pass by during one of the two daily high tides is especially in danger of heavy flooding due to storm surges.

Masters cited Atlantic City in New Jersey as an example, if it is hit between 7pm and 8pm local time on Sunday, reports.

Storm surges are caused by a hurricane’s high winds, which create a ‘mound’ of water along the front of the eye as the storm moves forward.

A Category 3 hurricane can push a storm surge of 9 to 12 feet tall ashore at landfall.

So far the United States has been largely spared by the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30.

But in May the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a busy forecast.

Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center, tells TIME that a combination of factors have already contributed to a rise in storms in 2011.

He said: ‘One of the things is, how warm is the Atlantic Ocean? How warm is it compared to an average year? The other factor is the status of El Niño.

The National Hurricane Center reports that sea-surface temperatures in the Main Development Region are reading as the third warmest on record, and models predict a continuation of ‘very warm’ temperatures through the hurricane season.

This is all with the possibility of La Niña redeveloping.

Masters said: ‘I don’t see any roadblocks to intensification over the next few days.’

‘The ocean temperatures are 1 to 1.5 degrees warmer than average this year. Climatologically, conditions are conducive for strong hurricanes tracking far to the north this year.’

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