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Irene Bahamas U.S.

August 25, 2011 by staff 

Irene Bahamas U.S.Irene Bahamas U.S., Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Irene could score a direct impact on the Outer Banks and on Saturday and was declared a hurricane watch along much of the coast of the state. They said that the patterns of direction was likely to keep turning the storm far from the coast, increasing the likelihood that states will be hit by Eastern dangerous waves, strong winds and heavy rain.
The storm seemed on track to reach the city of New York or Long Island area on Sunday, possibly even as a hurricane but weakened. Hurricane winds exceed 73 miles per hour, while tropical storm force winds of 39 mph range to 73 mph.

Irene, now packing 115 mph winds about 65 miles east of Nassau in the Bahamas on Thursday, could become a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 135 mph on Thursday as it begins along the east coast of Florida.

Amtrak canceled train service south of Washington on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and said additional cancellations may be necessary when the storm moves northward.

Thousands flee an exposed strip of coastal villages and beaches of coastal North Carolina and dozens of Navy ships were ordered out to safer waters, according to the Associated Press. An evacuation order came into force for an estimated 150,000 tourists on the Coast of Dare County, North Carolina, hours after forecasters issued a hurricane warning for much of the coast of the state.

Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has been designated a “base support incident” for the military during the storm, with reserves of food, water, emergency vehicles and equipment, said Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. About 98,000 National Guard members were potentially available to help states along the expected path of the storm, from Florida to New England, he said.

Meanwhile, a new tropical depression formed off the Atlantic early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said it would likely become a tropical storm during the day.

The authorities have improved their ability to predict the trajectory of the center of the storm, but still report, “tracking errors” in these efforts. The authorities have been reduced to half or less average tracking error of 24 hours, the forecasts in recent years, nearly 100 miles in the early 1990, Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.

But the average tracking error over the past decade by 48 hours and the forecast of 72 was still about 100 miles and 150 miles, respectively, according to the Miami-based NHC. Only began offering five-day forecasts in 2003, and the tracking errors that far in the future, 200 km.

Variables such as wind shear systems, shock air pressure and hot water bottles could push the storm to the east or west, which can spell the difference between the wind and light rain or a destruction along the coast.

“A change in the track at least 10 miles or 40 miles can make a huge impact,”said Timothy Schott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Thursday morning, the storm hit the Bahamas with widespread damage reported at least two southern islands.

Islands in the southeast edge of the archipelago of the Bahamas began to feel the force of the storm on Wednesday.

Roofs were ripped off houses and trees littered the streets of the small island of Mayaguana, halfway between southern Florida and Puerto Rico, said Capt. Stephen Russell, director of the National Emergency Management Bahamas. Major damage to buildings was also reported on the nearby islands of Acklins and Crooked, the agency said.

There were mass evacuations, but residents in low-lying areas were advised to head to shelters on higher ground, said Russell. “The people who built their houses properly and according to building code should be able to resist” the storm, he said. However, “those who tried to shorten the process might find their homes in danger.”

Most tourists had evacuated Eleuthera Island, which is full of hotels and resorts, said Kingsley Bethel, assistant manager at Club Bucanero hotel in Puerto Governor, the seat of the island. Residents put up shutters hurricane and stocked up on food and supplies. “We’re pretty used to it,” said Bethel. But “when he learned that a hurricane over here, you actually get ready.”

North Carolina Dare County on Wednesday ordered tourists to evacuate Ocracoke Island, a barrier island in the Outer Banks of state can only be reached by ferry. The order calls for a run of hammocks and hammock swings in Nags Head, said Denise Bayley, store manager in Kill Devil Hills.

“People stood in their way outside the city,” he said. “It’s strange, because the weather is absolutely glorious here.”

Ms. Bayley and his staff planned to decide Wednesday night when and if to increase the shutters on the windows and door of the hammocks on the screen outside the tent. “Often these storms roil up very well when they’re coming to the coast, but sometimes a step back,” he said. “That’s what everyone is waiting.”

Hurricane Irene is already altering the schedules of container ships, increased fuel costs and labor. Maersk Line, the shipping subsidiary of Denmark-based AP Moller-Maersk, reworked schedules Wednesday 15 vessels carrying grain to everything from video cameras, to try to keep vessels either comfortably ahead or behind the storm.

The schedule change, adds Maersk costs because the company has to pay additional costs of labor to unload ships in the night, due to the acceleration of the ships burning more fuel, said Bill Fentress, director of the allocation of Maersk Line. “Anything that is not on schedule is the dollar, period,” he said.

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