So, about this Hurricane Irene: it's expected to hit North Carolina Saturday and then head up the East Coast, probably hitting land again somewhere in the New York City metro area Sunday.
What's that mean for the Capital Region? Rain, and lots of it. The National Weather Service is currently projecting 4-6 inches of rain in this area. (Normal amount of rain for the entire month of August here: about 3.5 inches. So, yep, that is a lot of rain.) Also: wind gusts as high 55 mph.
Some of this will depend on the track of the storm. If it veers more to the east, the less we'll probably see. But this storm is enormous -- NASA reported today that Irene is 600 miles across. So barring some major course change or development, we will see significant rainfall. (RPI already canceled the first day of class on Monday because of concerns about students traveling in the weather. Update: And so has Sage.) [@RPInews] [Sage]
The last hurricane to have a significant effect on this area was Floyd in 1999, which (who?) dropped six inches of rain and included 50 mph winds. [TU]
We generally try to take a "let's not freak out" approach to this sort of situation, but that doesn't mean sitting back and doing nothing. It's probably a good idea to store or tie down stuff like deck furniture (question you should ask yourself: do I want this hitting the house at 40 mph?). And it wouldn't be surprising to see power outages, so make sure you know where your flashlights and associated whatnot are located.
Barack Obama said today following a briefing from FEMA that "all indications point to this being a historic hurricane." Things could be pretty bad in the New York City area. NYC has already started some evacuations of hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas, and it looks like the transit system will be shut down. There's also concern about storm surge possibly swamping parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The storm damage total could be in the billions. [White House] [NYT] [Wunderground] [Five Thirty Eight]
State of emergency in Albany: Jerry Jennings has declared a state of emergency in Albany. Starting Sunday, storm-related issues that require immediate attention should be directed to 434-4522. (Full press release embedded below.)
Federal emergency declared in New York State: The White House has declared an emergency in New York State and is directing federal agencies to coordinate responses to the counties in the New York City metro area.
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