Will Irene impact Connecticut? Let’s start with what we do know. Irene will become the first major hurricane of 2011 with a category 3 or higher rating within the next 24-48 hours. Cancel your plans to the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos this weekend. These islands will get crushed from this storm. Florida and Georgia look OK for now. They’re out of the “cone” right now. North Carolina is still the likely target in the United States.
Back to the question haunting most of you who are reading. What’s the deal here in Connecticut? Five to six days out in a hurricane forecast is an eternity! The short answer? It’s too soon to tell. And I think any meteorologist on TV who tells you otherwise is not being very responsible. Notice the cone around the NHC track. This is called the “cone of uncertainty”. Sounds like a cool movie, right? The cone gets larger with time to reflect how forecast confidence and accuracy decreases over time. The average error in a tropical forecast five days out is 200 miles. And we’re not even IN the cone yet!
Climatologically, if you look Irene’s current position and compare that to storms in the past, there is a 0% chance of Irene hitting Connecticut as a hurricane. But remnants of a tropical storm (or extra-tropical storms) can also do some damage. Here's the good news. Every time a new model run comes out, the models seem to shift to the east a little bit. I think that trend will continue. If it does, that's good news for everyone in the United States.
The earliest we could see rain from Irene would be Saturday afternoon. Rain looks likely on Sunday but the extent of the rain and wind is still a question mark. I’ll make sure you’re up to date on everything on air and on the blog, with information and without the hype.