IS IRENE A REAL ON-SHORE HURRICANE OR HAVE WE BEEN HAD?

To qualify as a hurricane a storm must have sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or stronger.  Less than that is a tropical storm.  Hurricanes cause great wind damage, can lift  small cars off their wheels, turn over trucks and bring down some sturdy structures.  No such extensive damage is being reported as I write and the storm is reported to have traversed the coast from North Carolina to the New Jersey shore.

The reports show some trees are down, signs are swinging furiously and an occasional tin roof has taken to flight.  Actually, it is the same tin roof they are showing repeatedly.  This is the type of damage that is expected from a tropical storm.  Unfortunately, hurricanes are much more destructive than that.  I am sitting 45 miles northeast of New York City and right on the coast, in the dead center of the path that has been projected for days.  Fox News is showing massive red splotches on the screen right now right where I sit.

Outside my door there is barely a breeze.  It has been eerily calm all day.  As a pilot, I can get the instant weather at airports.  The winds at Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Sikorsky Memorial Airport are a mild 8 knots with no gusts reported.  Where is the hurricane?  Is there a hurricane somewhere, or just a significant storm?

I am not complaining and I am not concluding, I am just asking.  Where is the storm?  The television reports say it is in my area but I can’t find a sign of it.  Some weather bloggers are saying NOAA reports do not square with independent measurements and all that ever hit shore was a tropical storm and not even a severe one at that (by tropical storm standards).  We will give it until tomorrow to show up before deciding if we have been had.

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