User:12george1/Effects of Hurricane Irene in New England

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Hurricane Irene
hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Winds 1-minute sustained: 60 mph (95 km/h)
Fatalities 1 direct, 2 indirect
Damage $1 billion (2011 USD)
Areas affected New England
Part of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season
Part of a series on Hurricane Irene

The effects of Hurricane Irene in New England were the worst from a hurricane in that region since Hurricane Bob made landfall in 1991. Hurricane Irene formed from a tropical wave on August 20, 2011 near the Lesser Antilles. It moved west-northwestward, and within an environment of light wind shear and warm waters it steadily strengthened to reach peak winds of 120 mph (195 km/h) on August 24. After curving north-northeastward and weakening significantly, Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) on August 27. Irene continued north-northeastward and struck New Jersey and New York and weakened to a tropical storm. While crossing through New England, Irene transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on August 29.



Storm surge from Hurricane Irene in Greenwich, Connecticut

In Connecticut, 20 homes in East Haven were destroyed and five others were damaged beyond repair by flooding and storm surge along the shore of Long Island Sound.[1] On Sunday, Connecticut's two main electric companies, Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating, reported that a record 754,000 customers, about half the state, were without power. More than two days after the storm made landfall, about 400,000 people were still without power, some being told they would have to wait more than a week, especially in heavily wooded areas. In Ridgefield, 90% of houses lost power, requiring the utility to turn off power to the other 10% to ease restoration efforts.[2][3] Route 15, one of the state's main highways, was closed from the New York state line to Interstate 91 in Meriden due to fallen trees.[4]

Governor Dannel Malloy said Hurricane Irene was responsible for a tenth death on August 28: a man who died in a fire likely caused by downed wires from high winds.[5] An elderly woman, who resided in Prospect, died in similar situations, when a falling tree caused power lines to collapse onto her home, starting a fire;[6] her husband is in critical condition in Bridgeport Hospital.[7] In Bristol, a man drowned when his canoe capsized.[6]

A week later, many homes in Connecticut still had not had their power restored. Connecticut Light & Power said on September 2 that it was ahead of where it expected to be, and that less than 100,000 customers would still be without power by midnight the next day. Crews had come from many distant places in North America, including British Columbia, to help the utility's own crews.[8] The continued outages have meant that in rural areas, many residents still do not have running water a week after the storm since they rely on private wells with electric pumps.[9]


Two trees toppled by Irene in coastal Massachusetts.
Sailboats broke from their moorings and washed ashore in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, Irene dropped between 5 and 8 inches (130 and 200 mm) of rain in the western and central portions of the state.[10] Overall, precipitation in the state peaked at 9.10 inches (231 mm) in Savoy.[11] Heavy rainfall led to flooding which closed roads and bridges; most notably, Interstate 91 was shut down between Greenfield and Sunderland. Due to the rising Deerfield River, officials cleared streets in Shelburne and Buckland. A 120-unit assisted living facility was evacuated in Greenfield. In addition, several low-lying communities were evacuated; the swollen Westfield River caused residents to leave their homes in Westfield.

A public works employee was electrocuted by downed power lines in Southbridge.[6] A dam failure was mistakenly reported in East Becket, yet 200 people were evacuated as a precaution.[12] Tolls along the Massachusetts Turnpike were temporarily suspended.

In the New Bedford harbor, hundreds of fishing boats and vessels from rode out the storm. New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang noted that 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 m) swells were reported at the outer harbor.

Rhode Island[edit]

Rhode Island had gusts of wind up to 71 mph (114 km/h),[13] uprooting trees and causing extensive damage to its power grid. By the storm's end, an estimated 256,000 out of 480,281 customers were without power.[14] Rhode Island electric company, National Grid, expected it to take until Labor Day weekend to restore power to the most remote areas and areas which were most damaged. On August 30, two days after the storm, 138,000 customers remained without power.[15] A power line on Aquidneck Island near Portsmouth was felled by winds during the morning of August 28, severing power to Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport and Jamestown.[16] Power was not fully restored to Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island communities until August 30. The storm surge into Narragansett Bay caused some coastal damage, although Providence, at the head of the bay, was spared downtown flooding in part due to its hurricane barrier. There was some localized river flooding,[17] however being on the eastern side of the storm, most of the damage came in the form of wind.


Almost every river and stream in Vermont flooded, resulting in at least three deaths and one missing.[6][18][19] In Wilmington, the flood level of the Deerfield River east branch reportedly exceeded levels measured during the 1938 New England hurricane -- the only other tropical cyclone to make a direct hit on Vermont in the state's recorded history.[20] Throughout Vermont, numerous covered bridges, many over 100 years old, were damaged or destroyed.[21] Extensive road damage resulted in the isolation of nearly a dozen rural towns that would require helicopter air-lifts of necessities in the days immediately following the storm.[22] The storm decimated multiple sections of U.S. Route 4 between Rutland and Quechee, making east/west travel through the state near impossible. The resort town of Killington as well as neighboring Pittsfield were completely isolated from travel in and out for two weeks. Statewide, the cost of repairs for road and bridge damage alone exceeded $700 million.[23]

Relief concerts were organized by local Vermont bands such as Phish[24] and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.[25]

New Hampshire[edit]


Tropical storm conditions were reported,[26] with some areas experiencing winds of 50 mph (85 km/h). High winds, in turn, downed power lines, which caused nearly 185,000 people in southern and central Maine to lose electricity. However, power was quickly restored, and by 9 p.m. EST (0100 UTC August 29), only 29,000 households lacked electricity. In addition to high winds, heavy rainfall was reported in the state.[27] Rainfall from Irene in Maine peaked at 9.91 inches (252 mm) in Baxter State Park. As a result, Irene is listed as the wettest tropical cyclone in the history of Maine. Other areas experienced heavy rainfall, including northern Oxford County, where 8 in (200 mm) of precipitation was reported.[27] Heavy rainfall caused flooding, which washed out two bridges on State Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley.[28] However, it was later noted that the bridges had a design flaw, which allowed it to easily collapse during the storm.[29] A bridge on the route to Sugarloaf Ski Resort was also washed out,[27] leaving about 100 people stranded. On Route 4, a bridge near Madrid was also closed, though it quickly re-opened.[30] Throughout the state, nearly 200 roads were closed due to either flooding and or fallen trees. In Kennebunkport, former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush chose to ride out the storm in their summer home.[31] In the Belfast harbor, many boats rode out the storm.


  1. ^ "754,000 Homes Without Power, Flooding Concerns Rise In Irene's Wake", The Hartford Courant, 28 August 2011.
  2. ^ Days After the Storm, Many Are Still in The Dark, NY Times, August 31, 2011
  3. ^ Water Still Rises in New Jersey and Connecticut, NY Times, August 31, 2011
  4. ^ "Irene knocks out power, downs trees on approach". WTNH-TV. 2011-08-28. Archived from the original on 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  5. ^ "Hurricane Irene: Connecticut governor confirms 10th death". Hurricane Irene: Connecticut governor confirms 10th death. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  6. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference ABC6 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ "Hurricane Irene: Connecticut sizes up the damage from Irene". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference NYT Saturday power story was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ Secret, Mosi (2011-09-02). "Nearly Week Later, Thousands in Region Still Lack Clean Water". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (2011-08-28). "Power outages, flooding from Irene in Massachusetts". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  11. ^ Soltow, Michael (2011-08-29). "Remnants of Irene Advisory Number 37". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  12. ^ News, 22 (2011-08-28). "Huntington Chief: Becket dam didn't fail". Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  13. ^ "Irene delivers glancing blow to R.I." 
  14. ^ "Irene leaves up to half of Rhode Island without power". USA Today. 2011-08-28. 
  15. ^,60837.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Aerial tour of Aquidneck Island outages". WPRI. 2011-08-28. 
  17. ^,60837.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Irene inundates Vermont, washing out bridges, killing one". CNN. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 29 August 2011.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  19. ^ Henson, Matt (2011-08-28). "WCAX viewers document deadly storm in Vt". WCAX News. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  20. ^ News, WCAX (2011-08-28). "Vt. communities inundated by Irene flooding". Vermont. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  21. ^ Hallenbeck, Terri (2011-08-30). "Vermont's covered bridges take a hit from Irene". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  22. ^ Gast, Phil (2011-09-01). "Crews reach far corners of Vermont cut off by Irene". CNN. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  23. ^ Kinzel, Bob (2011-09-27). "Road Repairs Will Top $700 Million, But Federal Aid Uncertain". Vermont Public Radio. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  24. ^ Pollak, Sally (2011-09-15). "Phish jams for flood relief in Vermont". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  25. ^ Hallenbeck, Brent (2011-10-06). "Grace Potter to hold two flood relief benefits". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  26. ^ "Irene Graphics Archive". National Hurricane Center. 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  27. ^ a b c "Power in Maine out for nearly 185,000 in wake of Irene". Bangor Daily News. 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  28. ^ Bryant, Ann (2011-08-30). "Carrabassett Valley deals with aftermath of Hurricane Irene". Sun Journal. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  29. ^ Associated Press (2011-08-31). "Maine bridge lost during Irene had design flaw". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  30. ^ Bryant, Ann (2011-08-29). "Washed-out bridges strand about 100 at Sugarloaf". Sun Journal. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  31. ^ Associated Press (2011-08-27). "Former president to ride out storm in Maine". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2011-11-04.