Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Hurricane Irene Situational Awareness Statement (SAS) #1
Date: August 24, 2011
Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 storm currently located in the Bahamas, is expected to impact Massachusetts as early as this weekend. As of 11:00AM today, the National Hurricane Center's projected track shows Irene passing by the Outer Banks on Saturday, making landfall on Long Island Sunday evening, and passing through Massachusetts Sunday night and Monday morning as a Category 1 or 2 storm, with the possibility of a weak Category 3. Irene is still several days out, however, and the projected track could potentially be off by as much as 200 miles and the projected timing by 6 to 8 hours.
HURREVAC 5-Day Forecast Map:
Precipitation: Some isolated thunderstorms are possible tomorrow afternoon and evening. Rains associated with Irene may begin as early as Saturday afternoon, with the bulk of precipitation coming Saturday night through Sunday night. A total of 5 to 10 inches of rain are possible in Massachusetts. There is a significant risk of stream and river flooding, but it is too early at this time to identify which basins are most at risk.
Winds: The most damaging winds will be located to the right of Irene's track. Winds in Massachusetts are forecast to be Category 1 (74-95mph) or Category 2 (95-110mph) but Category 3 (110-130mph) winds are not out of the question. Exact timing of the arrival of damaging winds is highly dependent on Irene's forward speed; Sunday through Sunday night are most likely, but an increase in Irene's speed could bring significant winds as early as Saturday night.
Coastal Flooding: The magnitude of coastal flooding will depend on the exact track, speed, and intensity of Irene, as well as its timing with respect to high tide. The most severe flooding will occur along south-facing coasts, but some flooding is also possible on east-facing coasts if Irene arrives near high tide.
Marine/Beaches: The risk of rip currents will increase starting tomorrow and is expected to remain high through the beginning of next week. Depending on Irene's forward speed, seas may begin building Saturday night and could reach 20-30 feet by Sunday, with the highest seas being to the right of Irene's track.
MEMA is closely monitoring Irene's progress via tools such as HURREVAC and the National Hurricane center's website, and remains in close communication with FEMA Region 1, other state EOCs, and the National Weather Service. MEMA has requested FEMA Incident Management Assistance team (IMAT) support and plans a partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Framingham starting tomorrow. Liaisons from Emergency Support Function (ESF) leads and other key agencies will be present in the SEOC starting tomorrow to conduct pre-landfall planning for Irene. Additional agencies and organizations will be called in to the SEOC as Irene's landfall approaches. MEMA will conduct at least one conference call daily with local Emergency Management Directors and will push out Situational Awareness Statements at least once daily and more as necessary.
Information for EMDs:
At this time, MEMA urges local officials to monitor Irene's progress and predicted track closely, review existing emergency plans and procedures, update emergency contact lists, test communications equipment, and be prepared to participate with MEMA in more proactive planning and preparedness efforts if necessary. MEMA also strongly encourages local officials to review their SLOSH (inundation) maps, pre-identify areas particularly at risk from storm surge flooding, and consider issuing voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders for these areas if the need arises. Local officials are also reminded to verify their inventories of sandbags and procure additional supplies if needed. MEMA has emergency stockpiles of sandbags available if needed.
MEMA has created a WebEOC event for Irene called "2011 Hurricane Irene". EMDs should use this event for situational awareness and conveying requests for assistance related to Hurricane Irene. Users experiencing issues with logging on to or using WebEOC should contact their MEMA Regional office for assistance.
In order to assist local officials with preparedness and response to Irene, MEMA has made the following resources available on its website (www.mass.gov/mema) in the "Hurricane Information" section:
- Links to online tools and resources
- Hurricane safety information
- Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) maps for coastal Massachusetts counties. These are available as static maps in .PDF format, as well as interactive maps using Google Earth which will allow users to zoom in to neighborhoods and view projected inundations for category 1 through 4 hurricanes. Google Earth is available free of charge at earth.google.com.
- Southern Massachusetts Hurricane Evacuation Study
- Hurricane Evacuation Behavioral Assumptions for Massachusetts
- The Cape Cod Emergency Traffic Plan
For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at www.mass.gov/mema
Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov
National Hurricane Center Website at www.nhc.noaa.gov
National Weather Service – Taunton at www.weather.gov/boston
National Weather Service – Albany, NY at www.weather.gov/albany
Mass211 at www.mass211.org
The next SAS is scheduled for 11:00AM tomorrow or as needed.
Steve M. Staffier / MEMA
Communications Coordinator (COMC)
Primary # 781-307-1366
Secondary # 508-922-3355