Northeast Airports Escape Major Wind Damage from Irene

Flooding concerns persist.

Irene Big Select

Irene Big Select

The massive storm that was Hurricane Irene spared the East Coast much of the damage that had been feared, as its winds dissipated shortly after it made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, its energy diffused by wind shear and starved of moisture by dry continental air once it made landfall. All three major airports in the New York metro area were closed for the storm, disrupting traffic throughout the nation, and the world — our Stephen Pope was stuck in Brazil for an extra two days as his Washington, D.C.-bound flight was grounded in Sao Paulo.

But there was little damage to the airports. In the end, Irene was similar in effect in New York City to a massive Nor’easter.

The rest of the region did not get off as easily. Inland, from New Jersey to Vermont, airports were flooded, many of them having to close runways or close altogether as floodwaters covered the surface. The effects are ongoing, as floodwaters continue to rise, two days after the storm has passed. Reports are still emerging from many of the small town airports in the area affected by Irene, but already there has been flooding at several popular GA airports, including busy New Jersey GA hubs Teterboro and Morristown, as well as Sikorsky Memorial in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

While there was significant damage from the storm to airports in the region and while flooding threats still loom, the bottom line here is clear. Airports and airplanes along the East Coast dodged a bullet when Irene’s winds subsided.