Hurricane Earl

September 3, 2010 10:58:58 AM PDT
What a week, watching Earl develop into a powerful Category 4 hurricane - at one point we thought it might grow into a Cat 5. Instead, it has weakened into a Category 1, and the impact on the tri-state will be that of a tropical storm.

Which is nothing to dismiss - winds could be 50 miles an hour. Fortunately, we haven't had much rain, so trees have a better chance of surviving the storm. Still, the Long Island Power Authority says it's prepared to handle 100,000 customers who might lose power.

In the end - and these things can change - Earl will not be the strong storm experts feared it might have been.

But it was impressive how quickly local officialdom responded to the threat. It seemed, at least from this perch, that both governmental agencies and average peeps were taking this storm seriously, and making preparations.

On a personal note, Earl was my dad's name (although he spelled it differently - Irl), and it was both comforting and eerie hearing my father's name mentioned so many times this week.

That said, we'll have coverage of the storm - which is hitting the east end of Long Island and parts of the Jersey shore - tonight at 11. Meteorologist Lee Goldberg, who has been in an intense Earl-tracking zone this week, will lead our coverage.

I'll be off next week, so this column will resume when I return. Actually, it will resume on Sept. 10 - when the good folks who run our website will send out my annual remembrances of Sept. 11, 2001. Once again, Liz Cho and I will be anchoring the commemoration at Ground Zero on Saturday, Sept. 11. If you get this column, you'll get my remembrance column a week from today.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER

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