MORE SO THAN WITH MOST STORMS...THE WINDS WITH IRENE INCREASE
SHARPLY WITH HEIGHT ABOVE THE SURFACE. AS IRENE MOVES THROUGH
AREAS WITH HIGH-RISE STRUCTURES...THESE BUILDINGS COULD EXPERIENCE
WINDS SIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER THAN THE SURFACE WINDS. WINDS AT THE
30-STORY LEVEL WILL LIKELY BE 20 PERCENT HIGHER THAN AT THE SURFACE
...AND WINDS 80-100 STORIES UP COULD BE ABOUT 30 PERCENT HIGHER
THAN AT THE SURFACE.
OK, that’s bad enough because power goes as the square of velocity (and damage as the cube, or something like that).
But as I ponder it this seems even scarier than that. If the storm is still symmetrical when it hits Manhattan, I could imagine that there could be enough tall structures to set up turbulence that could mix momentum back downward. Is this crazy? Suppose a sustained 60 mph wind over Manhattan heading north to south. It hits midtown hurricane force winds at 30 stories start mixing up with all the artificial canyons and crevasses and mix down?
What are the maximum sustained winds independent of altitude? How high up are they?
Will the streets of Manhattan be covered in glass tomorrow? Are highrise buildings unsafe under these conditions?
I hope not. I love New York. But I’m not sure this situation has any precedent.