Hurricane Irene might not totally wreck College Park

via Flickr user Jim Linwood

The university community was told to expect a massive, horrifying debacle, but according to a warning put out Friday night by the National Weather Service, Prince George’s County shouldn’t be expecting hurricane-force winds and has only a 55-percent chance of seeing tropical-storm level trouble at all.

The county, which was omitted from the hurricane warning issued for parts of Virginia and Maryland, should expect “gusty northwest winds” and potential flash flooding through Sunday, but will likely be spared from the brunt of the ugliness.

Sustained winds are predicted to max out at 30 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 55 — a far cry from the 89-mph “sustained wind gusts” that university President Wallace Loh warned the community about Friday afternoon. The weather service alert warns that “minor damage could occur to older mobile homes,” and “residents should move loose items indoors, such as garbage cans and outdoor furniture, as they will be blown around.” Not exactly the kind of weather that makes you stock up on water.

In addition, though South Campus Commons management warned residents Friday evening that it’s likely “we will lose power … and the outage may continue for days,” the weather service alert says only that “isolated power outages will be possible.”

We’ll have to wait and see what actually shows up Saturday afternoon, and the weather service cautions that “small changes in the forecast track will have implications on all elements of the forecast,” but this latest report indicates College Park may only be dealing with the outer edges of Hurricane Irene.

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