Dear Tom,

What becomes of Irene after it passes into the North Atlantic? Does it become just a low pressure system and possibly affect Greenland or Europe?

—Frank Suzda, Wilmette

Dear Frank,

Though Irene has lost its tropical characteristics, it remained a potent low pressure area northeast of Labrador late Tuesday and headed for an encounter with Iceland and the northern portion of the British Isles before tracking east into Scandinavia. Dr. Kieran Hickey of the National University of Ireland has done a study on the impact of hurricanes in western Europe, including Hurricane Bill in 2009 and Hurricane Helene in 2006. In 1961, Hurricane Debbie produced wind gusts to 114 mph at Malin Head in northwest Ireland, and in 2006 Hurricane Gordon brought gusts to 81 mph to Cornwall, England.