2:40 PM | Earthquake hits Mid-Atlantic...next threat is Hurricane Irene

An earthquake this afternoon centered near Richmond, Virginia with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 was felt from North Carolina to Massachusetts. This quake follows the strongest Colorado earthquake in more than 40 years that occurred yesterday. Meanwhile, the other major “nature-related” story for the Mid-Atlantic is Hurricane Irene. Irene is now showing signs of an “eye” indicating further development is likely. This storm appears to be headed to the North Carolina coast by early this weekend and will likely reach major hurricane status before that landfall (i.e., category 3 or even 4). The potential track after that is to near or over the Chesapeake Bay and then to near or over the South Jersey coast. Flooding rains and damaging winds are a real threat from Irene this weekend all the way from North Carolina to New England. Grounds are already saturated in much of the Mid-Atlantic region where some areas have received more than a foot of rain this month and, to make matters worse, there could be some heavy rainfall late Thursday from a cold frontal system. Stay tuned as we progress through the week on this serious threat for the Mid-Atlantic.