8:20 AM | Serious threat from Irene continues for late Saturday/Sunday

6-Day Forecast

Today

Mostly sunny, pleasantly warm, highs in the low 80’s

Tonight

Partly cloudy, a bit more humid compared to recent nights, lows in the upper 60’s

Thursday

Becoming mostly cloudy, very warm and humid with afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms that are likely to include heavy downpours and perhaps damaging winds, upper 80’s

Friday

Partly sunny, still rather humid, warm, chance for a shower or thunderstorm later in the day or at night, mid 80’s

Saturday

Increasing clouds, humid, chance for showers and thunderstorms late in the day or at night depending on the track of Irene, potential exists for substantial rain amounts and strong winds, near 80

Sunday

Mostly cloudy, tropical humidity with the threat for more showers and thunderstorms, potential exists for substantial rain amounts and strong winds, upper 70’s

Monday

Partly sunny, still humid, highs near 80

Discussion

Hurricane Irene continues to move through the Bahamas as it slowly strengthens. It has now reached major hurricane status as sustained winds have increased to 115 mph. My current thinking has Irene making landfall in eastern North Carolina on Saturday - probably as a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) – and then it is likely to head to near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay by late Saturday night. By Sunday afternoon, Irene will likely be just off the New Jersey coastline on its way up to eastern New England while maintaining category 1 hurricane status. This potential track is similar to Hurricane Floyd during September of 1999 and also similar to the track of the “great hurricane of 1944” (unnamed) – both storms dumped significant rainfall along the coast as well as into inland sections. In fact, heavy rain and strong winds are possible here in the Mid-Atlantic region from Irene in the late Saturday through Sunday time period. Hurricane force wind gusts are likely to be recorded all along the coastal sections from North Carolina to Maine. All of the recent heavy rains will increase the threat for flooding and, to make matters worse, a strong frontal system is likely to cause some more heavy downpours around here late tomorrow or tomorrow night. Stay tuned for updates.

Video

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuLl4Ze3TCI