7:50 AM | Torrential rains and damaging winds beginning early tonight with a wall of water on the way

Discussion

Hurricane Irene is nearing landfall this morning in eastern North Carolina as a strong category 1 storm and should continue on a track that will take it to near Atlantic City, New Jersey by early Sunday - likely still as a category 1 hurricane. This track right over the coastline will send a wall of water our way during the brunt of the storm from early tonight into tomorrow morning with up to 10 inches possible throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan region. Note - there will be some occasional showers and thunderstorms ahead of the main event during the late morning and afternoon and some of that rain can even fall heavy at times.This amount of rain on top of already saturated grounds will cause serious flooding problems around the area. If you are in a flood prone area plan to leave before the brunt of the storm begins as waters could rise rapidly. Spiraling bands of moisture will pinwheel around the center of Irene over the next 24 hours and each one of these bands can generate torrential rains and damaging winds. Peak wind gusts could reach the 50-70 mph range which is very likely to bring down some trees or limbs. The Jersey Shore can expect to receive hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 80 mph or so and perhaps a foot of rain. In the “hard to believe” category, if Philly Airport receives 7 inches of rainfall or more from this storm, which is certainly in the realm of possibility, the month of August will have more than 20 inches recorded which is about half of the average annual amount in this area. Some clearing will occur on Sunday afternoon after the storm pulls by the region. A summary of the expected rainfall amounts and peak wind gusts from this storm follows with numerous power outages and flooding problems expected throughout the Mid-Atlantic region:

Philly, 5-10 inches, 50-70 mph peak gusts DC, 3-6 inches, 40-60 mph peak gusts (the higher amounts from DC and points to the east) NYC, 8-12 inches, 60-80 mph peak gusts Atlantic City, 8-12 inches, 60-80 mph peak gusts Boston, 3-6 inches, 60-70 mph peak gusts