7:50 AM | Torrential rains and damaging winds from tonight through mid-day Sunday

Hurricane Irene is nearing landfall 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 and then to near New York City by Sunday afternoon - 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 tonight into mid-day tomorrow with up to 12 inches of rainfall possible throughout the New York City metropolitan region. Note - there will be some occasional showers and thunderstorms ahead of the main event during th day 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 here could reach hurricane-force levels in the 60-80 mph range which is very likely to bring down some trees or limbs. The North Jersey Shoreline can also expect to receive hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 80 mph or so and perhaps a foot of rain. 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: NYC, 8-12 inches, 60-80 mph peak gusts 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) Atlantic City, 8-12 inches, 60-80 mph peak gusts Boston, 3-6 inches, 60-70 mph peak gusts