8:30 AM | Severe weather threat today and then torrential rains and damaging winds from Irene this weekend

6-Day Forecast

Today

Mostly cloudy, warm and humid with showers and thunderstorms possible from mid-morning on, some of the storms will be severe with strong winds, brief downpours and possible hail, highs in the mid-to-upper 80’s

Tonight

Evening showers and thunderstorms still possible and some of the storms could be strong, lows in the mid 60’s

Friday

Partly sunny, warm, low-to-mid 80’s; chance for showers and thunderstorms late at night

Saturday

Showers and thunderstorms overspreading the region with tropical storm conditions developing Saturday night to include torrential rain and damaging winds, upper 70’s for highs and mid 60’s for lows overnight

Sunday

Tropical storm conditions with torrential rains and damaging winds, mid-to-upper 70’s

Monday

Mostly sunny, breezy, near 80

Tuesday

Partly sunny, warm, highs in the low 80’s

Discussion

Irene continues to be a major threat to the Mid-Atlantic for the weekend with numerous power outages and flooding problems likely. Before we get to that story, however, we must deal with potential severe weather for today. A strong cool front will cross the region later today and will set off some strong thunderstorms from mid-morning on that can contain downpours, damaging winds and possible hail. Once this front passes through the region it will stall to our south and pave the way for tropical moisture to move our way out ahead of Hurricane Irene. Irene is headed for the Outer Banks region of North Carolina as a major hurricane (ie category 3 or higher) by late Saturday and then will move along the east coast to a position over or just off the New Jersey coast by Sunday afternoon still maintaining hurricane status. Then after crossing near New York City on Sunday night, Irene will move towards western Massachusetts on early Monday while weakening into a tropical storm. This storm has several ominous features that make it a very dangerous storm for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast; especially, along the coast from North Carolina to Maine. First, it is a powerful hurricane - possibly reaching category 4 before making landfall on Saturday. Second, it is a larger-than-normal hurricane which means it will contain heavy rain and strong winds over a very large area. Third, it appears that this system will only slowly weaken as it rides up the east coast thanks in part to warm sea surface temperatures up the coast. All of this suggests an extreme weather event is in the offing near and along the coast from North Carolina to Maine and torrential rain and devastating winds will occur inland as well back to near the I-95 corridor. All of the major cities from DC to Boston will be impacted severely by Irene this weekend with the brunt of the storm here Saturday night and early Sunday including wind gusts to 70 mph possible. Stay tuned for updates on this serious weather event for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Video

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