Hurricane Irene remains a category 1 hurricane at 11 AM and is located right over the Pamlico Sound of eastern North Carolina. Sustained winds were measured at 85 mph with gusts recorded to 105 mph. The barometric pressure at the center of Irene is 28.10 inches and it is moving NNE at 14 mph. Some of the highest wind gusts reported so far include the following: 115 mph at Cedar Island, North Carolina, 88 mph at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 63 at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Tropical-force winds (39-73 mph) are consistent at this time across southeastern Virginia and these higher winds are on the way up the coast and will reach the I-95 corridor this evening. Outer bands of rain are spinning around the center of Irene and are now moving into the I-95 region from DC to New York City. Rains will increase in intensity during the early and mid afternoon hours and then the winds will pick in intensity during the late afternoon and early evening hours so that by the middle of the evening all parts of the DC to New York City corridor will be facing the full fury of Irene. After raging all night in the I-95 corridor, Irene’s rain and wind will wind down by early tomorrow across DC, then mid-day across Philly, and then by late in the afternoon in the New York City region. The expected rainfall amounts and peak wind gusts have not changed from earlier forecasts and are as follows:
DC, 3-6 inches, 40-60 mph peak wind gusts
Philly, 5-10 inches, 50-70 mph peak wind gusts
NYC, 8-12 inches, 60-80 peak wind gusts
This storm will cause widespread flooding problems and power outages throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. If you are in a flood prone area, stay safe and leave before the brunt of the storm hits by early tonight as waters will rise rapidly due to this immense “wall of water” that is headed our way. Thunderstorms will be mixed in on occasion during this storm and there is a small chance that tornadoes will develop; especially, closer to coastal sections. Sunshine may actually make an appearance on Sunday throughout the Mid-Atlantic region as the clean-up begins.