8:00 AM | Irene has pulled to the north and conditions will improve today

Discussion

Hurricane Irene made a second landfall early this morning as a category 1 storm about 10 miles ESE of Atlantic City, NJ near Little Egg Harbor Inlet. This is the first hurricane to make landfall in the US since 2008 and, in the case of Irene, it actually made landfall twice, once in North Carolina and now in Southern New Jersey. Winds are currently sustained at 75 mph with gusts of up to 90 mph and Irene should reach the New York City region by early afternoon and weaken to tropical storm status. Widespread power outages and flooding problems have occurred throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and there are 3 million homes without power from North Carolina northward. In the DC region PEPCO reported power outages of nearly 200,000 homes late last night and rainfall totals of up to 6 inches have been reported east of I-95 with lesser amounts to the west. The rain should wind down here during the mid-to-late morning hours after one more rain band swings through from the southwest to the northeast. Rain will tend to end first in places like Manassas and Chantilly and last across Bethesda and Laurel. Winds will continue to gust for a few hours after the rain ends, perhaps up to 50 mph, but then will die down quickly late today and the sun will likely make an appearance. Do not assume that there will be no more branches or limbs falling down. The winds on the back side of the storm are from a different direction, and the brunt of the pressure will be on a different part of the tree that may be in a weakened state. The next several days look rather nice; however, many of the power outages and flooding problems will linger.