Tuesday, August 23, 2011

..Hurricane Irene..

- Irene strengthened to a category 2 hurricane Monday evening and has since maintained that strength.

- Irene is centered 70 miles south of Grand Turk Island with top winds of 100 mph and is moving toward the west-northwest at 12 mph.

- Irene is forecast to become a major hurricane (wind speeds higher than 111 mph) by Wednesday morning.

- A hurricane warning is in effect for the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

- A hurricane watch is in effect for the north coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas eastward to the Dominican Republic border.

- A tropical storm warning is posted for the north coast of Hispaniola.

- Irene will now move northwestward through the Bahamas through Thursday.

- Along with destructive winds, battering waves and up to a 13-foot storm surge, Irene will cause deadly flash flooding and mudslides across northern Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands and eventually all of the Bahamas with rainfall locally over 1 foot.

- Heavy rainfall is still occurring in bands over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

- Another 1 to 3 inches of rain are possible in Puerto Rico continuing the threat of flash flooding and mudslides.

- After departing the Northwest Bahamas early Friday Irene should parallel the Florida and Georgia coasts later Friday and approach the coast of the Carolinas later Saturday.

- Even though Irene is expected to miss Florida and Georgia to the east, it is a larger-than-average hurricane, so both coasts will still see some impacts, including gusty winds, squally showers, dangerous surf and strong rip currents.

- Over the weekend, the eastern Carolinas and especially eastern North Carolina will deal with destructive winds, flooding rains, high storm surge and coastal flooding, battering waves and deadly rip currents as Irene moves through.

- Irene could then threaten the eastern portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with damaging winds, flooding rains and coastal surge, flooding and high waves Sunday through early next week.