Hurricane Irene is regaining strength as I speak and will be a category 4 storm (130 mph+) by tomorrow and threaten the North Carolina coast starting late Friday night. The National Hurricane Center has been behind in the game for the entire time, and frankly I’m growing a little tired of it. You can clearly see the eye now on satellite.
Expect explosive development overnight as shear diminishes and the effects of the trough to the north lessen, as Irene draws energy from the very warm gulfstream (90 degree plus water) it’s about to pass over. This storm is extremely large and even if you’re not directly in the path of the center, damage will occurs for miles and miles from the eye, so please heed all evacuation statements.
My track has not changed for the last few days and the eye will likely make make landfall near Moorehead City, NC (give or take 25 miles) as a strong category 3 or category 4 storm, then ride west of Hatteras through the western sounds and the over Norfolk, and likely right over the coast from Ocean City Maryland near cat 3 strength to NYC as a cat 1/2.
If live along the coast from the NC/SC border north, evacuate now. I’m going to my house in New Jersey to board up tonight and do just that. Don’t be stupid and stay safe.