Hurricane Irene Strengthens In Bahamas, North Carolina In Path Now

While Hurricane Irene continues to pummel Nassau, and the rest of the Bahamas, residents of North Carolina are preparing for the worst.  And the worst is a very possible direct hit by Hurricane Irene.

Irene is currently approaching the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, heading north-northwest at 13 mph.  Current sustained winds are 115 mph with higher gusts to 140 mph at times, with a minimum cental pressure of 951 MB.    Apparently, it is not clear if there has been an eyewall replacement, and the eye does not appear to be as clear in satellite imagery as it was yesterday.  This provides some hope that Hurricane Irene will not be strengthening as much as forecast yesterday.

All that being said, the National Hurricane Center is saying that conditions are favorable for hurricane strengthening over the next48 hours.  NHC also shifted their forecast of exptected path for Hurricane Irene, shifting it a little the west, meaning a direct hit on North Carolina is certainly very possible by Saturday.  There is still some question on where the direct hit will occur as a shift in the path to the North and Northeast is forecast for Saturday.

Given the uncertainty, coastal NC and VA, residents are urged to prepare now, and evacuate where ordered to.  Hurricane Irene is expected to strengthen slightly before hitting North Carolina, with forecast winds of 125 mph.  After turning more Northeasterly, residents of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York will have to brace for a rather wet and wild weekend as well.

Navy orders warships in Va. out of Irene’s path
Beaver County Times, on Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:07:47 -0700

The US Navy ordered ships in its biggest East Coast center to head out to safer waters on Thursday to protect them from approaching Hurricane Irene. The Hampton Roads region in southeastern Virginia is home to several Navy installations, including the 


Gov. Christie issues state of emergency ahead of hurricane; officials say stay …
The Trentonian, on Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:07:44 -0700

Chris Christie has signed a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irene. The declaration clears the way for the state to deploy resources, such as the National Guard, to counties and municipalities as they prepare for the storm. 


Evacuations in NC as Hurricane Irene approaches
Daily Comet, on Wed, 24 Aug 2011 21:37:47 -0700

Meanwhile, a new tropical depression formed far out over the Atlantic on Thursday, with the National Hurricane Center saying it would likely become a tropical storm later in the day. Associated Press writers Tom Breen and Michael Biesecker in Raleigh,