Hurricane Irene hasn’t changed much in strength, but is still a serious threat to the Atlantic coast.
For the record, this is the second time in two days that I’ve tried to write a hurricane post, only to have my writing process interrupted by an earthquake. Just so you know.
Here’s the 2am update from the National Hurricane Center:
My thoughts for the moment haven’t really changed from earlier, at least when it comes to the Richmond metro. Rain will fill in starting in the morning hours Saturday, and winds will pick up through the day as the center makes its closest approach off the coast of Virginia. I-95 will be the de facto dividing line, as rain will drop off rather quickly to areas west of the interstate. Winds will be rather gusty all day long, with heavy rain at times.
I’m seeing some trends in the late-night model runs that bring the center of the storm closer into land than previously thought. If this trend continues and materializes in the actual storm track, the impacts could be worse. This will be especially true closer to the coast, where winds may gust to near 100 mph.
The National Weather Service is doing everything possible to get additional data for the models to process. It’s likely that we’ll see some advisories go up in the morning. If this westward trend continues, there may be additional evacuations as well.
At this point, if you’ve got beach plans for North Carolina, Virginia (including the Eastern Shore), Maryland, or Delaware this weekend, make alternate plans. Don’t think about going to the coast, and plan on heading home soon if you’re out there now.
This is a legit storm. It’s still rated as a category 3 – a major hurricane – on the Saffir-Simpson scale. We’ll know more about the exact track as we go through the day tomorrow, but we’re running low on preparation time.