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Forecast track for Hurricane Irene

About 575 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Maximum sustained winds: 115 mph

Present movement: north-northwest or 335 degrees at 14 mph

Minimum central pressure: 950 mb or 28.05 inches of mercury

Local Discussion…

The center of Irene is about 410 miles south-southeast of Savannah.

No tropical cyclone advisories are posted for us, but tropical storm warnings are posted just north of the area from Edisto Beach northward including Charleston. Tropical storm warnings are also posted for the coastal waters of Georgia and South Carolina.

Powerful hurricane Irene has winds of 115 mph this morning and has the potential to strengthen a bit today and tonight as it moves away from the Bahamas and heads NNW and N and offshore the central/northern Florida coast by tomorrow morning.

The center of Irene should pass around 200 miles or so east of Tybee Island Friday afternoon through Friday evening with winds expected to average around 120 mph near the center of circulation. All of the hurricane winds will hold well offshore the GA/lower SC coast and tropical storm winds should hold across the coastal waters, east of the coastal islands. Tropical storm force winds are possible north of Colleton County.

Here is what to expect…

1. Heavy & high surf… averaged 4-6 foot swells tonight… possible sets 1 or even 2 feet higher at times. Friday average 6-8 foot swells… possibly sets 1 or even 2 feet higher at times. We recommend you stay out of the water today and tomorrow. Surf heights will drop off considerably Saturday… but still could be quite rough… particularly in the am.

2. High risk of dangerous rip currents today through Saturday.

3. Shallow coastal flooding at times of high tide.

4. Minor to perhaps moderate beach erosion… particularly during times of high tide.

5. Winds… tonight NE becoming E at 7-14 mph… gusting to 20 mph at the coast. A brief lull in the wind this evening out of the E.. then breezes pick up tonight becoming NNE as the NW circulation begins to work in… 7-14 mph gusting to 20 to 25 mph at the coast late. N winds 25 to 35 mph Friday… windy weather… highest near the coastal islands. Winds will gradually diminish Friday night… and substantially diminish Saturday.

6. Rand bands from Irene… May begin working onshore late tonight… a chance of showers or rain bands moving into the coast Friday through Friday evening… tapering off Friday night. Dry weather returns for the weekend.

NHC Discussion…

A hurricane warning is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, the coast of North Carolina from Little River Inlet northward to the Virginia border – including the Pamlico, Albemarle, and Currituck Sounds.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Virginia/North Carolina border northward to Sandy Hook, New Jersey – including Delaware Bay, and Chesapeake Bay south of Smith Point.

A tropical storm warning is in effect north of Edisto Beach, South Carolina to Little River Inlet. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point northward and the Tidal Potomac.

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic states and New England should monitor the progress of Irene.

At 5:00 pm the center of Hurricane Irene was located near latitude 27.0 north, longitude 77.3 west. Irene is moving toward the north-northwest near 14 mph. This motion is expected to continue through tonight with a turn toward the north by early Friday. The core of the hurricane will move north of the northwestern Bahamas tonight, and pass well offshore of the east coast of central and north Florida tonight and early Friday. The hurricane is forecast to approach the coast of North Carolina on Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph with higher gusts. Irene is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Some strengthening is possible tonight and Friday. I

rene is a large tropical cyclone. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 290 miles.

The latest minimum central pressure reported by reconnaissance aircraft is 950 mb or 28.05 inches of mercury.

Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are occurring over portions of the northwestern Bahamas, but should begin to diminish overnight. Tropical storm force winds are expected within the southern portion of the warning area along the United States east coast by late Friday. Hurricane force winds are expected to first reach the hurricane warning area by Saturday.

In the northwestern Bahamas in areas of onshore winds near the center of Irene, an extremely dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels over the northwestern Bahamas. Water levels will gradually subside over the central Bahamas tonight. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.

Along the eastern coast of the United States, an extremely dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 5 to 10 feet above ground level within the hurricane warning area including the Ablemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large, destructive, and life-threatening waves. Irene also has the potential to produce significant storm surge flooding within the hurricane watch area including portions of the Chesapeake Bay, tributaries, and the eastern shore.

Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over the northern Bahamas. Storm total rainfall amounts of 6 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches is expected over portions of eastern North Carolina and in the Mid-Atlantic states along the path of Irene.

Swells generated by Irene are affecting portions of the coast of the southeastern United States. These swells will cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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