A direct hit from a cat 1 hurricane is still a likely scenario. All preps for Irene should be ready by Sat night. So you have plenty of time. If this is a direct hit, make sure you have enough non-perishables and supplies to last you a week just in case. If the NHC track is right, we will get the worst from the storm. If it wobbles W, the storm will experience more land interaction and weaken. If it wobbles E, we may get more rain (1' possible) but we will be spared the worst winds.
Irene continues to move NNW at 12 mph as a major category three hurricane as of the 5PM update. Irene is expected to turn north by Friday. The new track issued by the National Hurricane Center has been nudged westward. Remember we shouldn’t focus on the exact track of Irene. Significant impacts will be felt well away from the storm’s center.
Right now the latest track takes the storm into eastern North Carolina then heading north through Virginia Beach. Southern New Jersey will get hit after that, as Irene makes another landfall as a category two hurricane! There is already a hurricane watch in effect for the entire New Jersey shoreline. After making landfall the storm is forecast to weaken into a category one hurricane, passing over New York City and into western Connecticut.
Showers will develop throughout the day on Saturday from Irene’s outer rain bands. But the heaviest rain and strongest wind will come on Sunday. If the track remains west of Connecticut, the heaviest rain will stay west of the state. But the worst winds are often east of the storm’s track. Damaging winds, flooding and some storm surge are still a real threat.