Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Cat. 3, Major Hurricane

A status change for Irene makes her a major player in this week's weather for a large portion of the United States.

Hurricane Irene has strengthened to a major Category 3 storm as it heads toward the East Coast.

Hurricane Irene is gaining strength on a course that may take it near North Carolina this weekend and into southern New England early next week. Not only that, but with a max sustained wind of 120 mph and 150 mph gusts, Irene packs a big punch, and areas under the gun next week include Washington DC, New York City, and Boston.

Evacuations have begun on a tiny barrier island off North Carolina early Wednesday in a test of whether people in the
crosshairs of the first serious hurricane along the East Coast in years will heed orders to get out of the way.

Irene is centered over the Bahamas Wednesday and is moving west-northwest near 12 mph.
Not convinced? Look at this:
“Irene is an extremely dangerous storm,” says Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground Inc. in Ann Arbor. “It has the highest potential of any storm in the last 50 years to make it all the way to New England as a Category 3.”

We'll continue to track Irene and keep you posted.