East Coast Braces for Hurricane Irene
Following a rare earthquake on Tuesday, the northeastern United States is preparing for an equally rare hurricane this weekend. Hurricane Irene is expected to travel closely along the East Coast, affecting areas from the Outer Banks, N.C. to as far north as Portland, Maine.
The National Weather Service has stated a hurricane warning is in effect from Little River Inlet, N.C., to Sandy Hook, N.J., and all in between areas. A hurricane watch is in effect for the area north of Sandy Hook to Merrimack River, Mass., including New York City, Long Island and Boston. Those cities within the warning area should expect hurricane conditions somewhere in the vicinity.
The storm is expected to make its closest approach to eastern North Carolina by Friday night and continue along the coast, approaching New York by Sunday and New England by Monday. Winds will range anywhere from 110 miles per hour down to 50 miles per hour for the northernmost areas.
As of noon on Friday, Hurricane Irene was labeled a Category 3 hurricane, with winds of 105 miles per hour and moving at a speed of 14 miles per hour. The storm was approximately 315 miles outside of North Carolina, and would likely approach the northeastern coast of that state by evening, bringing with it hurricane conditions throughout the night and through Saturday.
Officials are urging people to stay away from coastal areas or large bodies of water in regions within North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and parts of New England. A state of emergency has been declared in several states, and parts of the affected areas were being evacuated as early as Thursday. If you live in an area being evacuated, please follow all instructions from local officials and leave as soon as possible.