Irene Update: Track Moved East Overnight
Hurricane Irene is proving a difficult storm to pin down, but latest models have it skirting the New Jersey coast.
As of Friday morning, some forecast models show Hurricane Irene nicking the North Carolina coast, then passing off the New Jersey coast.
While this is better than a direct hit to our area, we are by no means in the clear since the track of the storm can still change dramatically and it appears that no matter which track Irene takes, our area is in for some major flooding.
According to the 8 a.m. forecast from the National Weather Service, Irene will be a Category 2 hurricane when its eye moves past southern Delaware early Sunday morning with sustained winds of more than 73 mph.
That forecast shows Irene shooting north off the New Jersey coast. However, the possible forecast error shows that Irene could still track well inland.
The National Weather Service is predicting that Hurricane Irene will impact Bucks and Montgomery counties beginning late Saturday night and into Sunday.
Current forecasts call for flooding rain and sustained winds of 40-50 mph with gusts to 60 mph or higher. This level of wind can cause downed trees, widespread & extended power outages, and other infrastructure disruption. Heavy rain will cause localized flooding.
In his forecast this morning, Accuweather.com's Alex Sosnowski said that regardless of the track, "Irene will bring serious flooding from heavy rain in the coastal mid-Atlantic and portions of New England. It is not a question, not a risk; it is a certainty."