Here is the AccuWeather radar image of Irene at 9:20am EDT. She is officially ashore.
She continues to move a little east of north on the track we have been forecasting. Here is the forecast track from the hurricane center as of 9am EDT:
Hurricane warnings are now in effect all the way to Boston and Cape Cod. In the newly warned areas, preparation for sustained winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90-95 mph should be completed before dark tonight.
Unfortunately, the power scenario is playing out as expected. According to AccuWeather, as of 6am, 189,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are without power. AccuWeather has more great info on Irene’s effects at the link.
The tornado watch has been extended northward. Two tornadoes — with damage and injuries — have already been reported. Mobile homes were damaged. A mobile home is no place to ride out Irene. Find more substantial shelter. Here is the current tornado watch. It will almost certainly be extended past the 11am expiration time.
Major flooding continues to be a threat with very high rainfalls forecast in addition to what has already fallen:
There is one peculiarity of the storm worth mentioning. While maximum sustained surface winds as of 9am were 90 mph (with higher gusts), sustained winds were 115 mph aloft. This does not matter in eastern North Carolina. It may matter quite a bit if the center of the storm goes over Manhattan in terms of damage to skyscrapers (i.e., objects like antennas blown off roofs and causing more damage as they fall) even if the storm weakens before arriving.
So, there are still many potential dangers with Irene.
With that in mind, here is my choice for today’s storm song, the original album version: