Hurricane Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout, North Carolina for landfall early Saturday, hitting the coastline with 85 mph winds.
The really interesting part about this storm is that it is next expected to cross North Carolina from south to north, then emerge briefly back into the Atlantic, skirting along the coastline up past Virginia and Maryland, before heading for New York. When you look at a plot of the most trusted meteorological models, the so-called “spaghetti models” because they look like strands of spaghetti across the map, you see that several take Irene across New York City.
One meteorologist told ABC News he can’t recall the last time a storm like this went over the Big Apple. The closest a storm came to New York City in recent memory was Hurricane Glory in 1985, which tracked to within 75 miles.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says low-lying areas in downtown Manhattan might have to be evacuated based on the strength, path and speed of the storm.
Hurricane warnings extend from North Carolina to New York and farther north to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
From there, forecasters expect the storm to continue through New England, across New Brunswick and Newfoundland, and into the Labrador Sea as a tropical storm. It will likely remain a tropical storm well into the sea, maintaining its name as it nears Iceland.
Some storms just don’t know when to quit!
Charleston survived Irene with gusty winds and big waves, but no major damage because the storm stayed far enough off the coast, producing less rainfall than expected and, overall, calm conditions more inland.
Still, the threat of rough seas didn’t stop some people from venturing out to experience it firsthand.
Then again, it never does.
On Sullivan’s Island, firefighters rescued a swimmer who was no match for 8-foot breakers. Fortunately, they were able to get him to safety.
The Island’s assistant fire chief appropriately described it as a case of “curiosity of a cat.”