Hurricane Irene and I are on a collision course
See her tomorrow afternoon
Today I am in Cincinnati Ohio. I will depart in the morning for the 9 hour drive back to Washington DC through the foothills and then Appalachian mountains. I expect to hit some rain in the afternoon which is not uncommon in the summer.
As we cross the Eastern Continental Divide, I expect the winds to pick up as we travel through the mountains. I am driving a Hundai SUV and it is handling perfectly and is getting great mileage.
As we get close to the DC Metro area late Thursday, I expect we will see the worst of whatever is happening. I anticipate Irene will bounce along coastal Virginia on its way to NYC.
Irene Upgraded to Major Category 3 Hurricane as It Nears East Coast
Published August 24, 2011
DEVELOPING: Hurricane Irene has become a major Category 3 hurricane, packing winds of 115 mph as it makes its way to the East Coast, where evacuations began early Wednesday on a tiny barrier island off North Carolina.
Irene has grown considerably more powerful since Tuesday evening, moving from Category 1 to Category 3 -- the threshold for major hurricane classification -- in under 12 hours. Additional strengthening was forecast Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
The evacuation in North Carolina was a test of whether people in the crosshairs of the first major hurricane along the East Coast in years would heed orders to get out of the way.
The first ferry to leave Ocracoke Island arrived just before 5:30 a.m. in nearby Hatteras with around a dozen cars on board.
It won't be easy to get thousands of people off Ocracoke Island, which is accessible only by boat. The 16-mile-long barrier island is home to about 800 year-round residents and a tourist population that swells into the thousands when vacationers rent rooms and cottages. Tourists were told to evacuate Wednesday. Island residents were told to get out on Thursday.
It wasn't clear how many people on the first arriving ferry Wednesday morning were tourists, but the first two cars to drive off it had New York and New Jersey plates.
Getting off the next ferry about an hour later was a family that included newlywed Jennifer Baharek, 23, of Torrington, Conn. She and her husband, Andrew, were married Monday and planned to spend their honeymoon on the island.
"We just got to spend one day on the beach and then we went to bed early to get up for the evacuation," she said.
Federal officials have warned Irene could cause flooding, power outages or worse all along the East Coast as far north as Maine, even if it stays offshore. The projected path has gradually shifted to the east, though Irene is still expected to make landfall as a major hurricane in North Carolina sometime over the weekend. It is then expected to continue trudging northward.