Irene On Track To Soak N.C., Barrel North Toward New York

Aug 26, 2011

Though Hurricane Irene has weakened slightly and its projected track has been nudged east just a bit, it's still headed for what could be a devastating collision with the East Coast of the U.S. that will affect tens of millions of people from North Carolina to New England over the weekend.

According to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Irene is now a Category 2 hurricane (meaning its winds are between 96 and 110 mph). That means it has weakened slightly since this time Thursday, when it was a Category 3.

But, the Hurricane Center warns, "Irene is expected to be near the Category 2/3 boundary when it reaches the vicinity of [North Carolina's] Outer Banks" very early on Saturday. From there, it will head north along the coast and is likely to take "dead aim" on New York City on Sunday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he may order a mandatory evacuation of the city's low-lying areas, including parts of lower Manhattan.

Utilities, such as the Washington area's Pepco, are "already warning customers that they could be without power for some time," The Washington Post reports.

We will be following developments through the weekend.

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