At 5:00 am EDT this morning the center of Hurricane Irene was about 15 mi south-southeast of Atlantic City New Jersey. Irene is moving toward the north-northeast near 18 mph and this motion accompanied by a gradual increase in forward speed is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track the center of Irene will move near or over the coast of New Jersey and over western Long Island this morning and move inland over southern New England by this afternoon. Irene is forecast to move into eastern Canada tonight.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Irene is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Little change in strength is expected before Irene moves inland later today. After landfall in New England Irene is forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical cyclone by tonight or early Monday. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 320 miles. Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches from eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey into eastern New York and interior New England. These rains combined with heavy rains over the past few weeks could cause widespread flooding life-threatening flash floods and significant uprooting of trees due to rain-softened grounds. Many Hurricane Warnings and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect.