Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says the path of Hurricane Irene is being watched closely given it has gained speed and is heading into the Bahamas packing winds near 115 miles per hour. Further intensification of the category 3 storm could be seen as it moves across the warm waters near the Bahamas and heads north.
"The new storm track takes Irene close to the North Carolina coast Saturday morning," says Martell. "A northward trek would take Irene into Connecticut and Massachusetts Sunday, eventually landing in Maine Monday."
Martell says the system could bring six to eight inches of rain in a swath from coastal New Jersey to central Maine. "The Mid-Atlantic states would mostly miss out, except for the the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Delaware and coastal New Jersey where four to five inch rains are likely," she says of the updated forecast. "Most of the coastal area misses flooding rains on the GFS model Thursday-Saturday rainfall forecast."
Midwest Weather Affected By Hurricane Irene
Martell says as Irene nears the Atlantic Coast Friday, very strong, counter-clockwise winds around the storm center would affect U.S. weather, dragging cool Canadian air into the eastern third of the nation. "Hence, the 5-day maximum temperature outlook is cooler and rather close to normal in the Midwest," she says.
"Dry air sweeping southward from Canada would also hinder showers," she adds. "The Midwest forecast is dry Thursday through Saturday, as Irene treks northward near the Atlantic coast."