Things are looking a bit better for Florida and Georgia this afternoon vis-a-vis Hurricane Irene. The same strengthening factors as mentioned in yesterday’s blog remain in play today, while at the same time the models seem to have stabilized their shifting tracks of the past few days.

That means that after Irene blasts through the Bahamas, she’s expected to turn a bit more toward the north and place her laser targeting dot on the Carolinas, most likely extreme eastern North Carolina.

Since Irene is forecast to be a major (cat 3 or 4) hurricane, I hope those of you who read Eyewall will take the lesson of the novel to heart. Don’t try to ride out a real-life eyewall and its accompanying storm surge. When the authorities tell you to evacuate, beat feet.

Irene is going to be nasty, not only for eastern portions of the Tar Heel State, but quite possibly for areas farther north, too. The hurricane could turn out to be a coast hugger all the way from Tidewater Virginia to New England, Long Island included. But that’s a ways off. Plenty of time for the models to display their “windshield wiper” mode, whipping the projected track back and forth.

-August 23, 2011-

IMAGE: Visible satellite shot of Hurricane Irene just north of Hispaniola today. It’s not yet a classic-looking hurricane, but an incipient eye is apparent (the shaded circle in the center of the image).

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