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Hurricane Watches Extended Into Central Jersey

With Irene slowly approaching, hurricane watches have been issued as far north as central New Jersey.

The latest on Irene from the National Hurricane Center has led to hurricane watches for much of the eastern seaboard, from North Carolina to New Jersey.

With sustained winds of 115 miles per hour as of 5 p.m., the Category 3 hurricane is predicted to hit eastern North Carolina by 2 p.m. Saturday.

By 2 p.m. Sunday, Irene is expected to be right along the New Jersey coast with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. This is slightly weaker than , simply due to the fact that models have shifted a bit westward over more land.

Based on this track, wind can still be a serious threat; 70- to 80-mile-per-hour winds are likely, especially along the shoreline. Due to the counter-clockwise rotation around the storm system, winds are typically stronger on the right side.

A storm surge may also be an issue along the coastline. Winds will help to funnel water into the Long Island Sound and, potentially, keep it there. How strong and how high the surge could be is highly dependent on Irene's exact track and intensity.

Patch will continue to monitor Hurricane Irene and provide additional updates as new information becomes available.

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