With the latest forecasts predicting that Irene will bring winds up to 95 miles per hour and nearly eight inches of rain to Connecticut and New York, Hurricane Watches have been extended into our area.
The watches have been issued for Long Island, the New York City area and southern counties of Connecticut. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for the northern counties of Connecticut, as well as Berkshire, Ulster, and Dutchess counties in southern New York.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions (winds in excess of 74 miles per hour) are possible within the next 48 hours.
As of 8 a.m., Irene has weakened just slightly with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. This is still a very strong category 2 hurricane, and may reintinsify slightly before first hitting the North Carolina coast sometime tomorrow.
The latest projections from the National Hurricane Center are putting Irene just off the Maryland coast by 2 a.m. Sunday with maximum sustained winds projected to still be near 100 miles per hour.
During the day Sunday, Irene is forecast to make a direct hit through central Connecticut. Winds are still forecast to be at Category 1 strength (between 74 and 95 miles per hour) by that time. In addition to the strong winds, new model data is suggesting between six and eight inches of rain by the time Irene passes.
Stay plugged into Patch for updates on Irene.