Hurricane Irene moves closer to our area

PHILADELPHIA - August 26, 2011

RELATED: Get the latest track of Irene with the Hurricane Tracker.

The latest radar shows Irene's maximum sustained winds remain at 100 mph making it a Category 2 hurricane moving north-northeast at 13 mph.

The outer cloud bands of Irene could be seen on StomTracker 6 radar moving into our region.

As the track stands now, Irene will be just off the coast of Virginia by 8:00 p.m. Saturday.

Then it heads into our direction.

Irene is expected to swipe the coast of Delaware, moving just inland across New Jersey as a Category 1 hurricane.

Specifically, we expect an inland hit right near Atlantic City very early Sunday morning, at around 2:30 a.m.

Then it looks like it will follow up west of the Garden State Parkway then move up north of Lakehurst by 6:00 a.m. Sunday.

Flood watches are up throughout the entire viewing area late Saturday through Sunday.

The first rain bands of Irene will arrive in the area around 9:00 a.m. Saturday.

Through the afternoon, heavier rain comes in. At around midnight Sunday, the heaviest band of rain will begin in the Wildwood, southern Cape May County area.

The heavy band will continue with the eye of the storm around Atlantic City near 7:00 a.m. Sunday.

Then by Sunday afternoon, around 3:00 p.m., the storm will be lifting away from the area.

Nearly 5 to 10 inches of rain are expected along the I-95 corridor, 6 to 12 inches is expected down the shore, and 3 to 6 inches in the Lehigh Valley.

As for the wind, the highest wind gusts at Saturday 10:00 a.m. are expected to be 40 mph in Cape May County.

However, as the day progresses, the wind gusts get higher and even moreso overnight.

In the Jersey Shore, the peak wind gusts are expected to be 70 to 100 mph.

Inland parts of the Delaware Valley including Philadelphia, central New Jersey, and Delaware will reach 50 to 70 mph peak wind gusts.

Far to the north and west, winds will reach 30 to 50 mph in the Lehigh Valley including the Poconos, Lancaster, and Berks County.

Storm surge is a major concern during high tide from 7:00 a.m. to Noon. The shore and back bays can expect 3 to 6 foot storm surge.

By Sunday afternoon, we expect to see the return of some sunshine.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are under states of emergency as Irene moves closer.


RELATED: How to prepare for Hurricane Irene

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