Hello, Irene

Here she comes…

Irene's track as of 2 p.m., Aug. 26. From NOAA Hurricane Center

We’re getting the first rains from Hurricane Irene in Greenville right now, though the storm doesn’t truly make landfall until around 8 a.m. tomorrow.  Though she’s been downgraded to a Category 2, she still has the potential to make a mess of coastal North Carolina and the Outer Banks.  What’s getting all the press is that Irene is the first hurricane in 20 years to head towards New England, prompting the evacuation of some 270,000 people from low-lying areas of New York City.  On the other hand, news of the category downgrade has some claiming that this will be a repeat of Hurricane Earl, which threatened to flatten the east coast and instead took a sharp right turn and died with a whimper out in the Atlantic.

In any case, play it safe out there.  Keep track of where this thing is going and plan accordingly (my personal favorite tracking site is StormPulse, where you can toggle everything from the individual models to the radar to get a better idea of what’s going on).  Remember, there’s no shame in settling in with beer and pizza until this blows over.