26 August 2011
Irene is now a cat two storm and the wind shear has weakened it just a bit today. The wind field is very large though and flood models are indicating that it will produce significant flooding, perhaps as high as a category two storm in some places. Winds may gust to hurricane force in NYC, but sustained winds will likely be at tropical storm strength as it passes, and it will not be moving that fast- so some heavy rains up to 8 inches+ are possible. A storm surge of 4 to as much as 8 feet is possible along, and to the right of the center of Irene, as she makes landfall in New England. Over ten feet of surge is possible in extreme eastern VA and NC.
A southwesterly shear is present over the storm, (notice the lack of outflow in the south and SW quadrants of the storm) so it is unlikely that it will strengthen, but it will lose intensity very slowly, and massive power outages along the eastern seaboard are LIKELY as it moves through.
Drier air will flow into the deep south behind Irene and give residents there a break from the high heat and humidity of August.