August 23rd, 2011
10:52 AM ET

Irene intensifies as it roars toward Carolina coast

An intensifying Hurricane Irene churned northwestward over the tropical waters of the Caribbean Tuesday and is projected to make landfall in the United States this weekend.

The five-day forecast map puts the storm on the Carolina coast by Saturday evening, although the National Hurricane Center said predictions this far out can be hundreds of miles off, meaning most of the southeast is potentially at risk.

"The Southeast coast of the U.S. will feel some impacts from this storm," meteorologist Wallace Hogsett said. "It's difficult to say whether that will be in terms of big waves or whether it's a more direct impact."

Emergency officials in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas stepped up operations in preparation for the first dangerous storm to threaten the United States in three years.

Irene became a Category 2 hurricane Monday evening, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. The storm could strengthen to a Category 3, which would make it a major hurricane, forecasters said.

"The storm was already stronger than we were forecasting," said John Cangialosi, a specialist with the Miami-based hurricane center.

He said Irene, the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season, could even approach Category 4 status as it gathers steam over tropical waters.

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Filed under: Florida • Georgia • Hurricanes • North Carolina • South Carolina • Virginia • Weather
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    hopefully it heads west...they need the rain..

    August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ginger

    We will be moving out no.way this one isn't going to be a big storm. Be praying for all who stay

    August 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bing

    Its been awhile for the Carolinas....hope its not another Hugo.

    August 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    Texas would happily take it off y'alls hands! We need rain like a mothah, over here! That's the discrepancy that pi.ss.es. people off , lot's of rain here to the point of floods, no rain there to the point of fire & drought! Plus economy 1 flush away from longterm septic problems! Holy crapola, what can we do to rectify! 2 much on our heads to correctify!Find some true leaders 2 electify!Must b informed 2 selectify!!

    August 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaronsound

      nice rhymes!

      August 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whizerd

      Call the HAARP officials..they might be able to help you..for the right price.

      August 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CNN IDIOTS

    RAWR

    August 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat2u

    This truly could be a bad one. Wishing the best for all you Carolinians. We on the gulf coast will be there for you if needed.

    August 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • South Carolina

      We appreciate it. We'll let you know!

      August 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Makingmecrazy

    Good luck guys!!! The Panhandle is thinking about you and keeping our fingers crossed that this storm slows down and moves out quickly with no damage!

    August 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. expat in Dom Rep

    Here in Santo Domingo, the eye passed well North of us two days ago, but as this baby intensifies, the waves of bands we're feeling today – thunderstorms and flash cloudbursts – are the worse we've felt thus far... Therefore, those in Irene's path or even periphery, take heed: this storm is DANGErOUS!!! Prepare and/or evacuate... Better safe than sorry!

    August 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |