As of 5AM Eastern Time Monday, Irene strengthened just north of Puerto Rico to a Category One hurricane, our first hurricane of the 2011 season.
Hurricane Irene is aiming for the Bahamas mid-week, then should hug along the east coast of Florida Friday:
Into this weekend (Saturday and Sunday), the outer edges of Irene should begin spreading northward into Virginia, bringing us rainfall, gusty winds, and potentially some severe weather. Forecast tracks a week from now indicate with good consistency that Irene's remnants will pass over Virginia:
We can expect heavy rainfall, which can lead to flooding (particularly in lower-lying parts of Virginia), potentially brief, weak tornadoes, and strong wind gusts (depending on how much Irene weakens as it moves farther inland through the Carolinas) that can knock out power.
You can keep up with the latest updates on Hurricane Irene using our CBS 6 Hurricane Tracker Tool by clicking here.
If you have outdoor plans scheduled for this upcoming weekend, I strongly advise you to make solid indoor backup plans now. In addition, we should all prepare for potential power outages and flooding this weekend. Here are some items you should have ready:
As a reminder, we are now in the thick of what is climatologically our most active time of the hurricane season. Heightened tropical activity will likely continue through October:
Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm.
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose