Here's the Tuesday morning visible satellite image of Category Two Hurricane Irene with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, as viewed from space:
Hurricane Irene did not strengthen overnight, but is becoming better organized as it moves away from the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Irene's track through the Bahamas looks likely based on good consistency between forecast models.
Sea surface temperatures are very warm and highly favorable for intensification of Irene as it passes into and over the Bahamas. By Wednesday, Irene should have strengthened into a "major" hurricane at Category Three strength of winds at least 111 mph or stronger. While continuing to pass over these warm waters east of Florida, this intensity should be maintained.
An upper-level wave from the U.S. should encourage Irene to take a more northerly shift late Saturday into early Sunday, aiming Irene for the southern North Carolina coast:
It is crucial as we look into this weekend to not pay as close attention to the little red hurricane icon on the map, but rather to the white highlighted area of potential impact in our region:
Speaking of the "area of impact," here are some of the possible weather impacts we may experience in central Virginia:
Here is the model spread for our region of the Mid-Atlantic Coast (the lines represent the various forecast centers of the storm's track):
Irene should continue as an extremely strong cyclone as it transitions to an extra-tropical system in New England Sunday-Monday next week:
Stay with CBS6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm.
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose