As of 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, August 25, 2011 (NHC Advisory #21): Hurricane Irene has turned North-Northwestward and is currently moving at a heading of 330° at 13 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. This NNW track is expected to continue tonight, with Irene turning North by early Friday. Irene remains a major hurricane with Category 3 strength. Additional strengthening is possible today and tonight.
As Hurricane Irene approaches, the Cape Canaveral offshore buoy (@buoy41010) has continued to report increasing wave and wind observations, with significant wave heights of 13.5 feet, and wind speeds of 25 knots (33 knot gusts) reported at 11:20 a.m. EDT. These conditions are forecast to intensify throughout Thursday and Friday, before subsiding into the weekend as the Hurricane continues North.
Looking further up the coast, the forecast for Masonboro Inlet, NC (@buoy41110) shows a building Southeast swell in the 8-10 feet at 15 seconds range for Friday, but with strengthening East winds. Things get really intense on Saturday, with 14-foot wave heights and 40+ knot winds rotating NE to NW throughout the day.
Further North, the Virgina Beach offshore (@buoy44014) forecast shows a solid South-Southeast pulse on Friday (5-9 feet at 12-seconds 150°), but increasing SSE winds are poised to blow it out. Both the surf and wind continue to intensify on Saturday into Sunday, with strong winds rotating direction from East-Southeast to West as Irene passes.
Stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center for the latest on Hurricane Irene, and stay safe out there!