August 25, 2011 — Irene could impact the Maritimes as a tropical storm or boderline hurricane. The Weather Network's Chris Scott is keeping a close eye on the storm track.
Chris Scott, meteorologist
Irene is expected to slowly strengthen over the next couple days. The good news for Florida is that all computer models track Irene east of Florida – a complete miss. The big question is where this storm goes for the weekend.
At this point, the most likely track is over the Outer Banks of North Carolina Saturday, approaching the coast of New England on Sunday.
The hurricane force winds would be most widespread east of the track, so the details here are important – a track just offshore of both North Carolina, and perhaps most importantly New England, would spare these areas heavy damage.
Some computer model runs insist on bringing Irene into the New England coast on Sunday – this would be a worst case scenario for the U.S. northeast as hurricane force winds could affect the heavily populated areas of Long Island, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Heavy rain, possibly flooding, would be a big concern as well. It’s just too soon to call this yet, but history has shown us that most storms taking a track like Irene want to veer just offshore of New England. Computer model runs over the next couple days will tell us whether there will be an eastward trend in Irene’s track, or whether this storm will be one of the rare ones to slam New England.
What happens with Irene in the U.S. will play a huge role in what impact Irene has on Canada. An ’Earl-like’ track which just misses the U.S. coast would put the Canadian Maritimes in the crosshairs for a landfall - either a strong tropical storm or borderline Hurricane.