Wind gusts up to 60 mph expected

Published 10:05 am Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene approaches.

Click on the image to see the latest track for Irene.

FRANKLIN—A slightly weaker Hurricane Irene is now expected to bring wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and 5 to 7 inches of rain to Western Tidewater.

Sustained winds are expected to be 40 to 50 mph.

The area joined the rest of southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina under a hurricane warning.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds have dropped from 115 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour. Some strengthening is possible today, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Proch.

Rain could start as early as a couple of hours from now as scattered bands will come ashore ahead of Irene, Proch said. The outer fringes of the precipitation wall should start to come ashore in the next eight to ten hours.

The latest track has the storm on the threshold between Category 2 and Category 3 strength before the eye of the storm sweeps across the Outer Banks and gets within 15 miles of the Virginia Beach shoreline.