Irene Weakens Slightly, Rain Bands Felt in Carolinas

Now a Category 2 hurricane, Irene makes its way up coast

Irene weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane as it made its way up the east coast Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The main impacts Florida saw as Irene made its way northward, were rainfall in the northeast from the outer bands, gusty conditions and high surf, said David Zelinsky, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.

"As Irene continues to move northward, the waves will diminish and the risk will diminish," Zelinksy said.

As of the latest NHC advisory at 8 p.m., Irene was moving north-northeast at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph about 235 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Tropical storm force winds were arriving on the coast of the Carolinas, the hurricane center said.

Hurricane warnings were in effect from the South Carolina and North Carolina border up to Sagamore Beach, Mass. That includes New York City, Long Island, coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island, where evacuations have been ordered in some areas.

A tropical storm warning was also in effect  just southwest of Charleston to the North Carolina South Carolina border, and in the area of the Chesapeake Bay from Drum Point northward and the tidal Potomac, and for parts of Massachusetts.

A tropical watch was in effect for parts of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

Parts of southeastern Canada should also monitor the progress of Irene, officials warned.

Irene was expected to turn toward the north-northeast but remain a Category 2 as it approaches the North Carolina coast Saturday, Zelinsky said.

Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 90 miles from Irene's center with tropical storm force winds extending 290 miles.

The hurricane center said large swells from Irene were affecting portions of the southeastern coast of the U.S. They can cause dangerous rip currents and surfing conditions.

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