Hurricane Irene has intensified to a Category 3 storm (on a 1 to 5 scale). It still may turn away from Long Island and New England, but trend in the recent model results are giving a greater chance that the center of Irene will pass through Long Island and eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.
While the forecast models curve the storm away from the US coastline after running over Cape Hatteras, some models tweak the path back to the left toward New Jersey and New York City.
The forecast arrival time for NY and New England is still mid-day on Sunday. The storm is likely to lose some strength over the cooler waters and being closer to the jet stream, but it could be a category 2 storm, which we haven’t seen here in many years, around the time of landfall in the northeast.
Stay in touch with your favorite weather provider (not me – I don’t do this for a living!) as the storm continues its approach.
I’ve included a frame from the today’s mid-afternoon model run for the Global model, which has some success with this kind of situation. Remember that at least one model has a forecast track further west and one misses New England and hits Canada.
From NCEP model forecast site, in case you want to see the full set of forecast maps.