As the city prepares for its arrival early tomorrow morning, Hurricane Irene has come ashore just east of Cape Lookout in North Carolina. Overnight, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, with wind speeds up to 90 MPH; however, the National Weather Service says Irene is expected to remain near the threshold of category 1 and category 2 strength hurricane by the time it reaches the city.
The storm has brought howling winds and sheets of rains to North Carolina, as well as scattered power outages—as of 8:30 a.m. ET, about 200,000 in North Carolina have lost power, according to Progress Energy. It has sustaining winds of 85 MPH, and is moving north-northeast at a pace of 14 MPH. “Some weakening is expected after Irene reaches the coast of North Carolina, but Irene is forecast to remain a hurricane as it moves near or over the mid-Atlantic states and New England,” according to the hurricane center’s update.