On Saturday, when the NHC issued its first advisory on what was then Tropical Storm Irene, the Turks and Caicos Islands were not within the National Hurricane Center track forecast. Five days later, the island chain was squarely in the most dangerous section of a major hurricane.
National Hurricane Center forecasters are emphasizing the error and uncertainty in their discussion today. Currently, the NHC is uncertain whether Irene will affect the most populous area of the United States once it starts its trek northward, turned by steering currents over the United States and the Atlantic Ocean basin. The current track has landfall on the far outer edge of the Outer Banks and then a second landfall in Montauk, New York, the most eastern point of Long Island, before moving through coastal Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, coastal New Hampshire and then Maine. The track has been nudged farther east but hurricane forecasters aren’t confident in that forecast.
This storm is gaining strength over the warm waters of the Bahamas and the East Coast of the United States will have to continue to monitor Irene.
Dawn Brown, FOX 8 New Orleans