Forecast: Irene could bring a foot of rain to L.I.; hit hard Saturday night

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTOS | The Corwin family wasn't taking any chances with this old tree near the Main Road on their Aquebogue property. The pared down the tree Thursday to prevent it from falling and hurting someone, or knocking out power.

The latest forecast calls for Hurricane Irene to bring winds of about 80 mph and dump six to 12 inches of rain in the region, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a flood warning.

Where the hurricane will make landfall is still uncertain, but the current track has it hitting somewhere near New York City or western Long Island,Brian Ciemnecki, a Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, said Friday morning.

Tropical storm-force winds are expected to start hitting Long Island late Saturday, with hurricane conditions persisting from Sunday morning into early Sunday evening, officials said.

The storm is expected to keep traveling north through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. The storm would weaken as it travels over land.

As of Thursday morning, Irene was 375 southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C. It is expected make landfall there Saturday.

A storm serge and erosion is expected, but “it’s still too early to determined the exact heights of combined storm surge and tide waters for specific locations,” read the National Weather Service’s flood warning. “Much depends on the precise size, intensity and track of the system as it approaches the coast.”

It reads that based on the forecast, there is a potential for “several feet of surge, particularly in western Long Island Sound, New York Harbor and the back shore bays of Long Island and New York City. These tidal conditions would be exacerbated by battering surf and winds as…Irene moves closer.”

Mr. Ciemnecki said there is still a chance the hurricane, now expected to be a category I when it hits Long Island, could be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reaches us.

The Jamesport Fire Department-sponsored “Sound to Bay” 10K has not been cancelled, organizers said. A new date will be determined later.

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