Coastal residents from Surf City, N.C., to the Virginia border should be ready for hurricane conditions within 48 hours, forecasters said Thursday morning. Irene is still a Category 3 hurricane, but it has broadened.
A hurricane watch is in effect for a stretch of the North Carolina coast, and a tropical storm watch is on for most of South Carolina's coastline, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Thursday morning, as hurricane Irene continued to spiral up through the Bahamas.
The tropical-storm watch includes the coast from Edisto Beach, S.C., to Surf City, N.C. From Surf City north to the North Carolina-Virginia border, the coast is under a hurricane watch.
A tropical storm watch means that residents in the watch areas should expect tropical-storm conditions within 48 hours. A hurricane watch carries the same expectation for tropical-storm conditions, but adds the possibility of hurricane conditions appearing as well.
IN PICTURES: Hurricane Irene
As of 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Irene was pounding the central Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, giving Irene Category 3 status. The most powerful storms are rated as Category 5.
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