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Hurricane Irene carries threat of inland floods, not just coastal surge (VIDEO)

Hurricane Irene continued on a path early Friday to lash much of the East Coast – and not just coastal areas. Inland areas of the mid-Atlantic and New England are at risk of flash floods.

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A slightly weaker hurricane Irene moved north toward North Carolina Friday morning as hurricane warnings and watches were posted along the coast from the North Carolina-South Carolina border to the mouth of the Merrimack River north of Boston.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, Irene's hurricane-force winds now extend some 90 miles from its center, with tropical-storm winds extending 290 miles.

The storm's track has changed little in the past 24 hours. At 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, forecasters said they expected Irene's eye to make its initial landfall Saturday as the storm strikes the Cape Hatteras region. Then it moves back over open water, hugging the coast. The eye is expected to make landfall and cross central Long Island in New York on Sunday, then move up through central New England.

Hurricane warnings were posted from the Little River Inlet, N.C., to Sandy Hook, N.J. The National Hurricane Center in Miami issues the warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected to arrive to make preparations dangerous.

Forecasters also have posted a tropical-storm warning along a stretch of coastline from just north of South Carolina's Edisto Beach to Little River Inlet.

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