The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center expects Irene to target the Southeast coast as a strengthening hurricane after emerging from the Bahamas on Thursday.
The coastal communities at risk to serve as Irene's landfall point later this week lie from Miami, Fla., to Morehead City, N.C.
"A look at [latest computer model] track forecasts suggest a higher chance of Irene tracking along or just off the coast of eastern Florida and making landfall along the Carolina coast," stated AccuWeather.com Hurricane and Tropical Weather Expert Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
Such a scenario would give Irene time to strengthen into a major hurricane and become an even greater danger to lives and property at landfall.
However, since the hurricane is so far off shore, the Director of Communications for South Carolina Department of Transportation Pete Poore says it is "way too early to think about yet."
Grand Strand Area
North Myrtle Beach and northward: Use SC 9 to proceed to I-95 and beyond.
-10th Avenue North and northward to Briarcliff Acres use SC 22 (Conway Bypass) to US 501. Motorists using SC 31 (Carolina Bays Parkway) or the Grissom Parkway will be directed north to SC 22.
-South of 10th Avenue North southward to the Myrtle Beach Airport use US 501 toward Marion and beyond.
-Myrtle Beach Airport southward through Surfside Beach use SC 544 to US 501.
Under certain conditions, US 501 will be converted to four lanes westbound from SC 22 to US 576. Instructions will be given to motorists through signs and highway advisory radio.
Garden City Beach south to Winyah Bay, Georgetown: Take US 17 south through Georgetown, then take US 521 to SC 261 to US 378 to Columbia.
Under certain conditions, an alternate route from Georgetown will be Black River Road to US 701 to SC 51 to SC 41 to US 378 at Kingsburg.
Edisto Island, Adams Run: Evacuees will take SC 174 to US 17.They will then take US 17 south to SC 64. This will take them to Walterboro, and then to Aiken and I-20.
Yonges Island, Meggett, Hollywood, Ravenel: Use SC 165 to US 17, then US 17 south to SC 64.
Johns Island, Kiawah Island and Seabrook: Evacuees will use SC 700 to Road S-20 (Bohicket Road) to US 17. Evacuees will take US 17 south to SC 64 where they will go to Walterboro, then to Aiken and I-20.
James Island and Folly Beach: Use SC 171 to US 17. Evacuees should then travel south on US 17 to I-526 to the reversed lanes of I-26.
City of Charleston:
The west side of the city (West Ashley) will use SC 61 to US 78, US 321, SC 389 to I-20. Downtown will use normal lanes of I-26.
North Charleston: Evacuees will take US 52 (Rivers Avenue) to US 78 to US 178 to Orangeburg then to I-20 or continue on US 52 to US 176 or continue north on US 52. The right lane of US 52 at Goose Creek will continue on to Moncks Corner. In Moncks Corner, it will be directed onto SC 6, where SC 6 will take evacuees toward Columbia. The left lane of US 52 at Goose Creek will go onto US 176 to Columbia. Evacuees using SC 642 will travel west toward Summerville and take road S-22 (Old Orangeburg Road) to US 78 west.
Hilton Head Island:
Hilton Head Island and Beaufort Areas: Hilton Head Island evacuees will use both the William Hilton Parkway (US 278 Business) and the Cross Island Parkway toll facility (US 278). As these two roads merge, a third lane will be formed by reversing flow on the inside eastbound lane of US 278. This lane will carry the traffic from the toll facility.
Lane assignments will be as follows:
1. The right lane in US 278 westbound will exit at SC 170, proceed to SC 462, then be directed to I-95 northbound at I-95 exit 28.
2. The left lane on US 278 westbound will be directed to I-95 northbound at
I-95 exit 8.
3. The reversed lane on US 278 westbound will continue on US 278 to
Hampton and eventually to North Augusta. Should a third lane not be necessary, then both lanes on US 278 will be routed to I-95 with the right lane to I-95 north, and the left lane continuing on US 278.
Two Lane Evacuation: Evacuees will use the two present northbound lanes on US 21 to US 17. Upon reaching US 17, the right lane will be directed to US 17 north to SC 303 to Walterboro. The left lane will be directed to US 17 South, then to US 17 Alt/US 21 to Yemassee and then ultimately to North Augusta.
Three/Four Lane Evacuation: Under certain conditions, a third northbound lane will be formed by reversing flow on the inside southbound lane of US 21 at SC 280. This lane will carry traffic from SC 280. This reversed lane will be directed to US 17 southbound and eventually I-95 northbound at Exit 33 (Point South). The remaining two lanes will be used as described above for the two lane evacuation. Should all four lanes be used for evacuation, lane assignments will follow the three lane plan with both reversed lanes merging into one lane on US 21 prior to going southbound on US 17.
It might feel more like late October rather than late May in the Northeast early Saturday morning as temperatures dip well below normal.
More clouds and cooler weather can be expected across the Bay Area through the holiday weekend and into the new week.
Another round of heavy rain and thunderstorms will move into the Plains over Memorial Day weekend, bringing the threat of flooding.
Cloudy skies and cooler weather will linger across the Los Angeles area through the holiday weekend and early in the new week.
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and summer warmth will dominate the Northeast next week, but that does not mean an end to shots of cooler air.
Showers and thunderstorms threaten to interfere with Memorial Day festivities across roughly two-thirds of the United States.
Washington, DC (1925)
Over $150,000 damage in Monroe and Pike counties from a thunderstorm downburst (originally thought to be tornadoes).
More rain in an already wet month. Monthly totals topped 11 inches at New York City, 9 inches at Bridgeport, CT and 8 inches at Baltimore (all three records for May).