Today, Irene is a Category 2 storm moving through the northern coast of Haiti. By this weekend, it could be a Category 4 that's ravaging the east coast from South Carolina to New York City. Gulp.
Irene has already left a million people without power in Puerto Rico, and it's expected to make a run at the Carolinas by Saturday morning, sweeping up through the Mid-Atlantic before petering out just past New York City on Sunday night. It's impossible to say exactly where and when a hurricane will go, of course, but the Cone of Uncertainty (which is actually, kind-of-wonderfully what it's really called!) projects major landfalls ahead.
The most recent comparable is Hurricane Floyd, which came inland over Cape Fear, North Carolina, in 1999 and went on to cause an estimated $US4.5 billion in damage and 57 deaths. As you can see below, its path looks remarkably similar to the one Irene is charted for.
But most of all, my goodness, would you just look at that thing, swirling and churning its way towards our shores? Nature, we get it. You're terrifying. Now if we give you our lunch money, will you leave us alone? [NOAA, Miami Herald]